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Teacher Feature: Cindy MacKay

1. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOGA?

I would describe yoga as a way of life. A practice of continuous self inquiry, embodiment, and meditation through stillness and movement. A way of being totally present and connected to all that is.

2. HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY TO YOGA?

As an athlete and a dancer I was drawn to yoga in the early nineties seeking out the physical benefits of moving my body in a different way.I began practicing yoga at home with instructional DVD’s. It didn’t always feel quite right in my body; so I realized I needed instruction in a studio setting.I first landed a little too vigorously in an Ashtanga class briefly and injured my shoulder. I then joined a local Iyengar studio and fell deeply in love with the practice. I learned how to align my body in a healthy way and quickly began connecting to the spiritual aspects of the practice. I practiced the Iyengar method intensely for several years, then attended an Anusara workshop that profoundly shifted my practice. My body & heart responded more naturally to the alignment principles and cues. Through this method I experienced deep healing on many levels.

3. WHO IS YOUR PRIMARY TEACHER RIGHT NOW?

I have studied (and continue to study) with so many incredible teachers over the years that have influenced my practice; but I have to say that Todd Norian and his wife Ann Greene have been my primary teachers. I must mention as well; my two cats and dog teach me every day about unconditional love.

4. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO KEEP TEACHING?

The students. Their commitment to dive in, inquire, play and be in their body in a way that maybe they’re not used to and my hope and belief that yoga connects us to ourselves and others in a deeper way.

5. WHAT IS YOUR PRACTICE LIKE OFF THE MAT? HOW WOULD YOU SAY YOU LIVE YOUR YOGA?

Wow- my yoga practice off the mat challenges me daily to be more present, aware, compassionate with myself and others, to listen deeply to my heart which always leads me to what is true, and to remember that we are all connected . I also paint and my practice feeds my creativity for certain. I can’t imagine my life without yoga; especially with all that is going on in our world right now.

6. DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE OR RITUALISTIC WAY TO STARTING EACH DAY? IF SO, PLEASE DESCRIBE.

I rise early, do some Ayurvedic rituals and take my new dog for a walk. (She is turning me into an early morning person). I try to do some meditation/yoga or both depending on time, a cup of tea and breakfast; then off to work.

7. WHAT ARE SOME NON-NEGOTIABLES YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW TO MAINTAIN BALANCE AND HEALTH IN EVERYDAY LIVING?

Quiet time alone for reflection, meditation and self care. Space and time to do my practice. Occasional Yoga retreats and workshops are a must. Lastly, striving to maintain a healthy diet for myself and my husband.

7. WHAT DRAWS YOU TO THE LILA COMMUNITY?

The warmth and friendliness of the studio and it’s community. The diversity of students, the knowledge, expertise and uniqueness of each teacher I teach along side with. I’m happy to be a part of this.

8. IF YOU WOULD SUGGEST ONE BOOK TO THE COMMUNITY TO READ AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEEPEN THEIR LEARNING ON LIFE, YOGA, AND ALL THINGS, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

There are so many it’s hard to pick just one! A few that I go back to again and again; Bringing Yoga to Life – Donna Farhi, A Path With Heart – Jack Cornfield, A Life Worth Breathing – Max Strom and right now I’m reading and loving The Global Heart Awakens by Anodea Judith. This one is particularly pertinent for these times.

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