By Ashley McGuirk
Every month Razz will be highlighting one of our amazing yoga instructors so that our community can grow closer to one another. This way our students can get a better idea of the instructor and the classes she/he offers on a weekly basis. Building a strong yoga community can be both beneficial to not only the students but to the business as well. The more we learn about one another the stronger our relationships become resulting in a community full of love and support. This week we’re highlighting yoga instructor Donna Simmons. Donna has been teaching yoga for over a year now and has completed four teacher trainings since 2017! Her teaching style has been described as peace driven, genuine and intentional. Her classes will guide you through the foundations of a classic hatha yoga flow ending in a beautiful shavasana. Below we have included our interview with Donna. Enjoy reading her journey as a yoga instructor and the classes she currently teaches as Razz Yoga.
Who are you?
Highlighting my past, I’m a former dancer and dance teacher. I studied tap, ballet, jazz, and modern dance and performed with college and professional modern dance companies. I am also a retired elementary school teacher having spent 30 years in the classroom teaching grades K through 3rd. These days, I’m the mom of a grown son and daughter and to my granddaughter who lives with me. I’m a yoga teacher.
Why did you become a yoga teacher?
I became a yoga teacher because I enjoyed the many benefits I gained from yoga and had the desire to share those benefits with others.
When, where, and which teacher trainings did you complete?
In 2017-2018, I completed a 200 hour Hatha Raja yoga teacher training under the direction of Gabrielle Sulc (Yogini Kali Om) at Razz Yoga. Enjoying the training so much and gaining so much from it, I decided to take Gabrielle’s Life of a Yogi (LOAY) 200-hour teacher training in Dharma Yoga at Haven at the Lake in 2019.
I also have 50 hours of Radiant Child Yoga trainings: RCY levels 1-3 and RCY for Children with ADHD/Autism.
Overall, how would you describe your most recent training?
The LOAY teacher training (like my first 200 hr. training) was all encompassing. We were immersed in many yoga practices and experiences. I was introduced to new practices and was also able to build upon prior knowledge and experiences. It was a beautiful time shared with a variety of knowledgeable, caring teachers and other trainees learning more about ourselves and deepening our yoga practices and of course, we learned to teach the yoga practices to others.
What classes do you teach at Razz and what do they offer?
I’ve been teaching Hatha Raja from 7:30- 8:30 pm on Monday evenings for the past year and I have just recently started to teach a Gentle Hatha class on Thursday mornings from 8-9 am. As shared with me by my students, my classes offer calm, clear guidance in the practice of the asanas (yoga postures) which help to increase strength, balance, and flexibility. Both classes also include pranayama (breathing exercises), dhyana (meditation) and (shavasana) deep relaxation which bring a sense of peace and well-being to the body and mind. Hatha Raja is a more challenging class than Gentle Hatha but I offer variations in both classes so Hatha Raja is suitable for most beginners and in Gentle Hatha those not new to yoga are invited to go into other variations of the postures if they desire. The goal is to reap the benefits of yoga while honoring our bodies in the moment and to realize we are engaged in a yoga “practice” and that we are all at different places in our practice and that’s okay. I’m grateful for the opportunity at Razz Yoga to share what I’ve learned with a welcoming and supportive community as I continue to learn and grow as a yoga teacher.
If you’re looking for a new class to try, feel free to browse our instructors and schedule on the Razz Yoga website. Click the menu tab, “About Us” and click, “Our Staff.” From there you can browse our yoga staff and pick a class that works best for you. Until next time, enjoy your week! Namaste.