This month we’re checking in with Shauna MacKay who teaches a hatha class on Sunday mornings at 8:30. Click here to see the online schedule, no reservations required for class. One special announcement: as a Lululemon Ambassador, Shauna’s collecting shoes for the “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” campaign to aid the homeless in San Diego. Drop off gently used athletic shoes in the box at the top of the stairs until the end of March.
1. What is your favorite style of yoga?
Although I understand why others commit to one style of yoga, I am not a yoga purist. I completed over 500 hours of YogaWorks training, a style that intelligently blends the alignment of Iyengar, the flow of Ashtanga Vinyasa and the individualized teachings of Desikachar. I love taking the best of various styles and adapting them to my own needs and the needs of my students. I value having a giant tool box of yoga resources to draw upon and love continuing my education to keep adding new tools to my collection.
2. What first attracted you to yoga when you began your practice?
Relief from pain! After more than twenty years of running (literally and figuratively), I was tight, inflexible and constricted in my hips, hamstrings, neck and shoulders. Not to mention my heart, which was tied up in knots.
3. What is your favorite yoga pose right now?
My favorite pose at the moment is ardha chaturanga dandasana, or plank pose. I love practicing it and I love teaching it. Sometimes students have an aversion to it because it’s physically demanding, but once they learn to stabilize the shoulder and pelvic girdles and engage the muscles on the front of the body, they access a strength they didn’t know they had. I love the moment my students get it and feel that possibility within themselves.
4. What pose is still the most challenging?
The most challenging poses for me are always backbends like urdhva dhanurasana, wheel. A childhood gymnastic injury left me with a tight lower back, making the posterior pelvic tilt necessary for safe backbends a challenge. Yoga, patience and perseverance have helped a great deal. I am slowly opening up that previously locked area and look forward to more and more backbends to come.
5. If you were an animal, you would be:
I often look to my kitties, Henry and Millie, for yogic inspiration. They are masters of the ability to fully relax in their bodies. Even after stressful situations, they quickly “shake it off” and free themselves to relax in the present moment. And nothing beats the blissful sound of a cat purring at peace.
6. Describe what yoga means in your life using just 6 words:
Lengthens, strengthens, opens and frees me.
7. What might your students be surprised to learn about you?
One of my favorite things to do is cuddle up with my husband and watch competitive cooking, singing or design shows. Whether or not you like the type of food, singing or styling, it’s beautiful and inspiring to watch the performer’s ego soften so the purity of their gift can shine.
8. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for new students?
Your practice matters! Every time you come to the mat, even for a few minutes, with the intention of opening yourself, you have an impact on those around you as well as the world at large. By making more space in your own mind, body and spirit, you are contributing to a more flexible, peaceful and loving world. It all starts with kindness in your own inner world. Just keep showing up. Namaste!