Blog #70: Interview With Exciting Up & Coming Canadian Yoga Instructor Tracy Tomchuk

 

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Yoga Instructor Tracy Tomchuk.

Tracy Tomchuk has been a practitioner of yoga for 11 years.  In July 2017, Tracy travelled from her birthplace of Winnipeg, Canada to Dharamshala, India in where she completed the 200 hour Teacher Training Course and received her certificate in August 2017 from Siddhi Yoga.

Tracy is also an accomplished dancer and artist.  Her dance background includes: Break Dancing, Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet and Latin. She studied art in University and does fantastic work.  Her main visual medias include: Ceramics, paint and photography.

I got the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her yoga journey, and here’s what she said…

 

Interview:

Simply Chrissy: When did you first take interest in yoga generally? How long were you into yoga on a recreational level initially? 

Tracy: My very first yoga class was a hot yoga class 12 years ago. I was 17 and it was my aunt’s idea to bring me to yoga with her. We had both never been before, but because I was a dancer she thought I would enjoy it.
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I did yoga on and off for about 11 years before becoming certified. I would go during any of the one month unlimited promotions at any studio. As a student and then freelance artist I never really had the income to go all year round.

 Simply Chrissy: What positive changes did you observe within yourself mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally from practicing yoga?

Tracy: After practicing yoga, at first I noticed a sense of calmness in my life. I had always struggled with a bit of anxiety, or seasonal depression – for which I chose not to medicate – but with yoga I just noticed that I was able to see clearly and calmly outside of my practice. When one does yoga, there’s always a point at which irrelevant thoughts creep into their mind, negative ideas, bantering obligations, and so on. It is at this point that one needs to compassionately redirect their attention back to their practice on their mat. This battle on the mat becomes a skill that one can use in all realms of their life. The more I practice the more I get to experience relief.

Simply Chrissy: What made you want to become a certified yoga instructor? 

Tracy: I had been considering becoming a yoga instructor for years. Actually after my very first yoga session with my Aunt she said “you would make a great yoga instructor, I really think you should consider It.” But I was 17, and didn’t see how it would fit. Several times over the last 11 years someone had observed my practice and strongly suggested it to me. For some reason, it didn’t feel right in that moment and I didn’t feel ready. I don’t know what held me back, I just felt the sense to wait.

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Tracy in action, guiding her yoga students.  (Photos by: Tracy Tomchuk)

Finally in spring 2017, after experiencing crucial challenges in my life, I realized it was time. Money, age, nor relationships were going to hold me back from getting my Yoga Teacher Certification in India.

Simply Chrissy: You travelled to India to train and become a certified yoga instructor. Can you describe that journey? 

 Tracy: I went to India to become certified in yoga because I wanted an authentic experience delivered from the culture that created this way of life. I needed to see the way the people of India lived, the environment that nurtured yoga, the religion that led to what we now understand yoga to be.

It is very hard to sum up my experience in becoming certified as an instructor as I have been learning about yoga for years. In India, I needed time to heal myself, my mind and my body from all of the things that prevented me from getting certification sooner, and the things that motivated me to finally becoming an instructor; as well as deepen my understanding of Yoga, Sanskrit, Hinduism, Anatomy and philosophy.

It was quite the process.

The people of India live rich, passionate and devoted lives. So many religions and ways of life thrive in India. They are celebrated, and in abundance – the energy felt pure, colorful and exciting.

Imagine being a part of that, while learning about a practice that originated there thousands of years ago. It was humbling, liberating, and enlightening – and I am still processing the concepts, memories and facts today. I imagine it to take a few years, if not a lifetime to fully absorb the experience.

Simply Chrissy:  The modern world we’re living in has many pros, and also plenty of cons where human health is concerned, such as: Decreased physical activity, sedentary lifestyles, information overload, increased stress & anxiety, less personal quiet time, and constant use of devices (cell phone, laptop, computer, etc) to name a few.  What 3 yoga poses can you suggest to people reading this that can help them to increase their state of well-being? 

 Tracy: 3 yoga poses that I would suggest to anybody looking to experience some of the best aspects of yoga would be Tadasana (Mountain pose), Savasana (Corpse pose), and Sirsasana (Headstand pose).

Tadasana (Mountain pose):

When done properly, Mountain pose the ability to have profound effects on the body in the mind. Some might simply say that it strengthens the abdominals, legs, the feet and opens the chest. These are all good things, but they are primitive benefits. Things to remember when standing in Tasasana:

1. Make sure the feet are in parallel, either together or hip-width apart.
2. Lift up all of the toes – then press down the big toes first, and then the remaining toes.
3. Lift the ankles so they stack directly underneath the knees.
4. Roll the legs inward, relaxing the gluteus maximus – you should feel the side hip engage.
5. Tuck the tailbone to neutralize the pelvis, it is important to avoid an anterior tilt or posterior tilt in the pelvis.
6. Engage the abdominal muscles.
7. Inhale lifting the shoulders up. Exhale rolling the shoulders back and down. Squeeze the shoulder blades together.
8. Palms facing the front (this will open the chest for a nice space to breathe into) imagine that there are strings pulling down through the arms, and the fingertips towardsthe Earth. This will help keep the arms and fingers engaged.

9. Chin parallel to the ground, and ears should line up just over the shoulders (avoid forward head posture)

Finally. Breathe.

It might appear as though you are simply standing, but there are so many things going on in the body. It is important to stay focused, stay calm and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. With such a simple pose it is easy for the mind to wander, this is the perfect opportunity to train the body and the mind to be compassionate, persistent and patient with every irrelevant thought.

Additional benefits of this pose is focus, flexibility of the mind, compassion for yourself and others, and patience.

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Savasana (Corpse pose):

Intended to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. This pose is equally as challenging as Mountain pose if not more so. Laying still, with the Palms up towards the sky, and feet mat width a part – it is important focus on your breath in this pose and try to refrain from falling asleep. Be patient and persistent with irrelevant; devoted to finding a clear mind and relaxed body. Focus on the breath. The benefits of meditation and pranayama (breathing) is a long list.

Sirsasana (Headstand pose):

Slowly work your way up to headstand pose to enjoy its many benefits – my personal favorites on the list are stress relief, increased focus and increased strength of the core and neck, but there are plenty more.

Simply Chrissy: Are you teaching yoga classes or workshops right now?

 
 Tracy: Right now I’m teaching several yoga classes in Winnipeg and Rural Manitoba. My website is always up-to-date with classes and workshops that I will be holding:
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Here you can see Tracy teaching her yoga class 😀  (**Note This photo belongs to Tracy Tomchuck**)

Simply Chrissy:  How can people contact you with any additional questions?  

 Tracy: For people who would like to know more about classes, wellness, or more about me, I can be contacted via email at TracyTomchuk@hotmail.com

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I hope you all enjoyed the interview and gained some valuable nuggets about yoga, health and wellness that you can apply to your own life — such as the 3 yoga poses Tracy suggested to implement into your life.  Leave a comment below letting me know if you practice yoga, want to or even used to — what positive changes has it created in your life?

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Peace & Love ✌🏽🌿❤️,

– Chrissy

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Christy B says:

    A wonderful interview, Tracy and Chrissy! I enjoyed learning more about the poses and am a fellow Canadian gal so I’m cheering extra loud 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chrissy says:

      Thanks Christy, my fellow Canadian! 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 I’m glad you got some value from Tracy’s pose suggestions! 👍🏽 😀 Mission accomplished! And as always, thank you for leaving a great comment! 🙌
      🕉️ 🙏🏽

      Liked by 1 person

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