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: Vicky Foster

If you have been keeping up with our Bristol Yoga Teacher Feature Blogs, you may be in the early stages of understanding how important our community is to us.

When trying to move into peace through the path of mindful living, without others who understand, encourage, and inspire you, the path becomes arduous and your practice can begin to wither in the shadow of loneliness. However, with a strong sense of community as your foundation, the path towards peace becomes possible. Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates this idea in his book You Are Here saying:

 “When we practice with a community, a sangha, we should take advantage of the group energy. Everybody is breathing mindfully, everybody is walking mindfully. We can see the sangha as a boat. We have bricks of suffering in us, and without a boat we are in danger of sinking in the river of suffering . . . if you have a boat, you can transport tons of pebbles and stones. The same is true for your pain and suffering. If you know how to use the boat made of the energy generated by the Sangha, you will not be drowned in your suffering. Because you put your trust in the Sangha, you can have confidence . . . ‘I am surrounded by the Sangha. The Sangha is generating the energies of compassion and mindfulness. I have confidence in that.’”

In essence, the sangha becomes the soil, and each member the seeds growing toward the light of peace. At Bristol Yoga, our commitment is to create a strong sense of community in which our members can feel safe to place their faith. One instructor in particular has been hugely committed to developing our community from day one. Every event, every gathering, this big-hearted, compassionate individual is always willing to participate, even when it is outside of her comfort zone, like when we all went camping in the monsoon of 2015 in Floyd, Virginia!
This individual is the beautiful and sassy Vicky Foster.

Here are a few questions we asked Vicky to help you get a better sense of why she is so AWESOME!

  1. What brought you to yoga?

“My chiropractor recommended that I find a yoga class to help with my back/neck/shoulder issues. A serious spinal injury when I was a small child followed by years of playing a multitude of sports led to increasing chronic pain as an adult. I wish I would have started yoga much earlier in my life. After two to three yoga classes a week for four months...no more constant pain.”

2. How long have you been practicing now?

“I have been practicing yoga for 5 1/2 years and teaching for almost 4 years.”

3. If you could define your style, what would it be?

“My yoga style is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Sometimes I focus on breath in the asana (pose) and sometimes I focus on changing the body alignment to feel subtle differences in the asana. I consistently practice a flow style with smooth transitions whether I am teaching a beginner slow flow or more advanced power flow. I encourage modifications and props to help YOUR body find its place in the asana.”

4.  Do you have a favorite posture/asana?

“My favorite pose is actually a transition between two poses. Down dog split to lunge. I love down dog split and lunge so when you transition the two it is absolute heaven all the way through the hips. When I first started doing yoga I had a really hard time doing this transition so I really appreciate the agility involved.”


5. What are you doing when you are not teaching?

“When I am not teaching (I teach A LOT), I am reading and watching videos to further my knowledge of yoga and anatomy. Also, reading in general...I LOVE to read. I spend lots of time with my son. Mostly playing ball or playing board games because that's what he likes to do the most. I spend the occasional afternoon with my daughter who is grown and starting her own family. In December those afternoons will include a grandson! I also have my own business doing upholstery repair on vehicles and boats. That leaves a little time left for my husband and friends.”

6. What is your favorite book?!

“My favorite book...WOW! I have always been such an avid reader so it is really hard to narrow it down to one favorite of all the books I've read in the past 42 years. The most recent favorite (within the past two years) would have to be The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. It's the first of a trilogy and the best of the three.”

7. What are three likes and three dislikes you have in general?

“I like laughter (don't take yoga so seriously), fun (enjoy the asana, the music, the movement) and smiling (if you can't smile in the pose, you're doing it wrong), I dislike not being in control (still working on this...baby steps), scary movies and spiders.”


8. What is the most important lesson you have thus far
learned from your yoga?

“The most important thing that I've learned from my yoga experience is 'I CAN'. So many poses can seem unattainable and intimidating. Seeing growth, progress and finally achievement in these poses really boosts your confidence. This carries over from the yoga studio into your daily life.”


9. What do you love about Bristol Yoga?

“What I love about Bristol Yoga is the sense of community that we have. The instructors here are all amazing women who support and encourage each other. That love we have for each other and what we do extends out to all of our yogis that come here to practice with us. There is no "us and them" when it comes to the instructors and students...we are all one community practicing and growing together.”

10. And finally, what is a favorite quote you would like to share with everyone?!

“Favorite quote??? More like words of wisdom to live by.
Before you speak THINK
...is it True?
...is it Helpful?
...is it Inspiring?
...is it Necessary?
...is it Kind?”

Vicky’s love and loyalty to Bristol Yoga is what enriches the soil of our Sangha and feeds the seeds of each member. You can join this colorful lioness during her Yoga for Everybody class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:00 AM and her Warm Slow Flow and Yin class at 6:15 PM on Thursday evenings.

 

Bristol Yoga Teacher Feature brought to you by Marcy Hullander