Teacher Interview #13: Tasha
Meet Tasha. The now Yoga Instructor. The All-Star for 3 months, joined us as a community member and a sober yogi in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic back in July 2020. During that time, she was able to maintain her practice shifting locations between Nigeria, The US, Turkey, & South Africa.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic Tasha had lost her job and moved back to her home town. However, the silver lining was that she finally took the plunge and did her Yoga Teacher Traning and became a certified 200hr yoga instructor. Quickly she found a place here in the MLPC as a yoga teacher and started offering a free karma Slow Flow class as a way to give back to the community.
Accompanied by her cute dog lulo, Tasha now teaches (with amazing music) Gentle Flow and Slow Flow for both Sober Girls Yoga and the MLPC. Her way of teaching is balanced between strength and ease. To get to know her even more, I asked Tasha our Teacher Interview blog questions.
Here’s what she shared...
Where in the world are you? Tell us more about yourself?
Tasha: Well... I am currently spending time in South Africa! I had been teaching in K-12 schools internationally, living in Nigeria and before that Colombia, but had returned home to Minneapolis in the US due to the COVID-19 pandemic- which is where you most likely have seen me teaching yoga! With my work I have been able to travel to some incredible places and love exploring communities around the world. I have loved how yoga has allowed me to connect with people all around the world- I've practiced in studios from South America to Asia as well as been able to stay connected virtually over the past few months with the MLPC! In addition to yoga, I love cooking and sharing meals with friends and family, cuddling with my puppy, Lulo, spending time in nature, and going to events like concerts and the beloved MN State Fair!
How long have you been teaching yoga and what pushed you to become an instructor?
Tasha: I just recently started teaching yoga in November 2020 after completing my teacher training in October! Honestly, it wasn’t something I had been expecting to do, but after leaving a job at the end of September, I was eager to dive into a new project and I was able to complete a yoga teacher training virtually while I was spending time in Turkey! After a year of instability in many ways I was driven to become an instructor in order to share with others the practice that kept me both grounded and open minded during a chaotic period. I love how teaching yoga really embraces the idea of "teacher as student" and the opportunities to continue to grow as an instructor.
When did you start practicing yoga (before you started teaching) and how did yoga change your life?
Tasha: I tried yoga a few times when I was in high school but didn't really start practicing until I was in college. Initially I approached yoga from a fitness perspective, practicing at the fitness club I was a member at. I'm sure that these experiences started subconsciously planting seeds to feed into the many other benefits of yoga before I even realized. When I moved to Colombia, I joined a yoga studio that was really special to me because it helped me feel connected to the community. I was able to experiment with many styles of yoga and learned more about the other aspects of the practice beyond the asanas. At this time in my life yoga felt like a refuge that I would look forward to after a stressful day teaching or to intentionally begin the weekend with a calm mindset. I could see how a dedication to the practice both served me to feel connected with myself and how it has a ripple effect to feel connected to the world around me.
If you had to describe your teaching style, how would you?
Tasha: I really try to give a well-rounded class by inviting students to explore themes and concepts from yoga philosophy by building awareness in our mind, body, and breath. My goal is to help students build awareness within their practice so I offer cues and suggestions that I hope will resonate both on and off of the mat. I like to keep it real and incorporate my own personality into my teaching and build classes that are intentional in the themes and sequences that are explored. You can also expect to hear some of my favorite tunes throughout the class!
“I was driven to become an instructor in order to share with others the practice that kept me both grounded and open minded during a chaotic period. I love how teaching yoga really embraces the idea of "teacher as student" and the opportunities to continue to grow as an instructor.”
What is the intention you try to instill in your students?
Tasha: The intention that I learned from my yoga teacher, Alex, is that our yoga practice serves and benefits all beings really encapsulates the whole purpose of yoga to me. Each class I might explore a specific theme or address a certain area of the body, yet on top of that the point I think is that by taking the energy to practice yoga and what we learn and experience on the mat, we are doing the work within ourselves that has a ripple effect that radiates peace and positivity.
What is your favorite posture? Your least favorite posture?
Tasha: This question is always hard for me! Right now, my favorite shape is pidgeon. I love how deep of a stretch you get while also being able to really relax. On the other hand, I definitely get grumbly being invited to get into a headstand... which I know means that I need to practice it more to build strength and confidence there!
What is your favorite Mat? And why?
Tasha: I haven't tried out a ton of mats, but for the past few years I have been using Jade Yoga mats and LOVE them. My typical set up is with the Jade Travel Mat and the Jade Mysore Rug on top. The travel mat has a great texture that is sticky enough to prevent any slipping without feeling sticky and is lightweight and folds up nicely for travel (and doesn't add too much weight to my usually overweight bags!). At home I stack the mysore rug on top of the mat because I like the extra cushion, texture, and the extra length that it provides. The rug is also awesome for practicing on it's own in nature on grass or sand compared to a traditional mat.
“At this time in my life yoga felt like a refuge that I would look forward to after a stressful day teaching or to intentionally begin the weekend with a calm mindset. I could see how a dedication to the practice both served me to feel connected with myself and how it has a ripple effect to feel connected to the world around me.”
Set the scene for your perfect practice - paint us a picture!
Tasha: I love being in an environment that is peaceful, clean, and with limited distractions! This could be in a studio, on the beach, or at home. My perfect class has a nice balance of challenge and relaxation- and where I feel supported to either push myself further or sink into a childs pose. I feel most engaged when teachers introduce a theme and leave me with something to consider. Ideally, I feel most comfortable when I am able to practice with an instructor that I know and trust. Also, I can't wait for some savasana adjustments/massages when I am able to practice in a studio again.
What’s the biggest myth about yoga instructors? Set the record straight!
Tasha: I think for me, I thought for a long time that I wasn't prepared to be a yoga instructor yet since I haven't mastered certain shapes or didn't feel like I was strong enough. The more that I dedicated myself to my practice, I gained confidence and awareness in my body and now view these limitations as areas of potential growth. I accept that I can be a yoga instructor and also skip some chaturangas.
Any advice to newbies teachers/students? (And oldies?)
Tasha: Like anything in life, you can get back what you put into yoga. There are many ways to dive deep into the practice and the rewards are just as vast- so find what it is that resonates with you and allow yourself to have fun and explore!
Where do you see yoga in the next five years?
Tasha: I'd love to see yoga communities become more diverse (in terms of race, body types, socio-economic status, etc.). There are many ways to practice and it would be great to see this diversity represented within studios. I hope that yoga spaces have an increased sense of community. I'd also like to see studios and practitioners embracing the roots of yoga and striving for inclusivity.
Thank you Tasha and welcome to the team! Click the link and check the schedule to book your classes with Tasha
Follow Tasha’s Instagram account @tash.ackerman. Feel free to leave a comment or a question for Her in the comment section below.
See you next time, may you all be safe, happy, healthy, and free.