Teacher Feature; Amanda O’Malley
Sometimes, yoga finds us in the most unlikely of places. Even when it comes to knock on our door, it can be difficult to meet it. For Amanda, It was a combination of a move out West and just the right budget that started her personal yoga journey. “I was 18 and living in Canmore,” she begins, “As a part-time waitress, Yoga was not in my budget. I bought a book by Richard Hittleman on Hatha Yoga from a vintage shop for $3, and that’s what really sparked the journey. Over the transition period into becoming a daily yogi, my practice saw many drop-in classes, community centers, fitness centers, and every DVD I could get a hold of.”
After some time of making the commitment of a daily practice, Amanda decided to take the next step and become a teacher. “I became a teacher for so many reasons.” she says. “I became a teacher so that I could spend more time with my daughter, (patience) so that I didn’t have to work the job I was doing at the time any longer, (patience) so that I could get on the right path, (patience) so that I could become self employed, and maybe one day end up somewhere hot down south sharing what I love to do. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave my job and pursue this, but the more I delayed this journey, the more I was pulled into it. I kept meeting people who would say things to me like “you should teach yoga”, “you have this energy you should share”, “you will do something that will help and heal others”. The Universe was speaking to me in so many voices, and when I was ready to listen, I enrolled in my first teacher training.”
Amanda began her teacher training in 2010, right at our very own Yoga Tree Studios. It was her way of experiencing more than one type of yoga style, and learn how they could make a difference in her life. “I was worried if I took another teacher training, I would only learn one style of yoga or not be influenced by other styles,” she says, “I think students need to experience a variety of classes to complete their practice. Its not only about going to Hot Yoga, or Vinyassa; everyone benefits from slowing down a bit or experimenting with their limitations. Variety is what I feel we need, so I want to be able to offer that to my students.”
In the same vein, she claims that Yoga Tree has been an incredible source of strength and inspiration. “Our community is amazing with so many wonderful and inspiring people,” says Amanda, “I have the opportunity to continue to be a student with my peers and learn from them, and there is so much variety under our roof. But it’s not just who I teach with; the biggest influence has been the students. This community has given me their friendship, support, and trust. I have made amazing friendships at Yoga Tree. I have become a versatile teacher. I want to be able to connect with everyone, or at least give each student what they need in their practice.”
Since Amanda maintains that we are always learning on our yogic journey, she has some very specific advice for all students, whether they are beginners or advanced practitioners. “I always tell my students to practice as if they were new, so they can see things in a new light,” she says, “When we see through a beginner’s eyes, we may find a new detail, or hear something that has never registered before. It’s easy to get into routine and create bad habits. Our practice is always evolving, so we are always beginners.Everything will come when it’s supposed to. Appreciate your journey; it’s a long and beautiful one that should be enjoyed every step (fall or stumble) along the way.”
Amanda has many favorite asanas, and each have their own influence on her practice. “I love legs up the wall (Viparita Karani), all of my inversions, and Pincha Myurasana. But a go-to pose I always find in my personal practice is Ardha Chandrasana into Ardha Chandra Chapasana. I love the alignment of this pose and the freedom I feel in it. Such an amazing hip opener, back bend, and quad opener! I love graceful poses that are feminine, but still strong like standing bow pose.”
Be sure to join Amanda for one of her sensational classes at our Midtown or Richmond Hill location!