Victoria Sheridan is a yoga instructor, photographer, educator, and avid bread baker. You can find her at http://www.yogivictoria.com/, https://www.victoriasheridan.com/ and @the_yogivictoria on Instagram
“Lift your foot to your shoulder and place that foot behind your head,” said the yoga instructor as she calmly slid her foot behind her head as though it were a smooth magic trick. A laugh spontaneously erupted from my mouth as I considered the reality that my foot had no intention of going behind my head. I looked around the room as my fellow yogis struggled to pry their legs into upright extension and push their foot behind their head. It looked extremely uncomfortable and definitely not empowering.
I became a yoga instructor because every time I went to yoga classes the instructor didn’t look like me and they often performed unattainable poses. When we don’t have role models that resemble how we see ourselves, or are sympathetic to physical differences, then their instruction can be less accessible. This doesn’t mean that younger yoga instructors are not good teachers; and I know this because I practice with a wide age range of yogis and have benefited greatly by their expertise. Age alone does not make us better teachers; but,
I wanted to be a yoga instructor that inspired people in my age range and especially one that encouraged those with physical struggles. I wanted to be that silver haired confident woman conveying the power of yoga to her students whether you can put your foot behind your head or not.
Yoga came into my life initially as a modality to cope with stress and anxiety. Confronted with physical challenges yoga gave me a path toward reclaiming myself through body awareness, acceptance, and self-empowerment. You could probably say that yoga saved my life and has been a consistent support system that has never failed me. The more I practiced the more I realized yoga’s potential to empower people.
Eventually the universe aligned and I took the leap to earn my yoga instructor credentials. My journey in yoga hasn’t always been easy poses, fluid back bends, nor graceful dancer poses. I was often the only older person in the class and my tree pose was more Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree rather than a Hallmark Holiday Tree.
My greatest strength comes from my students. A student recently sent me this message, “I just wanted to share with you that you are my inspiration with all your energy. It’s never too late. I exercise every day now and I’m eating more fruits and vegetables. Thank you!”
As for that foot behind the head pose? I doubt I will ever get there; but, that’s not the path that yoga has chosen for me anyway.
My core values as a yoga instructor are what drive me forward every day.
- Show up every day. Be consistent – show up for yourself first and use that presence to empower others. Tap into the power of consistency to strengthen your soul.
- Acceptance – accept where you are at this moment as a solid foundation from which you will grow.
- Practice Self-Empowerment – the power of the self, both mentally and physically, will get you wherever you are meant to go.
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