Interview: Elsbeth Schokking

An Interview with Elsbeth Schokking

Tell me about your yoga background.

I started teaching two years ago after finishing the teacher training at Iam Yoga. I have been practicing for over 10 years though, and Iam Yoga was one of the first studios I ever tried. You can say it has always been a home for me and part of my community.

What are you working on right now in your practice and/or in your life?

Right now I am working on the language of teaching. I did a workshop earlier this year on trauma sensitive yoga and mental health sensitivity, and I really connected to the language aspect and being mindful of how your words are conveyed to people living with trauma or even just dealing with the general anxieties that come with living and working in the city. My day job requires me to manage some heavy issues like youth suicide and inter-generational trauma, so I’ve also found this focus on language to help me to be mindful in work life as well and to the experiences of my team and the communities we support.

What are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of myself for having finished the half marathon this year. It was my one resolution for 2018 and I stuck to a training plan and did it. I have to credit Charmaine for that though (fellow Iam teacher). I was having trouble getting started and she basically said to just do it. I tend to be hesitant to start something but once I do I’m fully committed. I guess I just needed a friendly push into the deep end to do it.

What is the most important thing that you want students to learn in your classes?

The most important thing I want students to learn in my class is to be present. Be present in the room – let go of anything happening outside the room because you committed to giving yourself this one hour, and it doesn’t serve you to spend it worrying about things that are not in your control for that hour. Be present in your space – it’s fine to look at people around you or me to make sure you have the right foot in front of the other, but don’t worry about the fact that your body or your posture may not look the exact same. I truly believe yoga is for every body, and that feeling of being completely connected to your breath and movement for most of the class (its impossible for your mind not to wander every once in a while), then that’s what I call finding a state of bliss. I hope my students can feel that and whatever it means to them at least once.

What is your spirit animal?

My spirit animal is the blue whale – the largest mammal on the planet absolutely amazes me. They are independent, sing out loud, and it’s a unique experience to see them.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?

One word to describe me – optimistic.