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!
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