The sixth Clayton Yoga teacher blog interview is with an outstanding yoga teacher at Clayton Yoga, Linda Multack. Linda, originally brought up in a small town of less than 600 people, has worked professionally in St. Louis for many decades, lives with her long-time husband Dennis, and has raised two beautiful children, who now work and live on the East Coast. Linda is compassionate, strong, and dynamic and inspires just about everyone who walks through our Clayton Yoga Studio front door.
What are the main benefits you’ve received from practicing yoga?
“I have been practicing yoga consistently for the past 19 years and teaching for the last 6 years. Initially, in the first few years of my practice, I found many of the asanas or poses to be, at best, uncomfortable. In the beginning I could not touch my toes, had tight hamstrings, could not clasp my fingers during ‘gomukhasana or cow face arms’, and had intermittent low back as well as neck pain.
It took 4 years of practice to develop the upper body strength to do chatturanga. However, I also remember how deeply relaxed I felt at the end of class—it was experiencing a more relaxed state and then gradually observing how, over time, the poses or parts of the poses became more comfortable—and I think it was these feelings of peace and ease in addition to the observations of ‘bit by bit’ progress within my body that kept me coming back to practice.
I had a teacher who encouraged me to develop greater awareness in how to move and align my body while on the mat so that I could transfer this postural awareness off the mat into my life and create healthier habits as I moved about through my day. Experiencing this greater peace and ease in my body was a huge benefit in those first few years and continues to surprise me as I notice openings and work on poses which I thought to be absolutely impossible in the beginning.
It is the practice of working and building within our own gradual progression over time, which brings about the benefits of increases in strength, balance and flexibility both in body and mind. In the last few years of my practice I think I have really gotten in touch with the benefits of moving with my breath as well as deepening my experience of how beneficial the breath can be. In a difficult circumstance the opportunity to choose to pause and focus on the breath can support us in choosing how to act rather than react.
I think practicing breathing deeply with awareness for periods of time during class and then gradually throughout class have supported me in being able to tap into my breath off the mat. I find I consciously and, at times, unconsciously seem to be breathing more deeply during the day, and therefore feel more relaxed much more of the time. As I have noticed these positive differences, I find myself wanting to bring more positive changes into my life.
There are so many opportunities for healing and wellness around us! I so appreciate the opportunity to inspire each other and to celebrate the small or great changes which newfound awareness can bring into our lives as we move on our own yoga paths. We make such a difference for one another and we are lucky to be able to practice and share together within our yoga community!”