Instructor Spotlight: Shayne

Hi everyone! My name is Shayne; I am a 4th year student at UBC, studying kinesiology and psychology. My unwavering passion for the practices of yoga and meditation have lead me to start teaching for the UBC Yoga Club, so I figured that I would write an introductory blog post, offering some insight into my life and yoga journey!

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As an undergraduate student, I am heavily involved in both academic and non-academic pursuits; over the years, I have worked as a NSERC research assistant in the Neural Control of Posture & Movement Lab, helped teach yoga to individuals with neurological impairment at ICORD, served as an Orientation Leader and Squad Leader for the School of Kinesiology, became a member of the 2017 Kin Games Team, served on the Kinesiology Grad Committee, volunteered in the Psychology of Exercise, Health, and Physical Activity laboratory, presented at Conferences such as the Student Leadership Conference and INDspire, participated in UBC REC Intramurals, taught yoga with Fast & Female, worked at PhysioWorksBC, served as a brand ambassador for Karma Athletics, and most recently, became the Founder and President for SisuGirls of UBC! (*sigh*) As you can see, life can get pretty busy! So, with a million things happening at once, how have I managed to find balance between academics, extracurriculars, social life, and health?

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Yoga is my constant source of grounding; it is my key to remaining calm and optimistic through times of chaos. My yoga journey began 6 years ago, when my grandmother bought me my first yoga DVD; I would set up a cheap, worn-out yoga mat in my basement, and practice for hours. There wasn’t enough space for me to stand up in this basement room, so naturally, I gravitated towards a more restorative, floor-based flow. Despite the obvious spatial limitations, I fell in love with the practice and, over time, began to observe subtle and beautiful shifts in my mental state. Life was more vibrant; daily tasks were more mindful; I was more patient, resilient, and filled with a sense of wonder and adoration for my body and its capabilities. 

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Finally, I decided to take my practice outside of the safe, four walls of my basement room. I started attending classes at Buddha Rider in Collingwood, Ontario, wherein I met some incredible yoga teachers who inspired me to build upon my restorative practice, incorporating more challenging poses and breathing techniques. Naturally, I fell heels over head in love (handstand joke). In the 6 years to follow, I have developed a practice that now incorporates all styles of yoga, ranging from Hatha and Yin, to Vinyasa and Kundalini. Yoga has provided the freedom to explore my body with heightened curiosity and awareness. It has become an opportunity to embrace aliveness, cultivate mindfulness, and develop an unwavering fascination for life as we know it.

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In August 2016, I partook in the Semperviva Yoga Teacher Training in Vancouver, BC. My decision to pursue a teacher training course was influenced by a desire to share my knowledge of the human body, enhance my sense of spirituality, and dive deeper into the mechanics, philosophy, and lifestyle of yoga. Thanks to my fantastic teachers, I completed my training with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. I was filled with excitement to begin sharing my passion for yoga with others. However, contrary to popular belief, it takes more than a 200 hour RYT course to become a self-assured yoga teacher; in fact, I clearly recall the excitement and nervousness that lead up to my teaching debut. Not only was I shaking from excitement and anticipation, but also from insecurity. A wave of doubt overwhelmed me before the class, as I questioned my ability to teach. “Am I really meant to teach yoga? Am I good enough?”

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5 months later, I can answer my own question: “Yes, in fact I am.” I have learned that there is no mould for becoming a yoga teacher; there is no prescription, no “correct” way of teaching. I have learned that making the transition from student to teacher involves time, dedication, creativity, and patience, as well as a total relinquishment of expectation and perfectionism. I still get nervous before teaching, but I no longer let feelings of inadequacy or insecurity consume me. I teach authentically, filled with gratitude for the opportunity to share my life views and passion for yoga with such receptive and caring students.

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Ultimately, I hope to pursue a career in physical therapy, specifically working with communities in northern, rural British Columbia. I foresee yoga as being a huge part of this goal, not only as a de-stressing tool through graduate school, but also as a complimentary method of treatment and healing for my future patients and clients. I am a strong advocate for the multifaceted benefits of yoga and mindfulness, and am confident that my life will be infused with these practices for all years to come.
If you have any questions about my story or experiences, feel free to contact me through email (shaynecaseyshaw@gmail.com), find me on social media (@mymicroadventures) or chat in person at one of my weekly classes: Mondays & Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30pm. Namaste!

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