This month we spoke with the esteemed Leslie Donahue. One of our veteran instructors on staff, Leslie has been teaching yoga since 1998! She has been instrumental in growing our early morning classes and drawing in a variety of students. Her class is a beautiful complement to a weekly fitness routine or on its own as a way to become more flexible. Leslie radiates warmth and is a joy to see first thing in the morning! Leslie teaches at The Yoga Centre on Wednesdays at 6am. This class is an All Levels class. Beginners are welcome!
TYC: How would you describe your teaching style?
LD: I have studied Iyengar and Anusara styles of yoga, both of which have strong alignment foundations and heavy use of props. My Anusara experience brings in a heart-centered approach. What that looks like for students is that I tend to teach gentle classes with lots of alignment instructions.
TYC: How were you first introduced to yoga?
LD: My mother took yoga when I was a teen, so I was aware of it early on. I took it up for myself after my first child was born.
TYC: How special, to have been exposed to yoga so early on. When did you decide to become a teacher and why?
LD: I was originally given the opportunity to take a teacher training through my meditation group. I taught on a volunteer basis for that group for a year or two before I started teaching professionally.
TYC: What are the top three things you’d like your students to learn from your classes?
LD: 1. Honor your own unique practice, what’s right for your body on each day. 2. How to practice safely. 3. To experience the deeper (non-physical) aspects of yoga.
TYC: Some of our readers might not know what you mean by that. What are some of the deeper (non-physical) aspects of yoga that you have found to be beneficial?
LD: I get a lot of peace and stress relief, even bliss, from the broader forms of yoga. I have been
involved in a meditation and chanting group for about 29 years. While this group recognized the physical postures, they
often focus on them as a way to keep the body supple and comfortable enough to sit for meditation and the more
inwardly focused practice of yoga. The study and practice of the chanting, meditation, selfless service, contemplation and study lend my life so much more patience, ease, and “go-with-the-flow”-ability. I’m much calmer and more even emotionally. I’m MUCH happier and while I can still be volatile emotionally, the ups and downs are less extreme, and episodes of temper or anxiety are recognized and controlled much sooner. It gives me an anchor of belief and an arsenal of tools to manage the ups and downs of life.
TYC: What do you love about the community of students at The Yoga Centre?
LD: It is a community of beautiful souls with a commitment to their health and well-being.