FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
DW: David T. Wilson, Founder & Instructor- Soul to Soul Yoga, LLC (based in Seattle, WA). I enjoy hiking, travelling and an occasional fine cigar.
FFFC: What got you started doing yoga?
DW: I began my yoga practice while training for my first marathon. I read somewhere that practicing yoga in a hot room, helped to calm the mind and improved the quality of your breath during long runs. After my third marathon, I decided to hang up my running shoes and commit more time to the mat. I knew I could continue to run, however, I wanted to explore yoga in a setting beyond marathon training. Ten years later, I have yet to regret that decision.
FFFC: What inspired you to become an instructor?
DW: I worked in corporate Human Resources (HR) for 17 years and I believe my work in this space is complimentary with teaching yoga. As a yoga instructor, just as in HR, there is a focus on people doing their best work…today…and in the present moment. When I instruct, I use my knowledge, skills and abilities to identify barriers (real or imagined), and offer suggestions on how to move beyond them. This process yields a different experience for each student, one which continues to amaze and inspire me every day. In fact, the word (inspire) means “to breathe life into”, and it is reciprocal between student and teacher. Through my yoga practice and instruction, I am constantly learning more about myself and others.
FFFC: How has it changed you?
DW: You know I’ve never really thought of myself as an artist before until I began teaching yoga. The time and rigor I put into my practice and instruction has heightened my awareness of self and others. I feel more in tune (united) with myself, my vulnerabilities, my imperfections, my uniqueness and my gifts. This in turn, has allowed me the space and compassion to deeply engage with my students. For me, it’s not only about the postures, but the conversations off the mat, the feedback from the students, the connection is inexplicable. We are all mirrors for one another.
FFFC: What do you like most about yoga?
DW: I love learning about the anatomy as well as the benefits of the postures with a consistent practice. I try to relay this information to students in a simplistic way, without judgment and criticism. Yoga has also exposed me to other forms of alternative healing like massage, chiropractic and acupuncture, which I integrate into my instruction and discussions with students.
FFFC: How often do you practice yoga?
DW: I meditate and practice yoga daily. For me, it’s a lifestyle and if I skip a day, my body and mind notices the lack of balance, centeredness and patience that comes from engaging in this type of activity.
FFFC: What has been the greatest benefit you have realized once you started doing yoga?
DW: I feel more grounded regardless of the situation. What I’ve realized is that yoga and meditation don’t make your problems, fears, issues, etc. go away, it does however, provide you with a “different lens” through which to view them. Through my practice, I’ve also learned how to “withdraw” from certain situations, which is very different from escaping or confronting them. In short, my practice has taught me that “I decide” how I want to engage.
FFFC: What type(s) of yoga do you do?
DW: Mainly hatha and power yoga. I really enjoy practicing in a hot room as well. Of course, I’m open to practicing all types of yoga, the beauty is in the diversity and in learning new things. I am always amazed at the many similarities across the different types of yoga.
FFFC: How far do you want to go with yoga?
DW: I really don’t have a destination when it comes to my practice or instruction. Personally, I want my practice to continue to evolve and stay healthy. From a business standpoint, I envision myself providing more visibility to under-privileged areas, children and really anyone who wants to learn. With over 300 million people in the US, there are only 16 million people who practice, so there’s lots of work to do
FFFC: What do your family and friends think about you practicing yoga?
DW: It varies J. Some are thrilled that I’m following my passion. They’ve notice how my overall demeanor has changed, less stressed and more open and accepting. Others wonder how I’ll get by, so they’re curious about my finances. Both sides are important to me and I embrace the different perspectives and insight. My theory, now that I’m in my 40s (I call it “mid-life awareness”), is that nothing is promised or guaranteed, so do what you love or at least try to. You’ll never know unless you try.
FFFC: Do you have any advice for anyone who is interested in yoga?
DW: Sure, don’t think about it, just do it. Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory…and that theory is that you should continue to practice. You won’t regret it.
FFFC: What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions about yoga?
DW: There is no criteria necessary to practice yoga.
FFFC: Where is the most interesting place you have done yoga?
DW: I tried out the yoga room in the San Francisco airport (Terminal 2) and enjoyed it. It’s a great opportunity to decompress and unwind before or after a flight. Outside of that, I’m just happy and grateful to be able to practice anywhere.
FFFC: Do you have any yogis you admire?
DW: Honestly, I really enjoy being a part of the yoga community, so I work to stay current in that regard vs following a particular person. That being said, when I first began my journey as an instructor, I enjoyed the intensity of Ana Forrest’s practice as well as the Zen Buddhism element that Michael Stone offered. I studied and received my teacher training through Ali Valdez and I count her as a personal mentor.
FFFC: Is there a special place you would like to do yoga?
DW: That’s the beauty of yoga and yogis, we can “strike a pose” anywhere and we typically doJ.
FFFC: How can our readers learn more about your classes?
DW: I keep my website up to date with classes and workshops. You can also contact me directly to discuss or schedule workshops or classes. Website: www.soul-to-soul-yoga.com. To reach me: [email protected].