How did you first get interested in yoga? I first became interested in yoga by taking classes at my local gym. I come from a fitness background, and like so many people today found yoga as a way to change up my routine. The mind-body connection was new to me, but it felt just right. Soon I noticed that the benefits went beyond the physical body, and I decided to follow the path of adopting a regular practice.
What change has yoga made in your life? Yoga has helped me in so many ways. I think I am still discovering the changes. Some of the philosophical teachings I heard ten years ago are finally making sense. I have found that my yoga practice sinks in over time. More than ever, I realize that everything we think and do is related to yoga. As an instructor, yoga has allowed me to be creative and to make a business out of doing something that I really love. I have learned so much from my students over the years and I am so fortunate to be able to experience teaching yoga almost every day.
What inspired you to begin teaching yoga to others? I actually was not on the path to teach yoga to others. It was not something that I was seeking out. My fitness director at the time asked me to take an intro to yoga teacher training so that I could sub classes if needed. When I started teaching others, I realized I was in the right place. I quickly sought out additional educational opportunities and took as many yoga classes as I could.
How would you describe your teaching style? My teaching style varies depending on the style and structure of the class. I teach very rigorous vinyasa classes to very slow restorative classes. I enjoy teaching a variety of yoga classes. Ultimately, my intention is to give the students what they need and to always pay attention to their safety and well-being.
You hold a Masters of Science in Exercise Science and Sport Psychology. How has your education benefited you as a yoga teacher? I find that with the large amount of yoga classes being offered, more people are trying yoga. This is great, however not everyone is ready for an advanced class right away. Yoga injuries are on the rise and with my education in exercise science I have found that I have the knowledge to help prevent injury and to work around the existing injuries that come up. Studying sport psychology has also been very helpful. When we understand why we stick with a yoga program or what makes us feel connected, we can help direct our students on the right path.
You are also quite a well-seasoned traveler. Can you make a short list of places that you think everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime? I would love to have a second home in Spain. Santorini, Greece is amazing. That place took my breath away. Bali is green and captivating. Africa is so different and makes one feel adventurous. Everyone must have the experience of India. I could go on, this is my short list!
What do you think is the one thing most people could do to improve their lives? Stop taking everything so seriously. Try to be the best person that you can possibly be. Do what you think is right. We are all just running around trying to do our best. Forgive, forget, and move on.
How important do you think it is to make choices to eat organic food and buy organic clothing and household goods when possible? I think that you are responsible for what you put into your body. Mindfulness is important. If you want to feel good, eat whole foods that make you feel alive and refreshed. We all make an impact no matter what. Just having a sense of awareness is really important and can make a difference.
What was the most memorable experience you’ve had as a yoga teacher? I have experienced so many amazing moments since I started teaching. Many stand out in my mind but there are a few that I know I will never forget. One example is when I first started teaching a vinyasa class and I had a regular student who was in a wheelchair. He could not move his arms or legs but he said that through my voice and the energy of all the students in the room he could feel himself flowing through the poses. To hear that was really powerful, especially for a newer instructor.
What advice would you give to someone who is totally new to yoga? Yoga is a journey. Find a teacher that you like. Take classes for your level. The beginning is really one of the best times. It is a time for self-discovery and we change so much in the beginning. We also keep changing as we go. Go at your own pace and soak it all in. Enjoy the ride and be yourself.
Jennifer Tipton holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Science and Sport Psychology. She is a YogaFit Master Trainer and currently writes for industry publications such as IDEA Fitness Journal and Spinning ® News. An ambitious traveler with insatiable curiosity, Jennifer has explored almost forty countries around the world. She speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese. With an emphasis in safety, she encourages each client to honor his or her own pace and comfort level.