The Practice of Growth and Discovery in Yoga
by Melinda McAuliff, March 2011
Amanda came to yoga more than ten years ago when she found herself in one of those places where not a lot of positive things were happening and she wanted to set a new direction for herself. Since then, she says she is always growing and discovering new things both as a student and as a yoga teacher.
Describing herself as an outgoing person, Amanda says, “Yoga made me ‘be quiet’, do something different, look inside. I couldn't have imagined how emotional it would be - it was just me - and my breath - and my mat.”
“One of the things I love about this practice is I am never bored because I am always learning something about myself. There is something about yoga that is indescribable, that always brings us back. Once you do it you feel why you want to come back time and time again.”
Even though her favorite color is purple, Amanda is very attached to her orange mat. “After 12 years of use it has seen me through everything - deaths, marriage, my engagement. I know it needs to be retired soon but it’s become my adult blanky - it will be so hard to let go.”
“The funny thing is, it’s just a cheap TJMaxx mat,” she laughs.
Having studied with Barone Baptiste and Seane Corne, Amanda started teaching about 3 years ago, when Tru Yoga opened in the city’s Southwedge. Reflecting on her training she says, “As I’ve grown in my teaching I’ve learned that you always become your own style. As you learn, your own flare comes through. That’s what makes each teacher so special and unique.”
Describing her teaching style, she says, “it’s like an adventure - it’s always different and yet somehow feels comforting and consistent like being with an old friend.” She enjoys watching her students grow as they acclimate to the practice and to themselves.
The thing that surprised her the most about teaching yoga was “how invested and connected I would become to students and yet I only see these little snippets of their lives. I couldn't of expected how profound I would feel as a teacher.”
In her own practice Amanda says she is “terrified” of handstands. “Students see you as a teacher and sometimes think you must know so much more - I just like them to realize I am not perfect at all. Poses like handstand scare me, but I like to go there because it makes me uncomfortable. The more you can open up to the things you are afraid of you realize the fear is about something else. That is where we find growth.”
On the other end of the spectrum, her favorite pose is Balancing Half Moon. She calls it a great “show-off pose.” “You are sunshine showing your heart off. You can be happy and open in that moment.”
Amanda loves music, in her classes she plays everything from Dave Matthews, Sarah Mclaclan, Tori Amos, Jack Johnson and Micheal Franti to Neil Young, the Doors, Coldplay, Dido and Adele. “Music helps to set the tone, it helps students to get lost in the flow, to let the music mix with the breath and let them ring out what you don't need so they can soak up all that you do.”
Sharing how fortunate she feels to be a part of Tru, she says, “There are so many reasons people seek out a studio. Tru has a special place in my life because I was there at the start. I remember when it was just me, the owner and my husband showing up for a class. Today, it’s amazing to see 20 people lined up in the room - to see Tru doing well is such a heartfelt experience. Regardless of where you practice I’d encourage people to check it out.”
With the winter slowly drawing to a close, Amanda is looking forward to her garden coming back, running, doing yoga outside and going on long walks. But, she hasn’t let the long winter get her down. “If I can get outside every day, no matter what, it re-energizes my mood. I try to find an oasis moment in each day - whether it be stopping for coffee or talking to my mom - things that make each day special in it’s own way.”
In addition to teaching at Tru Yoga, Amanda has her Master’s in mental health counseling, is a personal trainer and spin instructor. Visit www.truyogarochester.com to find out when you can take a class with Amanda or any of the Tru Yoga teachers.