October’s Yogi of The Month, is Pam Rader! I am inspired by all of the Yogis of the Month, I do chose them after all, but Pam is particularly special. I feel like Pam is a bit of a legend in the Okanagan Yoga community, she has
been teaching here for a long time and is very giving of her time and energy in the community. Pam is incredibly integral and encourages you to own your power and take control of your life, I am always inspired to be a better
person after a chat with Pam. Teaching out of her home studio be sure to create the chance to work with her!
1. What does yoga mean to you?
What Yoga means to me in my life has continually evolved, deepened over time, and continues to reveal itself little by little every moment. At the heart of it , yoga is a journey back to self, a remembering. We get so caught up in having more, doing more, being more and yoga reminds me that I am enough, I have enough and that the answers are not out there some where but at the very center of who I am. Yoga is a way to become more conscious of the greatness that already resides in each and every one of us.
2. When did you start yoga and how did that come to be?
I started doing yoga in 1999. Prior to that I was a fitness instructor and suffered a back injury that prevented me from doing my usual, high impact activities. As I was already in the fitness industry and loved teaching I took a
basic fitness based yoga teacher training and began my journey as a yoga teacher at The Women’s Place Fitness Group here in Kelowna. Even with limited knowledge and yoga experience my back began to heal and my life
began to heal. I became very curious and began learning all that I could about yoga.
3. Where and with whom did you study?
In my 14 years of teaching yoga I have trained with many amazing teachers all of whom have left an impression on me that shapes who I am today but my heart has always been with Baptiste Yoga. I sought out Baron Baptiste as my primary teacher and have trained directly with Baron in Mexico, Vancouver, Texas and Colorado and as a Certified Baptiste teacher I am in ongoing training with Baron and the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute.Shortly after I started teaching a student gave me a copy of Baron Baptiste’s book Journey Into Power. I read the first paragraph and could not put it down. Though I had enjoyed the asana and basic teachings of yoga up to that point, Baron’s book lit a fire in me! I felt as though he was speaking directly to me and I was truly, deeply inspired by both the physical side of the practice and the teachings of empowerment.
Originally it was definitely the physical aspect that drove my desire to practice. I loved the feeling of being completely wrung out at the end of a practice and the physical spaciousness that I felt going forward from my mat each day. As time went on I started to see the teachings of yoga showing up off of my mat, in my interactions with my family, friends and co-workers and began seeing the power of putting the incredible insight that yoga can give us access to into action. It is this insight into action that keeps me coming back to my mat daily. The idea that I can gain new insights into myself, others and the planet as a whole and then walk the talk is exciting to me. I guess some yogi’s would call it consciousness. As our vision clears and we become more conscious we begin to choose our way of being in a more powerful , productive and positive way.
5. What does yoga bring to your life?
Yoga brings accountability to my life. A chance every day to turn the light on myself and take responsibility for how I am showing up in my life and in the world. It grounds me and reminds me that I am the author, artist and co-creator of my life and that anything is possible when you come from an attitude of anything is possible.
6. How has your practice evolved?
My practice has evolved from being one of serving self to one of being of service. I came to yoga for the physical benefits, found whole life healing and now come to yoga to check in with how I can be of service in the world.. I use my practice as a time to get real with myself about who I am being in every relationship and in every situation. I now make my practice about something bigger than me. I am an avid supporter and fundraiser for Africa Yoga Project and Vinyasa Yoga for Youth and am always happy to support any efforts to bring us together as a community.
7. How might you and your life be different if you hadn’t found yoga?
I am almost certain that I would be a reactive, self pitying, insufferable know-it all!
(Thank you yoga!)
8. What’s your can’t do without favorite pose?
Currently my favorite pose is sleeping pigeon. I love the physical release but more so love the opportunity to reflect on how I am being in the pose. How we do one thing is how we do everything and sleeping pigeon almost always has some learning opportunities for me!
9. Tell us about an Asana that you struggle with?
I have always struggled with Backbends and particularly Wheel pose. What I have learned is that I must always move from my truth, not from my fear or my concern for looking good. This pose requires that I practice patience and I’ve had to go back to the basics and re-learn this pose a number of times to better understand it in my body. I am currently developing a better relationship with Urdva Dhanurasana!
I am inspired by people who live big , who give up their self limiting beliefs and shine their lights brightly and fearlessly in this world.. I am inspired by people who risk shaking up the status quo and step into their greatness. I am blessed to be surrounded by many inspiring people in my personal and professional life but a few that come to mind are Ryan Leier who is not only an amazing yoga teacher but the founder of Vinyasa Yoga for Youth, Erin Anderson who teaches badass Baptiste yoga and brings her passion to her undying support of Africa Yoga Project and last but not least my children all of whom have been great teachers in my life.
11. What tips can you offer beginning students for a safe practice?
Come out of your concern for looking good and be true to you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and looks like and don’t make it mean anything about you if your poses look different. Work from what is rather than what you wish it would be!
12. How about guidance for beginning teachers?
You don’t need more knowledge or tools or to hide behind your smartness. Show people who you are not what you know. Yoga is about authenticity and connection . Be authentic and connected!
13. What few steps can a yogi take to tremendously improve their practice?
Of course good alignment is key but I feel that what is even more powerful is to check in with how you are being in each and every pose and then ask yourself what can I give up right now to make space for possibility. Its never what you can add in but rather what you can give up that will help clear your vision to see the possibilities that are unfolding in front of you.
14.Where are you teaching now and how can we find out more about you?
I own and teach out of Shift Power Yoga, a residential yoga studio in West Kelowna. My website is www.shiftpoweryoga.com and I can be found on Facebook and Twitter @shiftpoweryoga.