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Meet the Yogamatters Yoga Teachers

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(Sophie, Chloe, Candice, Tanya and Emma at the Yogamatters Festival Day. Just missing Sarah!)

At Yogamatters, we’re fortunate to have 6 yoga teachers working at the Head Office in London! These individuals work on everything from product development to customer service, and play a huge role in ensuring that everything we do and all of our products work for teachers and students in the real world. At Yogamatters, yoga is not just about our products, but something that runs through every aspect of the business.

Meet the Yogamatters’ yoga teachers here:

Chloe Chivers, Marketing:

chloe-chivers-yogamatters

Tell us a little bit about your personal yoga journey?

I went to my first yoga class with a friend at a gym to find some much needed stress relief whilst writing my dissertation at uni. It’s embarrassing to say but I laughed so much. Looking back, I think it was just so strange for me to be in a place of silence and it was probably my way of dealing with the discomfort of that – it was the kind of laughter where you know you shouldn’t be laughing so it makes it worse! After graduating, I went to a yoga class at my local gym every week and used to leave before Savasana! I didn’t understand the practice and clearly thought I had better places to be than laying in Savasana…eventually I saw the spiritual side of the practice and loved it! I started practising at home with online channels and started to visit a studio where I found Jess (one of our models!) who I loved to practise with. From then, it just all unravelled: a job at Yogamatters came up and I joined the marketing team at YMHQ in 2015. Living and breathing yoga took my love for the practice to another level and eventually I found myself on a teacher training in 2018!

What made you want to become a yoga teacher?

I never wanted to become a yoga teacher actually. I started the training to develop my understanding of the practice and to learn more because it felt right and I loved it! It wasn’t until I started the training that I just wanted to share everything I learnt and give to others the beautiful gift of yoga. It all just fell into place from there.

What word best describes your yoga classes and way of teaching?

Fun, fluid and relaxed!

How has teaching yoga made an impact on your own practice and your life?

I have been teaching a year now and it has changed my life so much. My practice isn’t all about asana as I see yoga everywhere in my life: in how I treat others, my perspective and outlook. I have already evolved so much during my first year of teaching and I am starting to see what is true to me, to take everything I learnt during my training and make it my own. It is a life-long journey and I never want to stop learning and evolving.

What do you love about working in the YM office? 

As soon as I joined the team, it was a dream! It is acceptable to wear leggings to work, to sit on a bouncy ball instead of a chair, to light candles, incense and use room spray and to just be yourself. The office feels like home: to be part of a group of people who have all come together with a shared interest just feels great.

Where can we find your classes?

I live in Hertfordshire and teach at a few studios in Ware, Hertford, and Bishops Stortford, as well as a community centre once a week.

 

Tanya Ashfaq, Customer Service:

tanya-ashfaq-yogamatters

Tell us a little bit about your personal yoga journey?

I found the comfort of yoga in 2014 when I made my New Years bucket list!

I nourished the stillness and calming benefits it began to have on my London life. I did my 200 hour Vinyasa and Ashtanga teacher training in 2018 and recently completed a course in Mindfulness.

What made you want to become a yoga teacher?

To bring a deep sense of wellbeing that can translate into modern day life.

What word best describes your yoga classes and way of teaching?

Mindful.

How has teaching yoga made an impact on your own practice and your life?

I don’t get shaken too much. A lot of stressful things can be going on, but I’m always smiling! Yoga has become more than the physical poses, it’s now a lifestyle. Although I still am working on the vegan thing!

What do you love about working in the YM office?

I have only recently started and everyone has been so helpful. It’s a really collaborative team. And the office dogs yes…. they’re amazing!

Where can we find your classes?

I post my weekly schedule on Instagram and my website.

 

Emma Jefelt, Marketing:

emma-jefelt-yogamatters

Tell us a little bit about your personal yoga journey?

I tried yoga for the first time as a “cultural experience” when I was living in Nepal in the beginning of 2014. It was supposed to be a one time thing, but I got hooked and ended up going every day for the 3 months I lived in Kathmandu! After a couple of years, I decided to do my teacher training, so I could dive deeper into the practice I had fallen in love with. I travelled to Rishikesh in India to do my 200 hours course in October 2016, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself!

What made you want to become a yoga teacher?

I’d been practising for a couple of years and loved it, I lived in Australia and often took my mat outside, to the beach or the park, and a few times, people would come up to me and ask if I taught yoga anywhere. I’d never considered it, but definitely knew I wouldn’t want to teach anyone else before I’d done my training, and that was that!

What word best describes your yoga classes and way of teaching?

Informal. In my classes, it’s all right to laugh if the pose looks or feels ridiculous and to have fun with your practice; there’s time to both tune inwards and focus AND to have a giggle!

How has teaching yoga made an impact on your own practice and your life?

It has given me a lot of confidence and helped me tune in to a side of myself that I had no idea existed. In the beginning, it was hard to trust that I had something to offer others but with time, I’ve learned to love sharing my practice. And there’s no better feeling than when someone comes up to me after a class to let me know how the practice made them feel! Although I’m still a student as well as a teacher, I feel much more content and confident with giving to others now.

Teaching has changed the way I am – it’s made me more patient, humble and resilient in all areas of my life.

What do you love about working in the YM office?

So many things!! I love that, teacher or not, we all share a passion for yoga and a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I love that we balance the chocolate in the kitchen with our lunchtime runs, and the hot chips on Fridays with endless amounts of herbal tea. And I love that I get to bring my puppy to work of course!

Where can we find your classes?

I moved to London from Denmark in December and I haven’t taught since. I don’t know how long my little hiatus will last, but as much as I love teaching, it’s been a nice change of pace and right now I’m enjoying focusing on my own practice.

 

Sophie Safrazyan, Key Accounts:

sophie-safrazyan-yogamatters

Tell us a little bit about your personal yoga journey?

My yoga journey started around 10 years ago at The Yoga Rooms in Chorlton, which is a lovely little studio. I started yoga because I wanted to find a way to get out of my head and into my body. I also had a strong desire to learn more about yogic philosophy and spiritual teachings, so I could apply this to my life.

What made you want to become a yoga teacher?

Yoga has helped me to see things more clearly, to connect to my true self and to live my life in a much healthier and spiritual way. I have always wanted to create a positive impact in the world and help others. As my practice developed, I started to want to share the benefits with others, so I took the plunge, left my job at the time and travelled to India in October 2016 to do my training!

What word best describes your yoga classes and way of teaching?

Calm and supportive. I want everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a level of challenge, but everything flows slowly.

How has teaching yoga made an impact on your own practice and your life?

Teaching opened a whole world of incredible knowledge to me and I am an eternal student. Teaching helps me to remain focused on and off the mat and have an even greater appreciation for this wonderful practice.

What do you love about working in the YM office?

The fact that my whole world revolves around yoga! And also my team. I work with a fantastic bunch of people who all support each other every day.

Where can we find your classes?

Currently I’m not teaching any public classes. However, if anyone has any opportunities in north London, you can contact me at sophie@sophiesafrazyan.yoga

 

Candice Roberts, Product Developement:

candice-roberts-yogamatters

Tell us a little bit about your personal yoga journey?

I started my yoga journey in earnest about 6 years ago – however there is photographic evidence of me doing Simhasana (Lion’s Breath) topless when I was about 8 years old!

I came to yoga like so many others – at a time in my life when I was feeling very stressed at work. I was running on empty and working in a job where I had a lot of responsibility but little control; an anxiety-inducing state! So I started to attend regular yoga classes and I couldn’t believe the effect the practice had on my mental state: I would arrive to class anxious from the day’s events and then leave feeling in control and OK. I was hooked and from there, started to attend more classes and then retreats until I decided that I wanted to complete my teacher training.

As the ebb and flow of life would have it, a few days after I had signed up to my teacher training I developed pain in my shoulder – which turned out to be osteoarthritis.  After months of hoping and praying that I would get better, I eventually had to take the decision to forego the training. I was devastated.  So, instead of travelling to Goa for my teacher training, I went to an Ayurvedic hospital in Kerala. This turned out to be an experience in itself!

It wasn’t until 2017, when I came across an authentic yoga school in Northern Thailand (Wise Living Yoga Academy), that I decided to give teacher training another go. I went to visit the founders and was so drawn to their energy that I basically signed up on the spot. Best decision I’ve ever made!

What made you want to become a yoga teacher?

I wanted to become a yoga teacher because of how practising yoga made me feel. I’d come out of a class totally calm and centred and I wanted to learn how to do that for myself and how to help people achieve that state too!

What word best describes your yoga classes and way of teaching?

The breath is the queen in all of my classes, so there’s a lot of focus on that. In terms of movement, I teach half flow-based asanas plus half static (still/longer holds) classes. I try to teach in a way that my students learn the tools to practise at home on their own. That’s my goal in teaching – helping people find yoga for themselves in their own time.

How has teaching yoga made an impact on your own practice and your life?

Teaching yoga has helped in making me more disciplined in my own self practice. I can’t teach authentically if I don’t teach from experience and in order to do that, I need to be dedicated and devoted to my sadhana.

I gain tremendous satisfaction from being able to share the little I know about yoga with others. People arrive to class stressed and tired from a day at work and an hour of yoga later, they’re floating and completely relaxed. It’s so simple but it’s magical.

What do you love about working in the YM office?

That I get to talk about yoga all day every day with a group of people who are equally passionate about spreading the practice of yoga to every inch of the planet!

Where can we find your classes?

The Jago, Dalston (440 Kingsland Road, E8, 4AA)

Every Tuesday;

6.30pm: Slow & Gentle Yoga

7.45pm: Yoga

 

Sarah Dean, Marketing:

yogamatters-yoga-teacher

Tell us a little bit about your personal yoga journey?

I found yoga more consistently in my mid twenties, having danced a lot when I was younger, I had been recommended to try vinyasa classes. When life and work was feeling quite busy and stressful, I noticed that exercise really helped me to clear my mind and nothing could beat the feeling of complete relaxation and release that I felt in Savasana at the end of my yoga classes. At that point I realised it was something to start taking far more seriously, I’d found a way to naturally help me wind down from work and sleep better at night. After many more years of working in an office job in a pretty stressful environment, I decided I wanted to explore yoga in more depth and enrolled on a 200 hour ashtanga vinyasa teacher training course in London. Since then I have continued my journey studying towards my 500 hours in London, travelling to India to explore where it all began and also qualifying to teach yin.

What made you want to become a yoga teacher?

When I began my teacher training, my intention was to learn more about it rather than become a teacher, but by the end of the course I couldn’t resist the feeling that I wanted to help others discover something which has helped me so much. I realised I wanted to achieve more balance with my working life and also find a way to help others.

What word best describes your yoga classes and way of teaching?

Definitely accessible to all. I take a lot of care to everyone in my class feels included and catered for. It’s really important to me that my students learn to be kind to themselves and just do what feels right for them and their body on that particular day.

How has teaching yoga made an impact on your own practice and your life?

I always say my yoga teacher training was like 6 months of therapy, it helped me that much! I have observed huge benefits to my mental and physical well-being through yoga and will continue to use it as a tool for the rest of my life. Going out into the world and teaching is a great confidence builder and allows you to meet and connect with so many other wonderful, like-minded people.

What do you love about working in the YM office?

The offices are lovely! Full of friendly people and their gorgeous pet dogs, which makes for a really nice working environment.

Where can we find your classes?

I am currently pregnant and not teaching for the short term future. I hope to be back teaching at the Market Yoga classes I started in Tooting, southwest London, early next year. Tooting has some really cool indoor markets and my classes take place in the market when it is closed, surrounded by really creative street art and under the fairy lights.

 

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