This week we got the opportunity to interview our newest ambassador, Shiatsu Yoga’s Terry Bruce! This is the third in our Yoga teacher interview series – check out our interviews with Ervin Menyhart and Rebecca Hannah for more inspiring Yoga industry perspectives.
About Terry Bruce
Terry Bruce is a Yoga teacher we recently connected with. She holds online retreats as well as classes right now. Her students describe her teaching style as poetic, subtle and open with the keenest of intuition. So as you can imagine we were really excited to get a teacher like her on board!
In this interview we talked inspiration, the Yoga industry and how the current pandemic has opened surprising doors for accessibility in teaching.
What was your first experience of Yoga?
My Dad did yoga for over 30 years. He never attended a class, but just had one book (which I still have). He would practice from this book for 30-50 minutes almost every day.
Occasionally I would join him for a bit. As a child, I loved trying to do headstand – and I remember being SO bored by the relaxation at the end! But I didn’t really try it out properly until after my second baby was born. With 2 children under 2, I was exhausted… sleep deprived and stressed.
The thing I remember about that first class I went to was how blissful the relaxation was! 20 years and 2 children made all the difference!
You’ve been in the industry for a long time – how has it changed since you first started?
The biggest change I’ve noticed is how the industry has grown. Also (especially this year and with our move to screen based classes) how much more accessible all styles of yoga are to everyone.
When I began teaching, you really were limited by who taught in your local area, or how prepared you were to travel.
I also see much more discussion happening about diversity and inclusivity of all kinds within the industry. There’s a long way to go – but having these conversations are an important starting point.
What made you decide to become a teacher?
When I first began my teacher training, I was adamant that I would not become a yoga teacher!
My change of heart was a gradual one. I have always talked enthusiastically about what I’m passionate about at the time. As I began to learn more about yoga, and feel the changes in myself and in my life, it was a natural progression to want to share that with others.
What’s a common misconception about Yoga you’d like people to know?
That you DON’T have to be bendy!!
And more than this, that there is no particular physical requirement for starting. If you’re breathing – you can do yoga.
What aspect(s) of life do you believe Yoga practice helps most with?
I think everyone will have a very personal answer to this.
Maybe it’s the aspect of life that you most struggle with that it helps most.
The beauty of yoga for me, is that there is really no separation. We might begin yoga because of a stiff back, and yet we find that it helps us to be less fearful and anxious. Or we might begin yoga to reduce stress, and find that we develop more ease in the body than we have known in many years.
It touches all aspects if we let it. Physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual.
What resource(s) have you found most inspiring?
Books, teachers and classes have all given me great inspiration, but where that comes to life….is in my body. Equally, I might use books to help me research or plan a class, but it’s when I’m with a student and see how that pose or technique comes to life in their body that I’m truly inspired.
The best bit of this – we already have our most valuable and precious resource.
Describe milestone or a time where you felt like you’d really achieved something in your Yoga journey?
Some time after I qualified as a teacher, (I don’t remember how long) I turned up to teach a class and realised that I had forgotten my lesson plan. I still remember the stab of fear that shot through me!
There wasn’t time to go get it, so I had no choice. I had to teach the class anyway.
It was a really great class! That moment let me believe in myself as a teacher in a deeper way. I had begun to embody what I was teaching on a deeper level.
Who in the industry do you find most inspiring?
This is such a tough one. There are so many incredible and inspiring teachers out there!
Fazilah Bazari. She works tirelessly to bring yoga to people who don’t have access to it, and can’t afford it. She has the courage and conviction to take yoga out of the studio, and to people without resource or privilege. She helps people change their lives in dramatic ways.
Amy McDonald (Australia) is coaching yoga teachers in much needed business skills.
Also – anyone who is truly teaching their own flavour of yoga with integrity, passion and conviction is an inspiration.
How have you adapted your teaching during the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, I had never taught online. I was even approached by a new company a couple years ago to provide video lessons online. I declined, believing at the time that I had to be in the same room as my students to be able to teach safely, and well.
Thankfully, I’ve learned that’s not the case!
I’ve moved my whole yoga teaching business online, and for the moment, I have put aside the shiatsu part of my work.
Do you feel the pandemic has affected your ability to teach in a negative (or positive) way?
Both. Without doubt it’s been a great thing to offer online teaching. This has meant that I’ve had to think more consciously about the language I use to support people on their practice, what I demonstrate or not and I’ve been surprised at the depth of connection possible even though we’re looking at screens.
On the downside, I absolutely miss connecting with students in person each week. Feeling the palpable shifts in energy in the room as we practice together, and the freshness of dialogue in a class setting. It’s highlighted where I may have taken this for granted in the past.
What are your plans going forward?
When I teach, I aim to help you find your way back to your body, your feelings, your instinctive and natural self.
So moving forward I plan to offer this to a wider group of people. This will be with online classes, workshops, some outdoor yoga, weather permitting – and in the longer term retreats both in the UK and abroad.
Anything you would like to add?
When you’re not sure whether to invest in yourself, whether it’s yoga classes, clothes, time doing something for you, solitude, practice or even rest. Remember – you can’t serve anyone from an empty cup.
Nourish, nurture and love yourself. Enjoy your self. Then life is more joy-full and you will have so much more to offer.
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves! On that inspiring note – see you next week everyone! Remember, you’ll be seeing more of Terry Bruce in the future as our ambassador, so stay tuned!
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