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Cheryl Sidwell

How did you begin your yoga practice? I began practicing yoga in my 20's. I was studying philosophy and world religion and became intrigued by yoga. I had no money or studio membership or even a yoga mat. I also had no health insurance and suffered from chronic myofascial pain, so I was exploring all the ways I could STAY healthy and drug-free. I had a book on Hatha yoga and I practiced every single day on my living room floor. I'll be 50 next year!

Why do you practice yoga? I practice yoga for "all the things". I practice every morning to wake up my body so I feel better. I end with breath and meditation practices to clear my mind and connect me with my Highest Self. It's definitely a practice I have to keep coming back to in order to feel centered and focused and aware. It's so easy to get knocked off balance by events in the world around us we cannot control. Yoga keeps me centered.

Where did you receive your training? When were you certified? I actually did two 200-hour trainings: the first through AFPA, a fitness organization, to see if I wanted to teach. I was already very familiar with the spiritual and energetic side of yoga and I was already a dance teacher. My 2nd training was with Marianne Wells School of Yoga in 2013. I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved with yoga therapy, as I could see the benefits yoga offers to people with chronic pain and limited mobility. I did my 500 hour training with Joseph LePage's Integrative Yoga Therapy at Kripalu and went on to complete my 800 hours in Yoga Therapy at Kripalu. I am currently 1000 C-IAYT certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Why do you teach yoga? I teach yoga because I love to see how it transforms people. I love that connection. But mostly, I enjoy doing yoga therapy b/c I believe that's where the real work is - helping people move through pain and dis-ease to ease and balance.

What else do you do with your time? When I'm not doing yoga or dancing, I'm with my dog. I love the outdoors - we walk and hike. I also swim and kayak.

What is your favorite yoga pose and why? Whatever one I need in the moment! The restorative version of Supta Baddha Konasana is one of my favorites, but I also love Adho Mukha Svanasana because it stretches my back and my legs, which are always tight!

How would you describe your classes? Accessible. I love teaching new students, older students, people who think they can't do yoga or who would never walk into a yoga studio. I lean towards gentle, restorative and therapeutic yoga styles, but that doesn't mean I can't teach a powerful Vinyasa class. When I do teach more advanced students, my style is slow and strong and I like to introduce more advanced concepts of mudra, mantra, pranayama techniques, bandhas etc...As I've learned through my own trainings, the more I learn about yoga, the more I realize there is to know! 

Is there anything else you'd like to tell your students? This practice is so expansive! Don't limit yourself! And don't feel like you have to be perfect! Be present with the body you are in, and your current state of mind and work from there. Also, forgive yourself. The time for yoga is now.