Teacher Feature of the Month: Carolyn Conner
1. Where do you find your inspiration?
Simple, day-to-day life. To me yoga isn’t just a physical practice on the mat or only about spiritual texts – it’s about seeing the interconnectedness of all things. As Douglas Brooks teaches in Clothed in Consciousness, ayoga, which is the opposite of yoga, is the inability to see the connections. So relationships, business, transitions, family, traffic all have the potential to set the wheels turning in my mind.
2. What does September mean to you?
Growing up, September was a threshold through which I passed having been touched by a summer of daily swim practice and weekly competition, by carefree days at the pool, and by relationships I developed. September symbolizes new beginnings, a fresh start, possibility, potential.
3. Tell us about your Wednesday ‘Mama Yoga’ class:
This past spring as my daughter Genevieve turned 1 I began to feel the need for more yoga, both as a physical and spiritual practice for myself as well as a professional creative exploration. I did not want to relinquish any more of the precious time I get to spend with Genevieve, so I thought about how I might teach a class with her there along with other moms and their babes. A picture developed in my mind of it being distracted, chaotic, interrupted, not following any particular rules or expectations. Perfect! Just as life is, just as parenting is. Real. No matter that I might need to change a diaper mid sun salutation, or nurse through hip openers, or handle a bout of tears over a desired toy in savasana. It was all yoga. Over the summer I taught this class in Bristol and Vergennes and grew from the community we cultivated. I got back into my body, observed myself parenting in the eyes of other moms, observed other moms parent through sweet moments and difficult ones, and was consistently reminded that parenting – and yoga – is an art, as well as a science. It was beautiful!
4. When/How did you decide to dedicate yourself to yoga personally and professionally?
In September 2000 I traveled to Maui to study Ashtanga Yoga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois for 3 weeks. Up until that point, I had had a job and taught yoga on the side. I left my job, went to Hawaii, deepened my practice and my dedication to yoga and to myself and returned to Vermont to flip the scales, with the intention of teaching yoga, with a part-time job on the side. I have continued in that manner since then, even dropping the part-time job in 2004 to support myself solely through yoga and bodywork.
5. Please share a defining moment for you in your yoga practice/teaching:
In the spring of 2005 I attended an Anusara Yoga workshop with Todd Norian in Montpelier. I had not taken a workshop in a few years and I was longing for new inspiration. I knew nothing about Anusara nor Todd but I was so hungry for new knowledge and experience that it didn’t matter. The workshop was phenomenal; my body, heart and mind were altered. I can still recall the physical sensations in my body, specifically my hamstrings seeming longer and more supple and my back more flexible and free of tension. I can still recall the feeling of my heart beaming, wide open, freed of a protection that I hadn’t even been aware of until I experienced its absence. I called Todd Monday morning to say “I need more, I can’t go back to what I was doing and I don’t know enough to go forward.” I enrolled in his teacher training which started 3 weeks later and the rest is history in the making.
Carolyn’s Weekly Classes:
Tuesdays: Anusara-Inspired I/II ~ 12 – 1 pm
Wednesdays: Mama Yoga ~ 9:45 – 10:45 am + Anusara-Inspired I/II ~ 5:45 – 7 pm