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

Feature Teacher: Ashley Boyer

Many people desire to begin a yoga practice, but hesitate because of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and/or anxiety. Stepping onto the mat for the first time can be an intimidating experience because of the expectations one builds in one’s mind, specifically about the asana (physical) practice. It isn’t until later in the journey that one realizes this is where the practice begins. As one continues to step onto the yoga mat, becoming more familiar with the physical practice, one begins to understand that yoga is less about the shapes the body makes and more about the connection one builds with oneself. As one’s practice continues to evolve, one realizes that the practice is not confined solely to the yoga mat, that it continues off of the mat, that the practice and the posture never ends.

This is much the case for one member of the Bristol Yoga Teacher Community. This individual serves as an example to all practitioners about the true nature of a yoga practice, that it is more than touching your toes. First coming to the Bristol Yoga Community as a student, this individual, as a glowing momma finely-tuned to her internal compass, chose to follow her instincts and enrolled in the Bristol Yoga Teacher Training Program originally with no intention of teaching. Being a full-time lawyer, mother, and wife as well as a representative for the growing Rodan and Fields community, who could blame her? Fortunately for us at Bristol Yoga, this radiant being chose to take her balancing act off of the mat joining the teaching community.

This joyfully infectious individual is… Ashley Boyer!

Here are a few questions we asked Ashley to help you get to know a little more about why we love her.

1. How did you find yoga and what inspired you to pursue teaching?

  • I did yoga sporadically, as in once a year may be, until Spring of 2013 when a family friend told me about a lady named Victoria Hanson teaching yoga out of her living room once a week.  It was near my house so I contacted her, showed up, and I was hooked. It was totally random, but I trusted it, followed through, and showed up to this stranger's home for yoga.   I followed Victoria to Bristol yoga once a got the nerve to finally go :)  It was August of 2013, and I was pregnant with my second child.  Again, I fell in love, not just with yoga, but with Bristol Yoga Center.  I am twelve hours from my home base, and since moving here, I never really found my niche, my people. From August to December 2013, I came to yoga anytime I had the chance.  I felt a change in perspective in me, a shift, a space that I had never discovered or that I had lost years ago.  At 9 months pregnant and about to pop, I pulled the trigger and signed up for teacher training.  I had no plans to teach; all I knew deep down in my gut was that I needed to know more about this thing and these people that were changing my life.  My husband is the hero in this story as to pursue this crazy gut feeling, he had an infant and 2-year old to handle. Me doing yoga or finding yoga would not have happened without his unwavering support.  I will stop there as the tears starting to form is preventing me from answering these questions. :)
    I pursued teaching after the teacher training because that training gives you a gift.  To keep that gift alive, I have to share it.

2. As a mother, a lawyer, an R&F rep, AND part time yoga teacher, how does your yoga practice manifest in your daily life? What becomes your daily practice?

  • Yoga in my daily life shows up more in the mundane, the day-to-day living.  My home practice is meditation on my mat or in the bathroom when I have a few minutes between life happening around me.  YOGA IS LIFE. LIFE IS YOGA.  It is so much more than asanas; it has changed my life and is my life perspective in everything from changing a diaper, talking to a client about her case and options, leading my RF team, being a wife, a friend, a human, a soul in this world.  I honestly don't see how I made it this far in life without it. 

3. When you're not lawyer-ing, repping for Rodan and Fields or teaching, what are you doing?

  • When I am not lawyering, marketing for R&F, or teaching, I am with my husband and two boys.  They are my world.  Legos, diapers, tents, skinned knees, messy, crazy little boys.  I also love to read and with the pace in my world, I am in love with audible and library books on cd :)

4. What is a book/quote that has found its way to you that continues to hold true in your life?

  • I have too many books and quotes to list.  Right now, I am all over some Brene Brown and Marianne Williamson.  My go-to daily read is the Bhagavad Gita.   One of my favorite quotes that inspires me is,   “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

5. What do you hope to teach others through yoga?

  • I never thought I would teach, but teacher training rocked my world and woke me up.  I hope to teach others that the light is within them; it is not found anywhere but here in you.  For years or may be all my life, I held the subconscious or not so subconscious belief that I will be happy when ....(I graduate college, I live here, I don't live there, I finish law school, I get married, I have X number of bedrooms, I move home to Louisiana, I leave here, I get this job..etc.) Yoga, or me finding yoga and allowing it to change my life, changed my life.  I want to show people that if I can find it or strive to live yoga, they too can find that undisturbed peace within themselves.  Come as you are where you are.

If you need help bringing balance into your life or are new to the practice and are just becoming acquainted with your mat, join Ashley on a Saturday morning at 10:00 AM for Yoga for Everybody. This loving momma has a smile that can put any anxieties at ease.

 

Feature Teacher Presented by Marcy Hullander