Zephyr has been teaching yoga in London since 2002, having trained with the very first intake of Yogacampus trainees. Here, she shares her yoga journey which led her from her home town of Boise in Idaho to her now home; London.
What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
My first Yogic experiences were with my mum, Barbera Bashan and her girl friends. She taught at the YWCA in Boise, Idaho. Back then, I remember brightly coloured outfits, thong onesies, and headbands, straight out of the 80’s. I would be running around a bunch of women doing a mixture of aerobics, light weights and yoga. It made a big impression in my memory that moving the body was a way for these women to release, reconnect and laugh together. As time went on the yoga became more formal and I rebelled. I created an art collage of my mum’s favourite images to plead with her to stop making me do Yoga. This worked and I pursued my passions of running in the foothills, mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting...however if there was a chance to dance with my mum, which always involved doing Yoga shapes, I was in!
What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
Louise Grime was one of my first Yoga teachers in London. I had been practicing with her for a few years and she wasn’t able to attend the class she taught at the Tabernacle. If you know Louise, you will know if she says you are going to teach for me next week, you do. I received positive feedback and she suggested that The Life Centre was creating a teacher training programme (now the Yogacampus Teacher Training). She encouraged me yet again to enroll and I am truly grateful to her for her support, teachings and guidance.
What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
Not to use yoga as a exercise, to use yoga as a theraputic way to reconnect to the subtle body, to be embodied. I love moving my body and for me it is the direct way I can get into practicing and receiving the benefits of mediation.
What does your own self-practice involve?
My self practice is usually self bespoked, depending on the day, time and season, however emphasis on strength base asana as I am hyper flexible. This leads to Pranayama, Mantra and Meditation everyday. During the week I practice 2-3 times a 25-60 minutes Yoga Nidra.
If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
Simple asana to prepare me to sit, japa mantra into mediation.
Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
The people who inspire me as teachers are Rod Stryker, Richard Freeman and Doug Keller. These three men create a foundation for me to continue to teach with strong lineages of Yogic traditions. Also, my students. They inspire me to be a better teacher, to continue unfolding and discovering more to pass on. I find the more I am of service to help, guide and heal others the more I heal myself.
What role does yoga play in the way you live?
The quality of our life is shaped by energy; yoga gives me a methodology to align myself to experience the fullest potential of my nature today. On a personal journey, each day, relationship, thought and feeling can be my greatest teacher. I try to practice these Yogic principles in all of my affairs. I am grateful today I have a body to move to practice asana, however I invest more in the other aspects of my practice which align me with an experience of serenity, a feeling of compassion and an empowerment to partake in my life fully.
What do you hope your students to experience when they practice with you?
I try to create environment where we all come together with the common intention to heal, be present and reconnect to a greater purpose in hopes that they leave with the residue of serenity to continue their day mindfully.
Which yoga text could you not live without?
The Four Desires by Rod Stryker
The Path of Fire and Light by Swami Rama
The Power of Mantra and the Mystery of Initiation by Rajmani Tigunait
Yoga as Therapy & Heart of the Yogi by Doug Keller
The Mirror of Yoga by Richard Freeman
Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realisation by Dr. David Frawley
The Lost Teachings of Yoga by Georg Feuerstein
Awakening Shakti & Shakti Meditations by Sally Kempton
The Yoga of the Nine Emotions: The tantric practice of Rasa Sadhana by Peter Marchand
Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System by Anodea Judith
The Path of the Yoga Sutras: a practical guide to the core of yoga by Nicolai Bachman
Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Muktibodhananda
A Path with Heart by Jack Cornfield
The Inner Tradition of Yoga by Michael Stone
Swara Yoga: The Tantric Science of Brain Breathing by Swami Muktibodhananda
The Tree of Yoga by BKS Iyengar
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda
Ayurveda and the Mind by David Frawley
Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
The Shakti Colouring Book by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik
When Breath comes Air by Paul Kalanithi
The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb Ph.D
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, Ph.D
When things fall apart and Don't bite the Hook by Pema Chodren
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
and could list more....
Describe the meaning of yoga in 10 words more or less
Yoga is the Art and Science of disciplining one's body, breath and mind in the seeking to awaken to the Divine within us, as us, working for us to wake us up to its presence in everything.