Carrie Johnson and Tiffany Geier are in our Instructor Spotlight this month. Dragonfly owner, Megan Ryan Kaiser, asks the two of them some questions about yoga and dream jobs. Take a couple minutes and get to know Carrie and Tiffany a little better!
Megan: How has yoga changed/transformed your life?
Tiffany: Finding yoga has been like finding something I didn't know I lost, that dollar bill in your pocket, that has always been there, but finding it again brings so much joy! Yoga has given me the physical strength I crave, and am always looking to build on. However, the inner strength and stability I have found through yoga has been a true unexpected gift.
Carrie Johnson: Yoga has changed my life from habits to intentions. I notice that when I come to yoga with a really strong intention, my practice is much more fulfilling. When I have an intention, I am able to move with awareness and purpose, rather than tuning out or thinking about what I ate or how I have a load of laundry to do. When I practice yoga I know that time on my mat is my time and it keeps me present and mindful. Yoga allows me the opportunity to reflect on my life and strive to be a better person. The biggest transformation from yoga for me is that it encourages healthy eating and healthy choices in life. It also reduces anxiety. My yoga practice continues to amaze me and provides many benefits that effect so many parts of my life..
MRK: Why/how did you decide to teach yoga?
TG: Dragonfly!!! I came taking classes shortly after its opening, and instantly fell in love. As a physical education teacher here in Madison, I felt teaching yoga would be a great compliment and fit. So, with the support of Megan, Tola, and many other staff and clients, I took the leap into training. I absolutely love teaching yoga, I am inspired every day by the clients and all the great staff at Dragonfly.
CJ: Since the age of nineteen, I have been in the health industry, from teaching aerobics, being a personal trainer, teaching kids fitness classes, and teaching Pilates and relaxation classes. I was always experimenting with yoga and the different styles out there. I noticed how yoga was the one thing that was always there for me, making me feel more balanced and stronger inside and out. Mind/Body Wellness had become a priority for me and I wanted to share the tremendous benefits of yoga. I started with getting yoga training through Yogafit, and then moved on to my 200 CYT Training in Massachusetts and then another 200 hour training program in Madison, WI.
DHY: How would you describe your teaching style or one of your classes?
TG: Playful, athletic, and fun! Be ready to sweat, and maybe giggle at ourselves.
CJ: I love to help connect students with more than just learning a pose. It is learning to connect the breath with the pose and staying mindful and connected with your core self. One of my favorite classes to teach is Core Flow Yoga. This style of yoga is based from Sadie Nardini's Core Vinyasa Yoga. In my Core Flow class, moving from your core establishes strength, courage and stamina. It allows your body to be reintroduced to your core center and find the strength you need to maintain balance in your physical body and in every aspect of your life. It is a vinyasa style that is always moving and building strength. I enjoy playing Fun and inspiring music and always guiding each student with motivational cues.
MRK: What is some important advice to someone taking their first class at Dragonfly?
TG: Have fun with it! Your body is your guide, so listen to it. Yoga is not a competitive sport, so don't compare yourself to anyone. Listen to the cues, try your best and let your body rock and roll. And make sure you try a second class, and a third, and fourth….etc :)
CJ: Keep an open mind and just try it. Place your mat where you can see the teacher and not have an obstructed view. Drink plenty of water before and after. Never compare or compete with anyone. You have nothing to lose and you might just like it! Don't be surprised if I even come up next to you and practice with you as I'm teaching, I like to connect with everyone.
MRK: So many people think they can't do yoga because they're not flexible (I'd be rich if I got a dime everytime someone said that to me). I'm sure you've heard this hundreds of times yourself. What do you say when someone says they won't/can't do yoga because they're not flexible?
TG: Lets get those preconceived ideas of what yoga should be like out of your head! You know we don't just hang out upside down with body parts twisted around us for the whole hour! You will be amazed at what your body CAN do, and with regular practice, you will notice fantastic changes and improvements in your body.
CJ: It is such a common misconception that people have about yoga is that they can't do it because they are “tight.” How can you become more flexible if you don't stretch? In my classes, I try to offer modifications and props so that people of all flexibility ranges can feel the benefits of each pose. It is a practice and with more and more practice, more and more changes will take place, even an increase of flexibility.
MRK: What do you want your students to get out of your class?
TG: A sense of pride, accomplishment, confidence, and joy. I want you all to have fun with yoga, try and experiment with your body, give yourself permission to laugh, and make mistakes, that's how we grow!
CJ: I would like students to leave a class of mine with a positive experience. A class that helped them develop an awareness of body & mind. My class is challenging yet accessible as all the poses flow smoothly together. An experience of a new opening for you and your life on and off your mat.
MRK: Now, a little bit about you. What would be your dream job (outside of yoga instructor, of course).
TG: Ummmm….Astronaut…..lol… seriously I am loving teaching yoga…maybe one day opening a Dragonfly in my retirement community!
CJ: This is my Dream job, but outside of Yoga it was acting in my twenties, fashion designer for fitness clothes in my thirties, and the older I get I dream more daring occupations like a Doctor or EMT.
MRK: Favorite music to play in your classes?
TG: Oh my gosh, I love coming up with playlists. I have so many. I love mixing fun upbeat music like Katy Perry with Annie Lennox, or MC Yogi with Rod Stewart, new music with classics. Right now I am having Olympic withdrawal, so my playlist I just created was based on closing ceremony music. Possibilities are endless, thank you Spotify!
CJ: I love variety, and you will hear anything from, Led Zepplin, Moby, Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, Krishna Das, Bon Iver, Leona Lewis, MC Yogi, Blondie, and my look-a-like Carly Rae Jepsen.