Welcome to Talks with Teachers, a monthly column where we interview our staff and get to know what makes them tick. Today, we introduce to you Teresa Heit-Murray, who has been teaching yoga since 2010. As you’ll learn from this piece, Teresa is a lovely soul who enjoys connecting with her students and sharing in their experience of life and movement. Teresa teaches mixed level, Hatha Yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:15a. Beginners are welcome and encouraged to attend.
TYC: How would you describe your teaching style?
Teresa: I have a blended style. There is a mix of Hatha (alignment based), Eischen’s (energy based), and Viniyoga (movement based). All my teaching goes toward healing and awareness of our body in the moment. I speak from personal experience and always add an intention of yoga theory into the practice in an easy to understand way.
TYC: How were you first introduced to yoga?
Teresa: I first took my yoga class with the amazing Rosalia Holt, who taught the longest continually running yoga class in the Chicago area for 43 years. I was in my 20’s and she was in her 70’s. Rosalia was both more flexible and stronger than I was at the time. It was humbling and inspiring to have the honor to practice with her.
TYC: Wow – that’s really special. What part of her teachings do you carry with you today?
Teresa: I follow in Rosalia’s foot steps as I build community in my classes. She always encouraged students to feel safe and be with their own practice as well as with each other in class.
TYC: When did you first become a teacher and why?
Teresa: I became a teacher in my early 40’s in 2010 after completing my 200hr teacher training. It was not my original intention to teach. I was interested in healing my back, deepening my own practice and opening up my curiosity with yoga philosophy. When I left my job as an exhibition designer at the Field Museum of Natural History during the teacher training, it just seemed to be the next step [to become a teacher]. I have always liked to help people ever since I was a kid. Teaching yoga is healing for myself and I hope for my students as well.
TYC: What are the top three things you’d like your students to learn from your classes?
Teresa: It would be great if the students could feel grounded and have freedom to move. It is my hope that they enjoy the poses with good alignment and be able to practice with confidence even a Sun Salutation at home.
TYC: What do you love about the community of students at The Yoga Centre?
Teresa: The community of students are so supportive of me and each other. I feel like they genuinely care about what they do. Having said that, our community is also playful and take yoga beyond just being an exercise and into a way of living.
TYC: What else would you like The Yoga Centre community to know about you?
Teresa: I also like to take yoga from the other teachers at The Yoga Centre and Tennis and Fitness Centre. It feeds me as a teacher and helps me understand the poses and more from a different perspective. I believe it has helped me become a better teacher and person.