Teacher Interview #5: Priscilla
Meet Priscilla. An adventurer and animal lover. Originally from South Africa and currently based in Taiwan. She runs her own yoga studio as well as being a part time kindergarten teacher.
When Alex moved to Kuwait, she was looking for a yoga studio where she could maintain her practice and connect with like minded yoga teachers as an expat. A year later she finally found a yoga studio where she met Priscilla. Along with Hug, Rawan & Yasmine. With everyone living in a different part of the world now, the MLPC was a great platform to bring them all together and be part of the same team again.
Priscilla likes to teach gentle flow, power vinyasa and ashtanga. So, let’s get to know more of Priscilla as she answers the teacher blog questions for this week...
Where in the world are you? Tell us more about yourself?
Priscilla: I am in Taiwan. I am from South Africa originally, but I have fallen in love with the peaceful society in Taiwan since living here from 2002. In 2015 I left Taiwan to live in Kuwait for 2 years, then India and Nepal in 2017, and Hong Kong from 2018-2019, now I'm finally back to the tropical island that is Taiwan.
How long have you been teaching yoga and what pushed you to become an instructor?
Priscilla: I have been teaching since 2010, so it will be 10 years this year. I was inspired by the lifestyles of my teachers.
When did you start practicing yoga (before you started teaching) and how did yoga change your life?
Priscilla: I started practicing in 2009, so about 1 year before doing the Yoga Teacher Training. I started teaching right after I finished my training by teaching free classes to my friends from my home for about 3 months, and eventually I taught classes at the studio where I did my training.
If you had to describe your teaching style, how would you?
Priscilla: My teaching style keeps evolving as my own self-practice evolves and changes. Currently I like to encourage students to practice patience and compassion to their bodies and their limitations, so I'll often tell students to do a variation of a posture that feels right to them that day.
Leading a Class in Kuwait
What is the intention you try to instill in your students?
Priscilla: The concept of "Ahimsa" or non-harming. When we start with ourselves, we can later take this concept into the world to others and the whole universe.
What is your favorite posture? Your least favorite posture?
Priscilla: My favourite posture is "wild thing pose". I like how you have to enter into it by flipping a leg outside of your yoga mat, and then lift your heart up to the sky. It does feel a little wild to do it, so the name is very suitable! My least favourite pose is "chair pose"! I rarely do it myself in my own practice, but I know that the poses we tend to avoid, are actually the ones we need to practice more!
What is your favorite Mat? And why?
Priscilla: My favourite mat is the Lifeform mat because it's very sticky, yet it doesn't give you mat burns when doing jump-throughs or jump-backs in Ashtanga.
Set the scene for your perfect practice - paint us a picture!
Priscilla: My perfect practice is outside on a grassy area under some trees. I start with a slow and gentle warm-up that lasts about 10 mins before I start to flow into a tough, but fun vinyasa that includes arm balances and inversions. I end with some Kundalini and Pranayama before I do Savasana or sometimes, I end in meditation instead.
What’s the biggest myth about yoga instructors? Set the record straight!
Priscilla: We have it all together! We don't!
We are also still figuring things out, and working on ourselves! We are a little bit more aware of how our words and actions affect others, but it doesn't mean we don't make mistakes along the way. As long as we owe up to our mistakes, and apologise when appropriate, we can learn and move on.
What was one of your most heartfelt moments in teaching?
Priscilla: I had a yoga student in Hong Kong who regularly came to my yoga classes, 4-5 times a week. By the time I left Hong Kong, she was able to do almost all the arm balances I can do, and inversions. It was sad to say goodbye to her, but it felt so good as a teacher, to see someone exel because of their hard work, and because they took my teachings to heart!
Any advice to newbies teachers/students? (And oldies?)
Priscilla: To new teachers: Spend about 2-3 months teaching for free to your friends and family. To be honest, I will not pay money at a yoga studio to go to a new teacher's class, because there is not a lot of awareness yet of safety, or, worse, the class is super boring. I am just being very straight right now, without sugar coating it. I spent 3 months teaching for free, and I learned a lot in that time so that when I stepped into a studio, I had a better understanding of what to expect.
To old teachers: Don't forget what it feels like to be a new student, or not to be flexible. Give options to those students who cannot touch their toes or catch their feet! Same for backbends! Give modifications!!!
Where do you see yoga in the next five years?
Priscilla: I see a lot more yoga classes going online, and people developing their own practices at home. Then, I also see these people gathering for yoga retreats around the world! I think the MLPC is the way of the future! How awesome would it be if some of us who've been connecting via Zoom for so long, can one day meet in person for a retreat in Thailand or Bali, or maybe Taiwan?!
Thank you for stopping by! Catch Priscilla gentle flow by booking here. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this interview!
Until next time, may you all be safe, happy, healthy, and free.