I have the lovely pleasure of knowing Catherine Dupont, one of my fantastic yoga instructors at Bodywise Yoga Studio. I’ve been attending Catherine’s Strong and Slow Flow class on Monday nights since the fall at Bodywise Yoga Studio. I’ve had the opportunity to grow through Catherine’s excellent teachings. Her background in therapeutic yoga shines through her teaching with the unique ability (her super power) to provide exactly what I need that day. When I’m in Catherine’s presence, I feel an incredible sense of calm and comfort; she truly has the gift of teaching yoga. I can always count on Catherine’s genuine welcoming smile and excitement to be exactly where she is. She has the ability to take me to another world during savasana like no other instructor can. Her calming voice and centering messages take me to a place where there is complete contentment and inner peace. I’m surprised that I haven’t fallen asleep during the resting posture because she makes me so relaxed. After each and every one of her classes, I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and restored. Catherine has taught me to stay grounded by repeating to myself when I need to hear it: may I think words of peace, may I speak words or peace, and may I feel peace. What a powerful, yet simple message.
I had the opportunity to interview Catherine about her yoga background. Her eloquent responses describe so well her passion for teaching yoga. Her love for yoga started when she used yoga as cross-training for other activities she frequents: hiking, rock climbing, cycling, skiing, snow boarding, and being in the great outdoors. Teaching yoga on a remote resort in Kananaskis, Alberta sparked her passion for teaching which landed her in Rishikesh, India to do her first 200 hour certification. As a life long learner, Catherine completed another 200 hour certification in Costa Rica, and then completed her 300hr Therapeutic Yoga teacher training in 2014. Like Catherine, I share the desire to learn more about your passion, travel often, and to be close to nature. What better way to learn from Catherine then by attending one or all of her upcoming yoga as cross-training workshops for golfers, cyclists, and runners.
1. Where did you do your yoga training? What did you specialize in and why?
I did my first training in 2005 in Rishikesh, India (200hr), another 200hr in Costa Rica (2008) and a 300hr Therapeutic Yoga teacher training in 2014. I chose to specialize in Therapeutic Yoga because this is the aspect of the practice that I am most interested in. I see yoga as a way to bring balance into my life and it is the application of yoga in this way that I like sharing with others.
2. How long have you been teaching yoga? What is your unique teaching style like (what makes you different from others)? Would you say you like to teach from a traditional, classical, new age, or a combination (or other) vantage perspective?
I began teaching in Kananaskis, Alberta in 2005 while working on a resort there. I was asked to lead a yoga class on a weekly basis for the staff. (The area is isolated and there was limited means of transportation for staff who lived on sight, and the program director who asked me knew of my involvement in yoga). The main focus at the time was to provide a fun way for the staff to relax their body and mind, and stretch their muscles from the physical labour they performed at work or the stress their bodies went through from playing in the mountains. Soon after I began doing this, I realized I was enjoying it immensely and so I decided to go get my training.
I do my best to teach in a way that will bring balance to people’s lives. We are a sitting society, and spend a lot of time with our shoulders rounded forward. This is not to say that we are lazy, just that our bodies sit and round forward a lot simply because of how we learn, earn a living, and spend our leisure time. Also, we are over-stimulated through our senses and multi-tasking seems to be the new norm. Although I teach a few different styles, I would say that the common themes I like to work with are slowing down, keeping a one-pointed focus inward–on the breath and body, honouring our strengths and limitations evenly, and having an open mind for how our body will respond to a yoga practice on any given day. The philosophy to bring balance I would say is a traditional philosophy. As far as the Asanas (postures) are concerned, I think we are best served by adapting the selection to bring balance to the postural habits we adopt while living in our modern world.
In yoga therapy, the idea is not to have someone adapt to a specific style, but instead to adapt the style to the person, depending on their needs. I really identify with that because what I may need to balance one day, could be different the next.
3. As someone going through a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) program at the moment, I am interested to know the impact your YTT program had on you.
All of my YTT have changed my life in some way. I remember wanting to be a better person for others; to show more empathy, to have more patience, more understanding, be more accepting, and with the YTT I began to understand that I needed to be more of those things toward myself first. And this can be a struggle because when you first think of it this way, it can sound selfish. It’s also a struggle because it’s at this point that the real work begins, and that work isn’t always easy, but well worth it.
4. What has your personal yoga journey been like?
I’ve always loved spending time outside, and when I moved to the Rockies it was to do more of that. I was passionate about climbing, hiking, and cycling in the summer, skiing and snowboarding in the winter. I started doing yoga as a way to cross-train, and a fun way to stretch and relax on rainy days or in the evening. I also noticed that it was helping with most of my injuries. I started practicing more and more, and soon realized that this was something I could do despite the weather, landscape, injuries (you can focus more on one style vs. another and modify postures if you are injured), etc… My practice of yoga became more involved then and it turned into a passion. The more my involvement, the more I am curious about what else there is to discover. I also feel incredibly blessed that I discovered yoga and that I am now in a situation where I am able to share my passion with others.
5. As a modern world yogi, do you live by any specific mantra, quote, motto, or way of being? How do you live and breathe yoga today?
I really like The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. They are:
- Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
- Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
- Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has not yet read it.
6. Have you done any traveling in your yoga journey? Where is your favourite place to practice yoga?
I have travelled to India and Costa Rica (as mentioned above) for yoga specifically. I’ve also attended workshops and retreats in British Columbia and Alberta. I’ve traveled to Mexico and Hawaii, as well as mainland USA. My favourite place to do yoga is outside, under the shade of a tree and near a lake. My favourite time to practice is early in the morning, it’s the best start to the day!
7. Tell us more about the Gentle Yoga and Strong and Slow Flow classes that you teach at Bodywise Yoga Studio.
Both classes will include the themes described above, and postures that bring into focus the major joints and muscles of the body. They are well rounded practices which include sitting, standing, prone and supine postures. I also include backbends, core strengthening, forward bending, lateral flexion (side bending) and twisting in all of my practices. There will be more strengthening, transitioning and vinyasa in the Strong and Slow Flow, whereas in Gentle Yoga, there is more time to explore each posture and if time permits I include some restorative postures near the end of the practice.
8. We’re excited that you will be teaching three Yoga as Cross-Training Workshops for golfers, cyclists, and runners at Bodywise Yoga Studio in June! How can yoga support other sports training? Can you give us a sneak peak of what do you plan to cover in the workshops?
Generally, cross-training involves strengthening muscles we don’t typically use in the given activity or exercise, and stretching the ones that we do. The postures we practice in these workshops will be focused around that for each activity.
Yoga is a great way to do this, and you get the added benefits of more efficient breathing, relaxation and increased focus, which are all aspects of any sport or activity and can be the elements that provide you with the competitive edge you are looking for in your chosen sport or activity, or simply make them more enjoyable.
I used to do a lot of this type of yoga while living in the mountains: groups would come in for conferences in the morning, golf in the afternoon and I would lead a practice of yoga for them in the evening or early the next day. My friends and I would go for bike rides or runs on the trails etc. and then practice yoga to complete our ‘workout’. I’m really excited to be offering this here in Moncton at Bodywise.
Don’t forget to check out Catherine’s upcoming workshops on June 5th, 12th, and 19th:
Other upcoming workshops at Bodywise Yoga Studio:
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