This month’s featured student in our new column, Profiles of a Yogi, is Tehra Hiolski. Tehra is one of the most open and welcoming people we know. She teaches music for Disctrict97 and stays active through regular biking, swimming and yoga. She’s been to the studio 137 times this year so far! That’s approximately one class every other day. What an inspiration. Here is an excerpt of our conversation.
TYC: How you were first introduced to yoga?
TH: A friend in college was practicing and I got curious. I “taught” myself from a book at first! That was 40 years ago.
TYC: What made you curious enough about yoga to try it out? What was your motivation to practice yoga?
TH: I have practiced on and off for 30 years. I always thought it would be good for me and would complement my cardio workouts.
TYC: What type of class have you been taking? What do you like about it?
TH: I take as many classes as I can fit into my schedule. I like going to a variety of teachers as each one offers me something unique. As I’ve been practicing regularly, I especially like the level 2 classes. But the gentle and restorative classes feed my body and soul as well.
TYC: What benefits have you noticed from your yoga practice?
TH: For me, yoga has transformed my daily life. Four years ago I couldn’t get up and down from the floor. Everything ached. I feel like a new person now. I can move, do poses I never dreamed would be within my reach and my daily life is much improved.
As for the emotional, spiritual side, I consider myself a work in progress. Focusing on the breath, learning to be aware of my thoughts and hopefully be less reactive is a journey. The practice on the mat definitely transfers to life off the mat.
TYC: What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about starting a yoga practice?
TH: Try it. Find a couple postures you like and are helpful. Find a teacher that you feel safe with. As we get older, this is especially important! My daily practice (this time!) began with a challenge from Donata, a former teacher. I committed to 40 days in a row beginning on January 1, 2014. I’ve never stopped. Even if it’s a couple restorative poses, I get to the mat each and every day. Listen to your body. Trust it and do what feels right for you.
TYC: Congratulations — that is awesome. Tell us more about yourself. How do you spend your time when you’re not at the yoga studio?
TH: I am a music teacher in District 97 and a freelance musician. I swim in the summer and bike whenever the roads are dry. Staying active makes me happy.
TYC: Is there anything else you’d like for the community to know?
TH: I am incredibly grateful to The Yoga Centre. I love the classes, teachers, and the space and props. I’ve made so many friends and continue to learn and grow. I wish the same for you!