Hey everyone! Check out my interview with the fabulous Amy Loftus, yoga teacher/musician and friend!
Originally from New York and often called the “Irreverent Yogi” because of her humorous approach, Heather Dawn (my Equinox Fitness doppelganger) is definitely one of the most grounded and hilarious teachers I’ve ever met. I decided to feature her first in a series of interviews with instructors that inspire me, enlighten me, and crack me up; they’ll each get the same five questions.
Heather Dawn considers Yoga “a body-mind relationship tool”. I like Heather because she’s a human being. She’s willing to let you in on her experience as a fellow human, which often makes for a very effective spiritual teacher. Heather Dawn is not only certified in many areas of body work, she is also a writer and maintains a column on elephantjournal.com. Her website is bodymuse.com
AL: How and when did you get introduced to Yoga?
HD: As a teenager, the summer I graduated high school. I was working with these healers, clairvoyants, mediums and channelers when I was introduced to Kundalini yoga. (I really wasn’t into it at the time). I dabbled in yoga for a few years, but preferred my martial arts classes and dance instead. Took about two years before I found Ashtanga yoga and fell in love with it.
AL: What was a defining moment along your path to service?
HD: Yoga? Service? OMG!? Why didn’t someone tell me!!? LOL. As a student, for me, Yoga had always been a place to try and reconnect my body and mind (which I often felt were at odds with one another) in a loving way that was filled with investigation, empathy and understanding. But, I had a very defining moment after a return from a shamanistic healing retreat( that really had nothing to do with my yoga) in New Mexico. I was sharing the discoveries with an acupuncturist friend of mine, who, after listening intently, said, “Heather, Can I ask you this question”? I nodded yes. “You are always going on these retreats, what are you looking for? Do you think you’re broken?”
It dawned on me, how many people come to yoga feeling they are broken or need to be fixed, or are searching for some answer that isn’t inside them. And I thought, what if I stopped looking, stopped searching, stopped trying to “heal” myself and just said every morning, every time I hit that yoga mat that this moment was perfect just as it is.
To this day, I always start off all my classes in meditation with a focus on breathing. I want students to see what they’ve brought to the mat. Let go of their expectations, the reasons they are there and breathe. Breath in a way that shakes hands with yourself in that moment and work on getting to know who you are and who you are not. Then, learn to become okay with that. That you are enough. If they decide on changes after that bonding, okay, cool, if not, okay, that’s cool too.
AL: What’s your mission?
HD: Love, health, laughter..success, isn’t that what most of us want? Yoga can help people get these things since it works the mind and the mind-body relationship. Hopefully you walk out of class with a little more clarity about yourself and with that clarity make your dreams come true.
AL: My all time favorite question to ask anyone: give me a snapshot of a day in your life.
HD: Wake up to the sounds of my 19 year-old year tabby howling around 7-730am. I feed him, as there really is no option if I want silence, make myself some coffee. Get back into bed, coffe next to me and read, check facebook, write if I’m inspired, meditate… Then I do what everyone else does in LA. I sit in traffic on the way to classes or clients, resisting the urge to get mad at bad drivers. ( My resistance doesn’t always work. Like I say I’m yogic, but not THAT yogic!) I return calls, workout, teach classes, text with friends and eat. I do have a tendency to eat on the run during the day ( but with all that time in the car it’s not REALLY on the run. I mean you have to do something in traffic, right?) I have clients or classes at night so if I’m not too tired, I’ll see a friend or boyfriend if I have one, watch a Laker game if it’s on t.v. or just go home eat a proper dinner with my cat, tigger. MOre reading, writing or a little t.v…..pretty boring and simple, but I do like it that way most times.
AL: What is your definition of a yoga teacher?
HD: Anyone who teaches anything( yoga or not) needs to have an ability to communicate to various people. To me, its all about learning how to communicate in a way people can understand and adapt into action what you are teaching, and more importantly actually WANT to listen to you. There is no teaching without students…so learn your yoga and learn about the psychology of people.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR HEATHER DAWN: I’m in the process of arranging a yoga vacation ( not a retreat lol) with my friend Stella. We hope to get to Maui in the fall. When it comes to pass, all the info will be on my website www.bodymuse.comwx