Who is Katie Silcox and WHY do you want to know her?

We are fortunate enough at Bristol Yoga to host teachers from all over the country to teach specialty classes and workshops.

One teacher who will be joining us in the studio this May is a woman named Katie Silcox.

Katie is a tall, blonde woman built like an Amazon Goddess and glows like one too. She is fluent in the Tantra Yoga Tradition as well as the science of Ayurveda and is on a mission to make these ancient practices accessible to the modern man and woman. Her New York Time's Bestseller, Healthy, Happy, Sexy: Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women aims to do just that.

My first exposure to Katie came through her book Healthy, Happy, Sexy. At the time, we were hosting our Yogi Book Club through Bristol Yoga and we had selected her book as the feature for the month knowing she would later be visiting the studio. Initially, I was curious what kind of knowledge would be found in a book titled Healthy, Happy, Sexy, but just a few pages into the book, I remember thinking Katie had chosen the perfect title. Judging the book by it's cover, it was no more intimidating than a Cosmopolitan Magazine advertising "6 Ways to a Healthier YOU" or "10 Tips to Boost Your Bedroom Confidence". These tag lines obviously work for a reason (I mean, who wouldn't mind being healthier, happier, and sexier?) and with a title like this, Katie is appealing to women inside and outside of the yoga community. In the first few pages, with the wisdom of your great, great grandmother and the voice of your closest girlfriend you recognize and trust Katie as she begins to guide you through the necessity of a self-loving, self-care practice in order to find balance in life; something every modern individual needs, man or woman, yogi or non-yogi. Moving deeper into the book you find a wealth of knowledge and information about the complex, ancient self-loving traditions of Tantra and Ayurveda that dig deeper than Cosmopolitan's "Foods to Eat for a Flat Belly" (implying that there is something wrong with the belly you have now) and find instead guidance from Ayurvedic practices for "foods to eat that make your belly happy, and in turn your mind happy, because your belly is amazing and deserves your love just like the rest of you does."

During the time I was reading Healthy, Happy, Sexy I was living a particularly hectic life with a packed schedule that was pulling me in every direction but together. You've probably heard the saying "running around like a chicken with their head cut off." Well, that was me. This was right around the time I had developed a stress fracture in my wrist from overuse. My lack of self-care in my daily routine left me with no energy and a serious sweet craving to make up for the sweetness that was missing from my life. I finished Healthy, Happy, Sexy recognizing areas of my life in which I was self-medicating out of self-loathing and creating imbalance in my life with a new resolve to get grounded in a daily practice of self-loving. 

Katie later came to the studio for a three day weekend sharing more wisdom and knowledge from Tantra and Ayurveda for finding balance, even highlighting some of the notes from Healthy, Happy, Sexy. She is even funnier in person, living true to the humor and wit that shines in her book and her strong self-care practice speaks for itself through her presence. Each day of the weekend, Katie shared a different asana practice for balancing subtle energies of the mind-body and body-mind.

I remember the Friday evening class specifically. It was a class designed for bringing clarity, for cultivating stillness in the mind. The asana practice was all-levels, accessible by every practitioner. The breath work used in the practice was equal-ratio breathing, matching the length of your inhale to the length of your exhale. Closing the practice, the entire room was still. I remember feeling clear and grounded in a way that I had never really before. Leaving the studio, Katie requested that we observe silence to preserve the stillness and peace generated. Walking out to my car, I remember seeing and feeling the brightness of the moon like never before. My senses seemed to be incredibly sensitive, but I think it was more the stillness in my mind, the absence of the running dialogue going on in the background of my life, that was allowing me to indulge more in the natural world around me.

Katie's practices have since inspired in me the value of self-love, self-compassion and living a life in balance. When we take the time to take practice self-care and balance ourselves with the ebbs and flows of life, we are more available to experience the every day magic in our lives.

If you know you could use a little more balance in your life, Katie is going to be with us again the coming weekend May 6th - May 8th sharing more of her magic, wisdom and guidance.

 

Presented by Marcy Hullander

 

Feature Teacher: Heather Dotterweich

Fairly recently, I asked the question to one of my classes, "why do we come together to practice in the community?"

 

Many voices came forward, expressing reasons why they come to share in their practice; some of those reasons being to build connection, others being that they just wouldn't practice on their own. 

 

One individual shared "I learn better in the community."

 

This was a response I felt really captured the value of practicing in community. By practicing in a community, we become more than just our own experience. Within a community, lessons can be shared, explored, and even developed further so that new discoveries are made furthering the development of the community.

 

In order to see this kind of development within a community, however, the mindset of the forever-student must be present. We call it the "beginner's mind". The individual that, no matter how long they have been practicing, is able to maintain their "beginner's mind" and always come to their practice with intention to discover is the individual that will continue to stimulate and elevate the growth of the community. 

 

At Bristol Yoga, we are fortunate to share space with one particular individual who approaches more than just her yoga practice with the "beginner's mind", reminding us the value of approaching each day with the wonder of curiosity and intention to discover. 

 

This luminary individual is Heather Dotterweich!

 

1. When and how did you find yoga?

I first encountered a formal yoga asana class about 11years ago in the old Bristol Ballet studio, above the Blackbird Bakery. The teacher had spent 2 years in an ashram and was very fluent in her use of Sanskrit, but what felt more foreign were the positions, (basic asana) that my body was being asked to move into! However, an excellent teacher, and a growing awareness that I was connecting with something deep inside, kept me coming back to class.

 

2. Why did you choose to pursue teaching yoga?

Teaching comes fairly naturally to me, and I'd taught High School 'World Religion' in Scotland. However, I never set out to be a yoga teacher. It wasn't until year seven of practicing that the thought started to take root. So I spent the following year visiting lots of studios, doing various weekend courses, and talking to teachers to try and discern if this was right for me. Eventually, through a recommendation I found Lydie Ometto's Yoga Teacher Training school at Inner Sea Yoga in Johnson City. I graduated and began teaching 3 years ago, and that's when the learning really began, and still continues!

 

3. When and how did you come across mindfulness practices and what drew you to explore and teach mindfulness?

Several years ago I noticed more and more the numinous moments in life, where everything seemed to move beyond space, time, words and even thoughts, and I was left with a sense of just being. Often it would be times when I deliberately slowed everything down, and just paid attention: hanging laundry outside, watching a bird, a sunset, and the result was delicious! This experience is common to everyone, when we allow it! I then noticed that the term “Mindfulness”, (bringing awareness to the present moment) kept coming up, and realized that this is what I'd been accessing! I knew a little about meditation and assumed it was beyond me! Lydie talked about it's important connection to yoga, during my teacher training and we practiced a little. But it wasn't until I investigated further: seeing Mindfulness and meditation as a common thread running through the major religions, read some neuroscience research showing it's benefits, listened to several 'how to' courses, attended workshops and read some books, that I decided it couldn't be ignored! Most importantly, I tried it out, and I'm really pleased I did, now it's an integral part of my life and yoga teaching.

 

4. What have you learned from your mindfulness practices and your yoga?

I've learned that it does not make life's struggles disappear! But instead, makes life more doable!! I know my body better, my mind better, I have a deep compassion for myself, and all my foibles. There is a natural honoring that unfolds, and a sense of interconnection with all sentient beings! It's very liberating. It's been a paradigm shift!

 

5. What are you doing when you aren't teaching?

Cooking Indian food, reading Indian novels, watching British Murder Mysteries and documentaries. Reading about and doing yoga/meditation things. Hanging laundry outside, sitting under the cedar tree, dancing around in the house and singing, drinking coffee. Generally helping kids and husband around home, being very attentive to the cat! Going off on mini adventures.

 

6. What are 3 things you hope to learn or explore in the future?

I don't have any real clarity about the future. I do want to continue with my practice, which I hope will involve gaining more insight, but just really being open to the moment!

I'm presently enjoying teaching the students at Morrison School, and am excited to be sharing at Bristol Yoga again. I want to continue being a loving witness and support to my husband and children's unfolding life journeys, and to love and have curiosity about anyone and everyone everywhere!

 

We are so pleased too announce that Heather will be returning to share her practice with the Bristol Yoga Community starting in May on Tuesday Nights at 5:45 PM for Mindful Flow. If you need inspiration to connect with the present moment sooner than that, she will be sharing her Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop this Saturday, April the 16th at 2:00 PM!

 

 

Feature Teacher Presented by Marcy Hullander