Teacher Spotlight: Meet TJ
Teacher Spotlight: Meet TJ
If you've met TJ in the studio, then you already know her warm and friendly presence. And if you've taken her class, you’ve been challenged by her fiery, alignment-focused classes. Now, we’ll get to know a bit about TJ’s backstory, her thoughts on yoga and teaching, and more!
HY: How did you get into yoga? How long have you been practicing?
TJ: Short story: yoga was born into me.
Long story: I remember when I was 8, on a night when I couldn't sleep, repeating to myself "sleep" over and over until I drifted off. I was using mantra repetition to silence my mind, and lull me to sleep. That wasn't the first time I used mind/body connection to stabilize myself— I remember using mind/body connection to calm my godmother's dog way before I learned the power of mantra— but it is the first time I can remember my mind silenced.
As far as the physical practice of yoga, I started practicing in public at LA Fitness about 12 years ago.
HY: What's the biggest lesson you've learned from your practice?
TJ: I feel like all the lessons I've learned, all of the pivotal, life changing moments can be summarized with: Gratitude. Every injury— mental, emotional, physical— have left me with "THANK YOU".
Forgiveness of myself: THANK YOU. Strength of Self: THANK YOU. Recognition of Self: THANK YOU. A sense of self-worth: THANK YOU.
Thanks, yoga. High five! The thing about "yoga" is, it doesn't change. It's always Yoga. I'm the one who changes. I'm the one who get moody. Yoga is a stable, grounded, constant in my life. It's something I can fall into, out of, on, and through, but it's always there. Waiting to hold my hand while I learn life and myself.
HY: When (and how) did you find your home at Highland Yoga?
TJ: Wellllll, Its Elsie's fault. I am/was in awe of her. How she teaches, runs a business, and supports her community.
I tried to be super casual about it, "Oh hey, Elsie. How's it going... Whatever" but she's just an incredible Being. Then Tracy Sharp came into my life and game over. I just didn't want to practice anywhere else.
HY: What's your favorite thing about being a teacher? A student?
TJ: Teaching feels like sharing something cool. I get to learn about my body. I get to learn about myself, my life lessons, what's hard, what's easy— and then share it.
I love it. I love learning something new in myself or through my practice and then sharing it. Maybe it's helpful, maybe it's not, but I get the opportunity to offer what I have to offer. Maybe one person "picks it up" and uses it to make their life a little bit more doable.
To me, being a student gives me space for absence of thought. Nothing is better than that and nothing is harder than that.
HY: What's your favorite pose and why?
TJ: My favorite pose changes. I've got my favorites because they're doable for me and they feel gratuitous.
Then there are my favorite poses because they are confrontational. They are tough. They are work. They slowly become doable, but I've EARNED them. For me, that's Warrior 1, Warrior 3 or Floor Bow. Everytime I go for Floor Bow I want to rage. But eventually, through discipline, I become comfortable and confident in the pose.
Catch TJ on the schedule at Highland Yoga Virginia Highland and Grant Park! Visit our schedule page to learn more: www.highland-yoga.com/schedule