5 questions.

i was just featured as quiet mind's featured teacher in their november newsletter and i wanted to share. thanks for asking me these questions rita, they really made me think.


featured teacher: gracy obuchowicz

when and how did you start teaching yoga?

i started teaching yoga a year ago when i completed the yogaworks training at quiet mind. before the training i had been practicing seriously for about 5 years and had reached the point in my practice where i was ready to expand to the next thing. there was this small voice inside of me that kept telling me that i needed to teach yoga but i had every excuse for why i wasn't ready yet. but the voice persisted and so i researched trainings and found out that yogaworks was coming to dc for an august intensive. i talked to chrissy carter, our teacher trainer, and she assured me that all of my doubts were normal and that all i needed to become a teacher was to have a strong desire, which i definitely did. i decided to listen to her and took the plunge and have been richly rewarded every since.

do you have any advice for your students on their yoga journey?

i advise them to really regard their practice as a journey. i can do so many things now that i couldn't do before and i know that i will keep evolving in my practice. before i became an instructor i used to push myself really hard thinking that i had to "win" at yoga. i realize now that there will always be things that i can't do and that can serve as the drive that keeps me going. for me, the most important aspect of yoga is taking time to listen to that voice inside of myself, really learning to recognize how my mind works and practicing compassion with myself and the world around me.

what is your teaching philosophy?

my teaching philosophy is that yoga should be challenging and fun at the same time. i love the yoga sutra where patanjali says that an asana should have both sthira (strength) and sukha (ease) and i am always encouraging my students to find a way to engage themselves and their bodies that also allows for strength and flow. i believe if we can master that on the mat that it becomes a lot easier to find that in our daily lives. i think everything about the way we live our lives shows up on the mats. if we take the time, yoga can help us to take a good honest look at ourselves and our habits and from there we can start to make some thoughtful changes. i hold the space for my students to do that work for themselves and try to make them laugh once in a while so they don't take it all too seriously.

how do you integrate your life with yoga and yoga with your life?

for me, yoga shows up everywhere. i do a lot of things--photography, massage, art, business, teaching--and yoga is the thread that ties it all together. yoga helps me to be present no matter what i am doing and how to trust in the process of things. i am currently working through "the artist way" (an amazing 12 week program that help connect you to your creative dreams) for the third time and this time really seeing it through a yogic filter. i agree with the author, julia cameron, when she talks about how through our habits and fears, we can really block ourselves off from an awesome creative flow that is our birthright as human beings. i am experimenting a lot with my current beliefs about money, time, business and seeing some awesome results. yoga helps me to see that i can make my life as beautiful and bright as i want it to be and it also helps me to be easy with myself when i have a down day and just need a long bath and some chocolate.

what is your funniest yoga teaching moment?
my first night teaching a class i was subbing for another teacher and the intern didn't show up. i had been hoping that only a few people would come but over 20 people came to the class that night. i didn't know how to use the computer system so couldn't sign anyone in. worse, i couldn't get the lights to turn on so we ended up doing an impromptu candlelight class. i was so nervous but tried not to let it show and just kept moving forward and tried to remember to breath. by the time i taught headstand i finally started to relax and enjoy myself. it actually turned out to be a really nice class and i figured after that i could handle just about anything when i was teaching.