[dropcap]Starting the New Year off with a very strong and dedicated Yogi Of The Month.[/dropcap] Barb Vermassen. Started yoga over 7 years ago and has such a passion for it!
I am amazed by Barbs passion and dedication to the practice of yoga. She takes her practice all over Kelowna finding new teachers, styles, and places to practice so keep an eye out for her the next time you’re in the studio! Barb has recently started to teach yoga herself and with all the knowledge and practice she has she will be an inspiring teacher definitely worth making it out to her class.
1. What does yoga mean to you?
To me, yoga is a therapeutic life practice. It is holistic medicine for the body, mind and soul. Practising yoga keeps my body and mind strong and flexible. It continually reminds me that I am greater than the thoughts in my mind and that I have so much to be grateful for.
2.When did you start yoga and how did that come to be?
I started yoga in the summer of 2005. A counsellor had recommended it and I saw an ad in the paper advertising “yoga to dance beats”. That was the beginning of a path that has profoundly changed and enhanced my life.
3. Have you had any teacher(s) in particular that helped you along your journey, if so what made them special?
I’ve had, and continue to be blessed, with many dedicated and inspiring teachers. I would like to acknowledge 2 very special teachers. Debbie McDougall was my first yoga teacher. She helped me establish a solid and strong
practice based in Ashtanga and taught me a lot about discipline. After many years dedicated to Ashtanga, I discovered another world of yoga through Dana Skoglund. Dana has been an absolute inspiration to me in so many ways and I feel honoured to call her my teacher. She has expanded my yoga horizons, as well as my asana practice, in ways I never dreamed possible. I am so grateful for what I have learned from these amazing teachers.
4. What kept you coming back to the mat and has that changed over time?
I can honestly say that from my very first yoga class, I was hooked. It has never been a chore for me to show up for a class. I am so passionate about this practice and it makes me feel so good that coming back to the mat is not only easy but impossible to avoid!
5. What does yoga bring to your life?
Joy, patience, strength, peace, fulfillment, tranquility, self love and self acceptance, communion with others, gratitude, contentment.
6. How has your practice evolved?
My asana practice started as a strict, regimented sequences of poses and has evolved into a more challenging and playful exploration of my capabilities; physically and mentally. I have come to love inversions, back bends and difficult poses that really push my personal boundaries. I have also embraced a dedicated meditation, and recently; pranayama practice, both of which have enriched my practice immensely.
8. what is your “can’t do without” favourite pose?
Handstands, headstands and wheel have become some of my favourite poses. Spending time in these poses has a profound effect on me. They are very challenging and highly rewarding.
9. Tell us about an asana you struggle with.
Baddhakonasana is my nemesis! I also remain limited in my hamstring flexibility so many postures don’t look as elegant as they could with my tight, bent legs : )
10. Who inspires you, on or off the mat, what keeps you going?
For better or worse, I am a highly motivated person. When I find something I am passionate about, it’s impossible to keep me away!
11. What tips can you offer beginning students for a safe practice?
12. Guidance for beginning teachers. What would you say to a new teacher?
My advice to any teacher is to practice what you preach! I believe the best teachers are those with a dedicated practice themselves. In order to teach poses to others, you must understand the poses in your own body.
Barb was born in South Africa and moved to Canada at the age of 7. She played competitive tennis and volleyball in her younger years and turned to outdoor sports such as hiking, trail running and skiing when she moved to
Kelowna in 1998.
Barb is married to her best friend and supporter; Grant, and is grateful every day for his presence in her life. Outside of yoga, she loves hiking & camping in the mountains; traveling the world (38 countries and counting);
She often wonders; did she find Yoga or did Yoga find her? Either way, yoga has had a profound impact on her life. From her first class in 2005, it was “love at first asana” and she’s been smitten ever since! At age 44, Barb’s practice and love of yoga continues. She has explored and studied numerous styles of yoga over the years including Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Maya, Kripalu and Vinyasa Yoga.nutrition & healthy living and gardening.
Barb feels privileged to have completed her 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training with Nicki Doane and to have learned and studied with many other renowned international teachers including Desiree Rumbagh, Seane Corne, Sianna Sherman, Baron Baptiste and Noah Maze. She is truly indebted to all her teachers and is currently pursuing yoga teaching opportunities in this next phase of her yoga journey. Her vision is to bring the many incredible joys and benefits of yoga to others. Barb can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org