Yogaclicks Ambassador Spotlight: Zephyr Wildman, Yoga Teacher, Central & West London
Yoga teacher Zephyr Wildman has a huge heart. In this interview with author Lucy Edge she shares her experience of life and loss with love and generosity. Find out what inspires her, what happens when she is alone in the car, and what she does in the loo before every yoga class!
A moving & inspiring interview.
Q: What motivated you to become a yoga teacher?
A: Yoga has been around me since I was young. However, as a teenager and young adult, I rebelled and wanted to take a traditional path and study medicine. During that period of study, age 19, I found myself unable to walk. I was diagnosed with a so-called “talocalcaneal coalition,” which basically meant my heel and ankle joint melted together. It was caused by hyper-mobility in my joints. The doctors and the surgeons couldn’t guarantee me that I would live without pain. I sat, defeated, total surrendered to my life as it was at that moment. And then a little voice in my head said, “Go back to yoga”. So I found a local community class and started.
It was the most painful, emotional, and physically demanding, thing I could do. But I soon found that the pain in my feet was diminishing, my sense of self was empowered and I started living again. From that point on studying for me was studying yoga; I became an official yoga student!
It was some time into my studies and practice that one of my yoga teachers, Louise Grime, asked if I could cover one of her classes while she was away. I was so nervous yet honoured that she asked me so I put my fears aside. I did it and loved it. She pointed me to the first Yogacampus Teacher Training and I enrolled.
Time and time again I find being a yoga teacher satisfies my desire to share my enthusiasm, interests and the fruits of my yoga practice with others. Sharing the knowledge that I have picked up along the way. As the saying goes, “when one person teaches, two people learn.”
Q: Who is your most important yoga teacher and why?
A: Rod Stryker, Parayoga. Richard Freeman, Ashtanga. Doug Keller, Yoga Therapeutics. Tara Brach, Buddhist Psychology.
As a student of yoga, I have been blessed with the guidance and wisdom of inspiring teachers who have studied yogic philosophy and techniques for decades. The teacher-student relationship is sacred and for millennia has been the thread that has nurtured, enhanced and created continuity of the yoga community. I feel very grateful to my teachers and use the knowledge they pass on to enrich my life and the lives of my students.
These people have all been so influential in my life and I think there are so many aspects of life that yogic philosophy can speak to. Each of these individuals have challenged me and opened my heart and spirit to the path I am traveling. It feels so good to have teachers present through the journey and a tradition to help nurture and pass on.
Q. What advice would you give someone who is not sure yoga is for them?
A. The most advanced yoga has nothing to do with being a gymnast or contortionist. It is about abiding within yourself as your Self in profound stillness that opens you to the consciousness that is awake within everything. As a yogi, we are all working to find stillness. It is in fact the definition of Yoga (contrary to the popular belief of many of my contortionist colleagues).
The whole reason the modern day yoga movement is such a popular movement is because when we get the message, when we (sometimes just for a fleeting second) lose ourselves and enter the presence of the moment, it tends to feel really, really good and we look for it again. When we find the presence, we can navigate the rest of our day and take the lessons from that experience with us. This practice of yoga builds physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resilience to the complexity of our lives. Then we can find stillness within life’s greatest challenges and we learn how to navigate with more kindness, compassion and knowledge.
Yoga is for everyone whatever shape, gender, illness, ailment or creed. Yoga is an art and science of disciplining the body, mind and breath, seeking boundless freedom from suffering.
Q. Do you have any pre-class rituals?
A: I always pray before class. I find the best place is on the loo! I sit, open my hands and say:
“I hand my will and my life over to you (my higher power), to do your will for me, not my own. I bravely face every moment honouring myself. Seeking joy, connection, contentment and love, to ultimately celebrate a faith filled, fearless, awakened life.
I go into every experience fearlessly connecting to my unique power and experienced wisdom with quiet confidence, self-belief and intimately sharing the beauty of me. Everyday I honour the best of myself. I open myself to receive those teachings that reveal the light of knowledge in me.”
This is so I (my ego’s will) gets out of the way and I use myself as a conduit for the teaching to be shared.
Q: Name 3 things that are always in your yoga bag.
A: 1) My mala beads as it is essential to any yoga practice to finish with Meditation. I do Japa of my Mantra and the Guru Mantra practice prescribed by my teacher.
2) My second is my yoga mat. One that I have used for years and is my trusty companion which I have soaked many hours and energy into. It supports, holds and connects me to my practices.
3) My last is aromatherapy. I have a selection of smells in which I use, be-spoking each time I practice. I smell each one and instinctively choose the essence I want to practice with. I find it helps create a tone, a mood and a deeper opening to the practice for me.
Q: What do you dream about?
A: After my teacher, Rod Stryker, taught us a week long training on the science of Yoga Nidra (Yogic Awakened Sleep) I have found myself able to awaken in my dreams. To continue the dream, knowing I am dreaming and remaining in a dream state to explore. I used to do this a lot as a child and loved manipulating my dreams to have incredible adventures. I lost the focus to do this for many years, but have regained my curiosity since working with my teacher. My dream awakening can range from the mundane to evolutionary upgrades in wishful transformation!
My recent mundane dream was waking up in my dream at the airport without my luggage and passport. So I directed the anxiety to find my luggage and board the flight, which I did. Resolve!
A perplexing recent dream was one in which I was in my bedroom sleeping. I was struck by a bolt of lightening, full of a high pitched sound that entered through my forehead and through my body alighting a constellation of light, sound and sensation. I awoke realising I was asleep. I calmed my fear and received this transmission within my dream. A woman’s voice was whispering instructions. However the frequency of sound was not one I was able to hear. The sensation grew to such an extent I started to worry I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I began to think that maybe I was being electrocuted in my sleep, so I decided to wake myself up. Immediately, I regretted my choice as I realised I was fine, in bed, just as seen in my dream. Sadly, to report, I am still me, same intelligence and no special powers, just interesting playtime during dream state sleep!
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A. I have a few things that I am working on for 2019. I have collaborated with Silatha to offer 21 Meditations on Embracing Grief for their app. This is very dear to me as it gives me an opportunity to share the practices I used to support me during my times of loss. I feel a need to extend these teachings of meditation to others - tending to the pain and suffering that is created when we experience loss.
I am offering 5 Yoga Adventure Retreats in 2019 combining the practice of yoga, meditation as well as with cycling, hiking, skiing and more. I am really driven to give more people an experience that yoga and meditation can support our lives even on holiday - enabling us to create a full and rich awakening to life as it unfolds wherever we are!
I am sharing, via Yogacampus teacher trainings, Yoga Anatomy and Biomechanics. These courses are for students and yoga teachers who want to improve their use of language in their classes, understand basic anatomy, bio-mechanical movements and health benefits to enhance the living tradition of Eastern Yoga in the modern world.
I am working with Ourmala as an Ambassador to share their work in supporting our community of registered refugees and asylum seekers to heal, integrate and thrive in their new lives here in the UK.
One of the more exciting personal things I am working on is studying for and preparing for a pilgrimage I have always wanted to take since becoming a yogi. In February 2019 I will be traveling to the Himalayan Institute in Allahabad, India to celebrate (with 40 million other festival goers) Kumbh Mela, the ancient Hindu pilgrimage and festival held every twelve years along the banks of the Ganges. Brushing up on my Hindu lore and studying the different akhara (sects) of sadhus (Hindu Holy men) is a fascinating glimpse into an ancient culture.
Q: What is your favourite thing about YogaClicks?
A. I love supporting people, companies and platforms that are empowering others in celebrating prosperity, yoga teachings and being a good human being. I find the YogaClicks yoga shop offers those creative yogis & yoginis the opportunity to support themselves in selling their yogic products and events. With the world being so divided and becoming more and more tribal, it is encouraging to see more of our community coming together to share ideas, information and technologies to inspire, support and heal.
Q. What’s your favourite film and why?
A. Dune by David Lynch. I saw it when I was a young teenager and was so captivated by altered consciousness, and the mental powers that we have the potential to tap into, and the calling to lead the suppressed and suffering in peaceful and inspiring ways. I am a sci-fi geek at heart.
Q. What songs do you sing when you’re in the car alone?
A. When I am in the car with my kids, there is usually some music on. However when I am alone I do a few other things in my car. First, I find it is the perfect time to pray out loud. I am ‘handsfree’ and I get to verbalise my intention. As Hafiz said in his famous poem, ‘every heart receives what it prays for.’ So, I find that verbalising my prayers gives them more energy/shakti and clarifies the stream of consciousness that tends to comes out!
The second thing I do is study my Mantra practices. I am learning the Sri Sukta Mantra as part of my preparation for Kumbha Mela 2019. And it is a long 16x verse mantra to memorise! I also chant the Gayatri, Maha Mrityunjaya and my Guru Mantra. I find that mantra helps protect my mind from ‘stinking thinking’ or trying to control the future, dwelling in the past or avoiding the moment. By chanting I take on the meaning of the mantra and infuse the moment with more intimacy and a celebration of the now.
Follow @zephyrwildman on Instagram and @Zephyr.Wildman on Facebook.
Check out https://zephyryoga.com/ for yoga classes and yoga retreats including Switzerland in January 2019 and August and Morocco in March.
is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.
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