“When I started, yoga was sort of like taking basket-weaving or something. You signed up for a course and you went to a community center or a church and you spread out a little rug and you practiced in a ballet leotard,” Tina recalls. She started practicing yoga in the mid-1980s, decades before YouTube, Instagram, or the popularity and recognition that yoga now enjoys. That was thirty years ago, and she hasn’t stopped since.Tina is a yoga teacher from San Francisco, teaching several forms of yoga and meditation to both small classes and large corporate groups. She got into yoga because she needed to calm down. She was going through a hard time in her life, and noticed that she wasn’t breathing properly. She took a few classes to calm herself down, and the practice and results stuck with her.
Tina found Yoga Studio in a pretty straightforward way: looking for apps. She wanted a tool that would help her mix some variety into her personal routines, offering inspiration when she didn’t have the motivation to make up her own sequences, and that would help her teach her classes as well. She compared the process to cooking. “Sometimes, I won’t feel so creative, so I’ll open a recipe book and find something I want to make, but then I won’t follow the recipe exactly. I’ll end up doing my own thing with it. Your app helps me to get inspired, kind of get my wheels turning.”Teaching, for Tina, came about almost by accident. Her first yoga teacher told her that she should teach, but she was young and didn’t think she was qualified. Then she went to the Czech Republic on a Soros Foundation Fellowship. She practiced yoga in the dorm rooms of youth hostels until eventually her peers joined in. Soon they were regularly taking her lead on poses and transitions, then bringing their friends, and finally wanted to pay her for teaching them. “Yoga teaching kind of chose me,” she recalls. “I never had to make a decision.”
In her teaching, Tina sticks to the principles that attracted her to the practice in the first place. “I tend to lean toward yin, restorative, meditation, and even when I teach a Vinyasa class it tends to be a slower flow with more alignment and mindfulness kind of worked into the movement.”Her favorite feature of the app is the transition feature, where any poses selected by the user are linked together naturally. “Transitions are a place where a lot of injury can occur,” she says. “You’re quite vulnerable at that moment, and a lot of times people don’t really think of the transition as a part of the practice. They feel like they’re practicing when they’re in the static poses, but their flowing from one pose to another can be a little less mindful.”
Tina loves teaching. “It offers me a way to connect to myself, to connect to the student,” she says. “The beauty of yoga is that it’s so vast and customizable. There’s as many types of yoga as there are people in the world and so the benefits of yoga are unique to each individual. Whatever you need, yoga has a way to help you with that.”