“I thought it was quite a normal thing that my mom did yoga,” says Terri McLeod “She was a really profound teacher for me in a lot of ways.”
Although she grew up with yoga, McLeod left yoga in her early 20s but came back to it in her late 20s. Her formal study of the art began in her mid 30s, but even so she doesn’t see herself as an authority on the matter.
“Egoistically, I know nothing,” said McLeod, who stressed that she isn’t a yoga master. For her, teaching is all about learning.
“Although it looks like I’m teaching yoga, I’m there doing yoga with them and my students are teaching me,” she said. Students show her how to modify poses and enable people to get the most out of yoga. McLeod’s classes use props to help people benefit from the postures.
But the physical aspect is really just the surface of the practise.
“It’s wonderful in a lot of ways that yoga is so popular these days,” McLeod told the Arrow Lakes News, but what yoga’s really about has been lost in translation in her eyes.
“It’s more than a physical pursuit,” she said. “Yoga is an ancient science, it’s an ancient philosophy about right livelihood.” That philosophy extends into how we treat others, what we eat, and how we pay attention to our existence.
“Everybody comes to the mat with their own agenda,” said McLeod, “but things loosen up in the body and emotions can come up. The yoga mat is a space to honour whatever comes up.” It is a space for paying attention to what is happening in every moment, something we often lose sight of, the yoga teacher pointed out.
Breathe, feel, watch, allow: these are the key elements of mindful experience that are practised in yoga, and yoga can be practised anywhere.
“Yoga’s standing at the sink washing dishes, yoga’s breathing when I’m in a confrontation with someone,” McLeod explained. “Yoga’s about being in the moment, watching it, allowing it.”
For McLeod, perfection is in every moment of the experience of living for each of us, not what looks like the perfect yoga pose.
“Life is for learning, imagine that: Oh and by the way, I am responsible for everything I think, feel, say and do,” said McLeod, who believes time on the mat is one moment, like many in life, that is an opportunity to learn to accept what we are.
Classes with the yoga teacher-learner will begin again in September.