Meet our Teacher of the Month: Bonnie

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Bonnie has been an amazing asset to the Yoga by Degrees company since her arrival.  In 2010, she completed her 200-hour teacher training in Vinyasa at Yoga to the People in New York. She teaches at all locations and is constantly bending over backwards to sub whenever she can. Her classes aim to be challenging, but accessible, with a strong emphasis on breath and alignment. She attempts to create a safe space for students to tap into their deepest, truest selves. An avid music fan, Bonnie’s playlists provide an ambiance which promote a challenging flow and rhythmic cadence. In addition to teaching and practicing yoga, she is in medical school training to be a physician.  She is so busy with med school and boards, yet she makes time in our studios an important priority. Thank you so much for going above and beyond being an awesome yoga instructor and integral part of our YBD family!!! Learn more about Bonnie:

When and how did you come to yoga?

When I was a freshman in college, I signed up for a class at the rec center. It was sort of a hatha/Iyengar blend, and I actually found it sort of boring. . . My background was in dance and gym-based fitness, so the slow pace didn’t suit me at the time. It wasn’t until my boyfriend in college brought me with him to his Bikram studio that I fell in love with yoga. I practiced Bikram avidly for about four years before I found vinyasa. Bikram is still my yoga home, but I almost practice vinyasa these days.

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I studied biology in college, and every time I had a rough test, I’d convince myself that if I failed out of school, I’d just become a yoga teacher. Now, a decade later and in medical school, I still fantasize about leaving it all behind, moving back to northern California (where I’m from), living by the beach, and being a yoga teacher. I actually applied to a teacher training on a whim in the summer of 2010, and it ended up being one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Now I see my teaching as a parallel to my medical career. . . both are about helping people be their best, healthiest selves. What an amazing thing to be a part of.

What is your favorite pose?

Ustrasana/camel pose. I think it comes from my background in Bikram. I spent the first several years of my practice dreading it (and feeling nauseated and lightheaded every time I did it). A point came soon after my teacher training when I started to enjoy the fact that, even if it was unpleasant, it made me feel intensely. Now when I teach it, I like to have my students come out of the pose and sit on their heels with their hands at their hearts. I like to talk about how valuable it is to maintain a broad, open chest, even after that deep, intense backbend. . . What a beautiful metaphor for staying open and refusing to close oneself off, even after having been vulnerable. One of the many gifts our yoga practice gives us.

Who inspires your teaching?

That’s such a hard question to answer, since I learn so much from everyone at YBD. It’s a rare class where I’m not overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing teachers I get to practice with. I will say, however, that I sometimes feel like I ended up at YBD so that I could absorb some of Lara’s goodness. She’s as close to a spiritual teacher or guide that I’ve ever had.

Tips for beginners…

Be willing to laugh… At yourself if you fall out of something or at us for the ridiculous contortions we ask you to do.

What’s your favorite quote?

to live in this world

you must be able

to do three things

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go

-Mary Oliver

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