Welcome to “Talks with Teachers”, our occasional feature where we get up close and personal with our teaching staff. Today, we are talking with Rhonda Fentry who teaches Yoga for Beginners on Mondays @ 7:30p. Rhonda joined our teaching staff in March and fits right in. With a background in both dance and fitness, her classes feature the perfect blend of dynamic movement and classical hatha instruction. Beginning students enjoy her down-to-earth personality and appreciate how accessible her classes are for the uninitiated.
TYC: How would you describe your teaching style?
RF: I would describe my teaching style as gentle, non-intimidating, and rhythmic. The intention of Hatha Yoga is to connect breath to movement in such a way that breathing feels natural and uninhibited. Since this takes practice, I want my students to feel as though they are effortlessly gliding into the movements so that breathing becomes more natural. Coming from a dance background, I achieve this through basic, rhythmic movements, sequenced in a way that is purposeful and natural to the body. If I were to describe this, I’d call it “Rhonda’s Hatha Vinyasa.”
TYC: How were you first introduced to Yoga?
RF: I was first introduced to yoga in 2000, when a colleague of mine asked me to take a class with her at the health club where we taught fitness. Prior to this, I had always been hesitant to try yoga because I figured yoga was something people did when they were unable to do “real exercise.” Boy was I wrong! My very first class was an advanced Ashtanga class, and it kicked my butt! Not only was it physically challenging, but it required a level of focus, concentration, and body awareness I had never experienced before. I was hooked.
TYC: When did you first become a teacher? Why?
RF: I began teaching yoga since 2003. Although I have been actively teaching classes and continuing my own yoga practice for many years, only recently have I began to experience the true healing effects and understanding the power of yoga. Before this discovery, my reason for teaching was at a surface level-it was a great workout, it was fun, and it added variety to my own workout program and teaching schedule. However, this reason has shifted, and has become much deeper. As a personal trainer and fitness instructor for almost thirty years, I have met so many people in various stages of their lives, experiencing physical, emotional, and social challenges, who, more than anything else, want to be healed and to feel at peace. This has allowed me to connect with the spiritual side of yoga. My goal and purpose as a teacher is to offer and to share this spiritual healing with my students.
TYC: What are the top three things you’d like your students to learn from your classes?
RF: Acceptance-Accept who you are, with your gifts, limitations, and individual purpose. Do not compare yourself to others as you are unique and special.
Awareness-Be aware of who you are. Become aware of your body and proper alignment in order to avoid injury
Strength-Know that you have the strength to achieve anything you want through commitment, hard work, dedication, and consistency.
TYC: What do you love about the community of students at the Yoga Centre?
RF: Before I began teaching at the Yoga Centre, I took classes as a student. What stood out to me the most was how welcoming the members were. Having no idea I was a teacher, other students asked me my name, showed me where the props were, and made sure that I had my space in class. It was like they were all family, welcoming me as a new member!
TYC: What else would you like the Yoga Centre community to know about you?
RF: Regardless of the level of the class I am teaching, I want all of my classes to be welcoming to all members and students of all levels. It is truly an honor and a blessing to be part of the Yoga Centre family.