one of the awesome things we have at the free people is yoga! if you don’t do yoga…i highly recommend you try. it’s an amazing workout, and you feel incredible afterwards – body and mind. paige chapman, our in house yoga instructor, shared her experiences with me, including an amazing retreat in mozambique, africa. read on to learn more about paige and the style of yoga she teaches. she also teaches at yoga child on 9th & south in philly.
when did you start doing yoga?
“i started doing yoga in college when i was about 19. i was in the dance company at school and thought it would be a good way to compliment my dance training as well as keep me in shape during the summer.”
why did you decide to be a yoga instructor?
“i fell in love with yoga immediately. since i started, it has brought me so much joy, peace, and an overall feeling of well being. after graduating college, i moved to NY where there was a very well respected teacher training that i could do on the weekends while working full time. it took me eight grueling months – eight intensive three day weekends a month with yoga classes and assignments in between. i joke that i never was more stressed out than during my yoga training, but it was by far one of the best decisions that i ever made. i didn’t actually start teaching full time until i moved back to philadelphia about three years ago.”
your classes are a blend of hatha and vinyasa…can you explain what that means?
“hatha is probably the most recognized style of yoga in america and is what was typically practiced as yoga started becoming popular here in the 60s. i like to think of it as a very classic form of yoga before we got into all kinds of crazy styles, the use of heat, etc. although still challenging, it’s not overwhelming to beginning students and i like the fact that its slower pace allows for concentrating on form and body alignment – rather than just rushing through the poses which can often lead to injuries. vinyasa is more of a flow style, linking the asanas (poses) together with breath and quicker transitions. It gets the heart rate up and therefore brings more of a workout factor to the mat. i like teaching a combination of both so that you feel like you really got the body moving, but there is still the quality of being mindful about your practice. when all is said and done, yoga was created to ready the mind for meditation. i want my students to feel as rejuvenated, relaxed, and as peaceful as possible when they walk out of class.”
i read that you recently taught a retreat in mozambique, africa…what was that like?
“the retreat in mozambique was absolutely incredible. a friend of mine whom i got certified to teach with in new york, married a south african, and set up a yoga studio in johannesburg (http://www.yogawarrior.co.za/). she invited me to teach the retreat with her at a magnificent eco resort on a completely undeveloped coastline in mozambique (http://www.pontamamoli.com/index.html). you sleep in wooden bungalows with monkeys jumping on your roof, swim with wild dolphins in the ocean, go whale watching, horse back ride, watch elephants in the distant reserve, and eat local organic food. the combination of the natural serenity of that location along with teaching yoga was quite an extraordinary experience.”
what is your favorite place you’ve travelled to as a yoga instructor?
“africa was hands down the most fantastic and exotic place that I’ve traveled as a yoga teacher. it’s going to be hard to top, but i’m going to try!”
what inspires you on a daily basis?
“that’s such a good question for us all to answer. i would say being in nature (even if you’re in the city – it could be watching the leaves change), kindness from friends and better yet – strangers, and doing what i love to do.”
why do you think more people should incorporate yoga into their exercise routine?
“bottom line, it just makes you feel so good! our daily routines can be intensely stressful and sometimes we don’t even know how much tension we walk around with. over time, it takes a toll. whether you’re a beginner student that’s really tight and stiff or an advanced student that can do all kinds of fancy poses, yoga brings the same benefits: it calms the mind, makes us conscious of our breath, eases tension, brings awareness to the way we hold the body when we’re out in the world, and perhaps allows us to become more mindful – opening our hearts to what’s happening in our lives just a little bit more.”
thank you, paige! i don’t know about you all, but i want to go on the africa retreat…it sounds unreal…