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YAA Interview: Caron Waddy

April 3, 2012

1. Name: Caron Waddy

2. DOB: 15 May 1967

3. What style of yoga do you teach?
Ashtanga Vinyasa

4. Where do you teach?
At my studio, Yogaville, in Durbanville

5. How long have you been practicing yoga?
Ten glorious years

6. How long have you been teaching yoga?
About two years

7. Who have you trained with and where?
I have found absolute gems of teachers right here in Africa. My first teacher was an elderly and very wise Zimbabwean Iyengar master, the late Paddy Genner. Her depth of compassion won me over and I owe a lot to her. I did my Yoga Alliance teachers training with Jim Harrington. I continue to learn by attending weekly classes with Jim, Tamsin Sheehy and Mariah Betts, (all of Karmashala). In addition, I try to attend as many workshops and courses lead by a variety of great yogis who visit our country, including Patrick Creelman, Seane Corn, (Off the Mat), and Shimon Ben-Avi.

8. What lead you to teaching yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?
I am a qualified dance teacher and so this was a natural progression for me.

9. What do you love most about teaching?
I love witnessing the development of my students, be it physically, mentally or spiritually. After all these years of experiencing the benefits and gifts of yoga for myself, I am still blown away by how people are positively affected and healed with yoga.

10. Is there a focus in your teaching style?
I want my pupils to feel safe and to know that I am accessible to them. This opens the door to communication, whether they are sharing their fear of doing a particular asana or opening up about their bad day with me. Communication is everything.

11. What do you love most about yoga?
It teaches you that it is okay to serve yourself, to take time for you. I have learnt that by serving myself I have more to give to others. In the beginning I would leave class before Svanasana because my kids/husband/brother/dog needed me! Now I know that those last ten minutes will be the highlight of my entire practice. (Svanasana – easiest pose to do but hardest to master!).

12. What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga?
Dealing with grief and loss. Anyone who has experienced loss will know the stages; denial, pain, blame, guilt, loneliness etc . When my brother passed away 2 years ago, I promised myself that when a feeling arises, instead of turning to my old addictions and numbing up, I would go to my mat. I learnt what I needed by being on that mat, sometimes alone, other times when participating in a class, taking in my teacher’s healing energy and being surrounded by a supportive community. I learnt the importance of being present with my feelings instead of pushing them away.

13. What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga?
Do not underestimate your ability and keep trying out different styles and teachers until you find the right one. Yoga really is for everyone and it will meet you wherever you are.

14. Do you have a regular practice?
Yes. On a physical level a regular practice keeps my body strong and helps to avoid injuries. However, I try to vary the asanas to avoid repetitive strain injuries.

At the end of my practice I always include meditation and relaxation.

15. Favourite Asana?
These questions made me giggle because all I could think of was my worst asana! Funny how we do that. Plough, (Halasana), is my answer to all three of the next questions. I dislike it because as I take my legs over my head I can feel the lactic acid burning in my shoulders, neck, upper back and belly but as I breathe into the discomfort and I stay present with the knowledge that it will not last forever, the tightness dissipates. Before I know it, I have survived the challenge and once again yoga has proven that breathing, relaxation and focus is everything.

16. Any religious affiliations?
My studio is open to everyone and I continually encourage my yogis to look inward because the practice of yoga is all about the relationship with the self, so if religion comes into their practice then that is their choice – and a beautiful one at that. But my motto is that whatever happens on your mat, stays on your mat.

17. What are your other interests?
I am interested in making yoga more accessible to teenagers as stress-causing issues like poverty, AIDS, violence, drugs etc. take their toll on the mind, body and spirit. For this reason I am excited to be launching a program for teenagers called Yoga Remix. In class we will combine teachings on traditional yoga ethics, (e.g. non-violence, truthfulness, compassion), with fun-filled physical asanas, cool music and honest discussions relating to current affairs. Good ethics, exercise and a healthy spirit seem to have been lost on this generation and yoga encompasses all of that.

Okay, and when I am not thinking of the multitude of possibilities that yoga has, I enjoy hiking, hanging out with my kids and spending time in nature.

19. Any thank yous?
My teachers. My lovely yogis and yoginis. And to my sons for being super-quiet when I teach. And thank you, Nina.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ronel permalink
    April 3, 2012 11:28 am

    And thank YOU Caron for the wonderful classes everytime! and making every class special and different!! I can honestly say in the last year and half with you every class was an experience!!


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