teacher focus: Emma Henry

Emma’s yogic path has led her to Mysore, from practising Ashtanga with Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois and to advanced certification in the Jivamukti method with Sharon Gannon and David Life. Her classes are inspiring and uplifting an always include an inspiring soundtrack and lots of laughter.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

There are so many things that I would like to be remembered for but the most important trait and practice for me is being honest, real, not interested in pretending to be somebody else, a what you see is what you get kind of character and I hope that comes across in my love of teaching.

What top three things are on your bucket list?

I love traveling and I love wild life so a trip to the Galapagos has been high on my bucket list for a long time. I would really like to learn a new language which would be very helpful for all the travel I do with the retreats and training’s I’m involved with. I have a learn Spanish app on my phone which is currently gathering dust! I want to go to flying school, my best FRIEND did his pilot licence and bought a plane and every weekend went out flying so I would join him sometimes and it felt very freeing, seeing the world from a different perspective. Maybe one day soon I could physically fly a group of Spanish speakers to the Galapagos on a yoga retreat, watch this space.

What’s your favourite quote?

This quote is from my teacher Sharon Gannon who is gracing her magical, fairy like presence on the triyoga shores this September…

“Magic is a shift in perception” we all have the choice to see the path of life as mundane or magical and to spread a little magic wherever we go. To uplift situations all around. The practice of yoga is like this, you come out feeling magical, strong, bright and believing that anything is possible. There is a great teaching from The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: 4:15 vastu samye chitta bhedat tayoh vibhaktah panthah. Each individual person perceives the same object in a different way, according to their own state of mind and projections. Everything is empty from its own side and appears according to how you see it. Wow!

What do you attribute the biggest successes in your life to?

My teachers and students seeing my potential as I was extremely unconfident when I first started teaching yoga and performing in dance. My background of dance school was very much centred in the culture of beating down and telling one that they weren’t good enough. I couldn’t see my own potential, which is very sad. I see now that a lack of confidence is a real ego thing. This has helped to make me very compassionate with new teachers and it’s a teaching that I believe we should all be practicing, not to judge others and not to judge ourselves.

What one book would you recommend reading?

I recently got given Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah which is a novel by writer and pilot Richard Bach. It is a short simple read that has all my favourite things, spirituality, magic, illusions and being a pilot. Here is a little teaser quote “You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.”

Who would you most want to be on a desert island with?

I recently watched the Osho documentary Wild Wild Country and was horrified and charmed at the same time. What a magnetic character. Currently this is my desert island partner.

Where is your happy place?

My happy place is in the kitchen, cooking for loved ones. Because I travel so much that this is very grounding practice for me. There is a real alchemy to cooking and then to sit down with loved ones and to share food and stories makes me very happy.

If you could teach everyone in the world one concept, what concept would have the biggest impact on humanity?

Oooo, big question. It has to be about love. We all want love. So let’s do the best you can to provide it. The birds want love so feed them. The cows want love so don’t abuse them. The fish want love so don’t poison their habitat and the list goes on.

What life-altering things should every human ideally get to experience at least once in their lives?

Meditation. But not a one off, a regular meditation practice. I ask the question, how different would life be if everyone meditated regularly.

What two questions would you ask to get the most information about who a person truly is?

What job would you be terrible at?
What age do you wish you could permanently be?

When I ask these two questions of myself…. I would make a terrible butcher. The smell and texture of flesh makes my stomach turn. I went to a mock meat vegan restaurant recently and I couldn’t even handle the mock prawns! So now you know what not to cook for me at a dinner party.

I loved turning 40 in fact other than an aching body, I love growing older and I love meeting and hearing from people with life experience and I love practicing yoga with people who have been through the muck and difficulties and can shed light on how to deal with it.

How do you define consciousness?

Awareness. The space that comes from not listening to a story about ones self or projections. That you can see things without language or labelling, without preference or prejudice, without HIStory or HERstory. The state of yoga is defined as when you stop identifying to the movements or fluctuations of the mind.

What causes the most harm in the world, but is completely avoidable?

No brainer: A meat based diet.

Has social media been a net positive or a net negative for our society? Why?

Both. The problem with social media is that we love comparing our lives to others so it can feed feelings of inadequacy. As a rule, I stay away from social media if I’m not feeling so good about myself. But social media has been a great connector. The world seems so much smaller now and I feel very connected to the lives of my friends who are literally on the other side of the planet and through social media I have met more great like minded people.

To what extent do you shape your own destiny and how much is down to fate?

I’m one of these people who are terrible goal setters. I just can’t seem to look ahead. Maybe in the future I will look back and say, I should have made plans for…but so far it has landed me in this privileged position of teaching yoga. I didn’t plan to teach yoga. I was practicing and from that was asked to teach so I thought it was best to attend a training. Then I was asked to teach a training. Now I get to teach people who love the subject of yoga. This year I head to Costa Rica for the month of June to teach the Jivamukti teacher training so who knows where the journey will take me next.

Join Emma Henry at triyoga Shoreditch on 14th July for her workshop on back bends ‘Resolve and Evolve’. To find out more and book, please click here.

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