When did you start practicing yoga?
I began practicing yoga in 2006 while I was playing field hockey at Indiana University for the good ol’ Hoosiers.
Were you hooked immediately, or did it take some time for yoga to become part of your lifestyle?
I was not hooked what-so-ever. I was intimidated by yoga because it wasn't something that came with ease to me. I was very tight/inflexible because of field hockey and the strenuous workouts/practices/ and games I was putting my body through since I was 8 years old! My Junior year of college I began to appreciate yoga more. As I got older, I began to realize more and more that my field hockey career would be ending one day and it was important to begin taking care of my body. When I finished my career as an athlete, yoga became my savior. I was having a massive identity crisis and rather than falling into yoga.. Yoga kinda caught me.
How has yoga helped you overcome personal challenges or obstacles in your life?
I do not know where to begin with this question and I actually just posted something going over this earlier this week. I may not be the most spiritual or knowledgeable yoga student/teacher and I may not be able to handstand press/ do split…However, yoga helps me not just get through my days but allows me to see a bigger picture. That we are all in this together. Yoga has helped me get through many personal challenges.. As small as just having a bad day to as big as losing loved ones who were close to me.
Do you have any mentors or teachers who have inspired you throughout your yoga journey?
SO MANY. To start…. My 200 RYT teachers of Vibe Yoga: Laura Patterson, Erin Thomas, & Faith Hunter… Friends that have taught me/ took classes with me: Ellie Bernstein, Allie Grey, Ruby Cohen, Crystal Froberg, Katie Risbam, Ashley Cranmer, Adam Binder (seriously endless).. Oh and my Irish crew at Flow Studio Belfast - Liz and Dennis and so so many! Seriously this list is endless.. I even insta crush on @the_southern_yogi and @jessicaolie
What are your goals as a yoga teacher?
My goals as a yoga teacher are probably endless as well.. Does reading minds count? lol. My goal is to make people feel real and raw and strong and graceful. My goal is for them to smile at least once throughout class. To let “that shit go” aka anything going on in the world for them in that moment. My goal and my intention I set for myself each class is to just be present and show up for whomever my students are that day.
What is your teaching style?
vinyasa / comedian/ hip hop
Yoga for athletes <3
What have been some of the biggest benefits you’ve found - mentally, physically and spiritually - since you’ve started doing yoga?
Mentally- Mentally, I feel stronger and more open and accepting of my body. I have always struggled with feeling down and being in some serious slumps. Yoga helps lift me out of some moods and anxiety. When I am down or anxious I try to just start slowly moving or get to a class (However, I am becoming more and more of a fan of my home practice.)
Physically- Physically is challenging. Some days I feel I am getting more flexible but it consists of serious baby steps. I feel stronger. I feel more balanced. I feel I can control my breathing a bit more than when I started. However, I guess physically I am just overall more accepting of the process and my body.
Spiritually- Yoga has become a huge part of recognizing there are so many bigger things than myself.
Spiritually I am not attached so much as others I think because I was raised Catholic and I share those beliefs. I do enjoy learning more and more about the history of it all. I am so so loving and learning the whole area of essential oils and how they can deepen things spiritually and physically.
What has incorporating yoga into your lifestyle taught you about yourself?
Incorporating yoga into my lifestyle has taught me I need to slow down. I need to reflect more. I need to be thankful for the little things even when times are dark and heavy. Yoga has also taught me that we can learn AT LEAST one thing from every single person we encounter.
What is your favorite pose and why?
My favorite pose is savasana… and I am serious. I love so many poses. I love working on inversions like forearm stand and handstand. I do not love working on splits lately but I do love and respect the process. However, savasana ties everything in for me and brings everything back together. Savasana I can choose to reflect on my practice, try to meditate, or just make it a moment of gratitude. Savasana is freaking challenging at times. I think it is easy when we move to let go of other thoughts but when we are still it can be extremely difficult. I like that Savasana will always be a challenge and that is SO different day to day and practice to practice.
Do you have a mantra or quote you live by?
This is tough.. I love reading books, poems, quotes. Words and music really speak to me. I guess if I had to choose one it would be the sign my grandfather gave me that I now hang by my door: “I shall not pass this way but once therefore any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show let me do it now. For I shall not pass this way again.”
Air, Earth, Fire or Water - Which element speaks to you the most in your practice?
Water. My horoscope is Cancer. When I am not practicing yoga, I am surfing. When I practice I try to become as fluid as the waves and tides. I love vinyasa and I feel vinyasa is the ocean of yoga.
What advice would you give to someone who feels too intimidated to try yoga for the first time?
Do it! Embrace one of the most humbling experiences you ever will. It has changed my life. I think about it often but I am not sure how I handled life prior to beginning this journey.
Our mantra is “Live Limitless,” and we aim to inspire people to pursue their passions free of self-doubt or the pressures of societal norms. How has yoga helped you live limitless?
Yoga is a process and it teaches you that we are not handed a life script or a life plan. Yoga teaches us we have to be present to be the best version of ourselves in that moment. Yoga allows you to live limitless because it is about letting go of the past and the future and living in the present moment. If we did this perfectly.. Living limitless would be the only way to live if we did not worry about things we could not control.
If you could design a yoga mat of your own, what would it look like? (because sometimes dreams really do come true)
Hmmm...I think I would incorporate sunset colors and the reflection of that sunset on top of a body of water.
If you could go on a yoga retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Maldives! I lived in Bali for two years and sadly never made it to the Maldives. I would love to go do yoga and surf!
Do you have a yoga playlist? If so, what kind of music is on it? (you can also share an actual playlist)
OMG if you know me you know music is huge.. I am on spotify.. Emily Bowker.. Right now a lot consists of Ben Howard and Vance Joy….but then even Kygo and Rihanna.
Follow Emily on Instagram: @em_ilyou