Have you met Thea yet? Her Tuesday 6:15pm Yin & Flow class is one of our favorites, and her unique and tailored combination of juicy, deep stretches with and non-traditional flow to follow is the perfect way to end the day. Thea always has a big smile on her face, and keen eye for what your body is needing that you didn't even realize!
We'll let her tell you more...
Tell us the story of how you first came to or discovered the practice you teach. Where were you in life? What were the circumstances?
I came to yoga well over a decade ago because I became really ill. As with many creative types, I was working a toxic day job and pursuing my art in my off time. The position was working in a casino as third party player, basically I was paid to play games for a living. Which came with the added bonus of seeing people lose their money and spiral into the depths of addiction, as well as experiencing verbal threats from unhappy players. It got to the point I was frazzled and fried all the time, it was hard to get out of bed and I was living against my core values. I fried my adrenals and thyroid through the stress of it all, I am hyperactive by nature and found myself having a hard time just getting one task a day done. I was looking for something that would get me back to my body, back to my life, and back to center. That's when yoga became a big part of my life. Ironically, I started with the most gentle form of Yoga Bikram. Anyway, that heated sweatbox experience created interest in going deeper and eventually away from a hot room into more traditional movement, then into advanced body mechanics.
Why did you decide to teach? What's your favorite gift that you receive from teaching?
It's a classic heroes journey if we are talking about Yoga, it started with a phone call asking me when I would begin teaching classes. I had a few trainings under my belt, and I was not yet teaching yoga classes. I would incorporate movement into my guided imagery, hypnotherapy sessions and art workshops. I just wasn't emotionally prepared to teach yoga yet. I've taught many things from English to filmmaking to art workshops. I had my own small studio at the time in Atwater Village, the person who called me had heard from one of my teachers I had trained with that I was certified. So when they asked me when classes would start, I answered Tuesday. That was somewhere around 6000 hours of teaching back. My favorite gift is watching transformation, when the light comes on when the epiphany is had. That's the gift I appreciate the most when the student finds their way.
What "titles" do you assign yourself now? As many as you like!
I am a Yoga instructor, hypnotherapist, Core Strength Vinyasa master teacher trainer, Yoga Nidra trainer, artist and fallible human seeking the "Why's" of the universe.
What is your current favorite daily personal practice, whether it's something you teach or not?
My favorite daily practice right now is to do something creative 45-minutes a day. It may manifest as making an art film, photography, water color, or acrylics. Since, I went full-time into my practice 4-years ago sometimes the artist gets a little neglected. Connecting to source or the muse is part of my practice.
What do you most want people to experience in your class?
Freedom, enlightenment and a touch of humor! My focus is on advanced body mechanics and functional anatomy whether I am teaching yin or a flow based practice. When people learn to move with their structural alignment versus the idealized shape (which may not be possible), it opens up new doors and opportunities for them.
What is one current mantra or intention you are working with?
To play big and be seen. I tend to like to wrap my self up in the illusion of invisibility and play small but as a yoga instructor, teacher trainer, and hypnotherapist being seen and sharing are key to offering my gifts. It's a continual work in progress.
What does "Rebel" mean to you?
I think being a Rebel means having the balls or ovaries to ask why and not just accept things as face value. At least that's my experience. I am the black sheep of my family and have been excommunicated from the faith I grew up in because I didn't like the answer to their "why". In the words of Katherine Hepburn "If you obey all the rules, you miss the fun."