. . .on the rugged beauty of life.
My office is 14,385 kilometres from Tammy's, but we work together every day. I recently interviewed her using the information space that is the world wide web, as I had questions. Though I have known her for 8 years, I continue to learn from her and discover new ways of thinking about certain aspects of life, and of course, Yoga. What follows are Tammy's answers, enhanced by her beautiful photography.
You began visiting Buddhist temples and reading about spirituality long before you were drawn to Yoga. What was the impetus that connected the traditions for you?
My first teachers were the monks at the temples who led meditation and dharma talks. I was encouraged by them and my own spiritual studies to go further, deciding that Yoga was a path that would kick down the door within. Over a decade ago I enrolled in courses with Romano [of the Yoga Loft Windsor] and he spoke in a new language that emboldened me to go deeper.
For 10 years now you have been studying Yoga with Seane Corn, and have assisted her at workshops in recent years. Can you describe the impact she has had on your teachings and daily life?
Seane’s impact has been the largest influence on my teachings. She continuously reminds me to speak of Spirit in the classroom, but to make it inclusive to all. And with that, learning from her has allowed me to speak of my own stories and journey, and to incorporate them into the practice. Life isn’t always pretty, nor is the practice, but that’s life – the rugged beauty of life. That’s our story. That’s our discovery. That’s our path of discovering ourselves and what we are meant to learn on this earth.
Her course has also been my most profound Yoga teacher training. However, it was interesting that applicants had to already be a teacher and/or have an interest in going deeper as a prerequisite to take her course. It wasn’t about teaching the poses; we had to know of those aspects already. Seane's teachings reflected tapping into the depth of the practice, and to hold space for the students so they could dig deeper within. It was her that taught me that, and all of her teachings are endless, even to this day. Studying with Seane has helped me to recognize my own gifts within and to share them in all aspects of my own life.
What has been the most profound impression Yoga has had on your life?
Yoga’s most profound influence on my life has been the journey within and with Grace. It is in every step of my life, and if I fall off track (as we do because we are human), it is what I turn to always, and I know it is always there, within. Yoga has taught me about self-love and honouring life and myself. Seeing things with a softer viewpoint. Society can harden us; life experiences can turn us away from wonder. However, the practice and devotion to Grace keeps encouraging me to be open to a more gentle, kinder existence towards myself and others.
You are soon to attend another one of Rob Bell's events, The Holy Shift tour, and I know you continue to reference Everything is Spiritual after you met him on that tour in Chicago. In what way do you source from his teachings for your own, and how has he affected your life?
Rob Bell’s teachings have been another great impact on my practice. I look forward to every podcast he puts out, every talk, his books; his approach to his teachings can be taken into any realm. He is a trailblazer and smiles throughout, with knowledge and humour. We come from different backgrounds and philosophies, but for some reason I can clearly see how his viewpoints are in everyday life and in every spiritual text. He has a way of looking at the philosophies that have been passed down, no matter what text it may be, and to modernize it for today’s society.
I think I mostly enjoy watching his path evolve because he steps into places not many have, and has the steadfast courage to do so. I find that very inspiring and remarkable. His courage gives me courage.
How does being a photographer enrich the way you view the world?
My love of photography has been with me since I was young. I believe it was my brother who first inspired me, as I watched him create beautiful images. I wanted to see the world the way a photographer described it through their lens. Photographing is solely and completely these moments of awe for me. When I look through the lens and see the beauty of our planet, I am in the moment of gratitude, and always think to myself, “we get to walk around in this beautiful painting and call it our world – just magnificent!” And I am speechless each and every time. Photography is meditation in gratitude…. for me.
What is your most favourite place you have visited, and why?
California – just ask my husband. I think I bring up California at least once a week. I have a fondness for that area of the world. Driving along endless coastal roads, the vastness of the ocean. Seeing trees that have been there for hundreds of years, the stories of their growth. The turning and winding roads up to mountains and seeing sprawling cities. People just living their life in this epic landscape. I find it interesting that many who live in California are more progressive with health and holistic approaches and have been for many years, and we have felt their influences. You can feel it there; perhaps it is the sunshine that is the reminder of how lucky we are to walk on this beautiful earth. Once you go to California, that sunshine stays within you, and you never forget it!
From your library, can you share with us some of your most treasured titles or authors?
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Thich Nhat Hanh
P’arang Geri Larkin
Dr. Wayne Dyer
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
What I Know for Sure (articles) by Oprah Winfrey
A quote you cherish?
Dal centro dell mia vita venne una grande fontana… (From the center of my life, there came a great fountain…)
And finally, some words of encouragement for new Yoga Teachers, or for those considering a training and what they may discover about themselves through your teachings?
Taking the leap into Yoga Teacher Training is a courageous step. It will take you out of your comfort zone and bring you into so many wonderful discoveries of yourself. YTT is truly an inward journey and once you go on that sacred quest it has a way of cracking us open and wanting to share that with others to help them move towards higher versions of themselves, to know thyself – isn’t that what we are meant to do, to understand ourselves and one another? My hope is that within our YTT, participants will unveil the gifts that they have and have always had within them, and how important those gifts are needed in the world.
For Tammy's teaching schedule, please visit our Yoga for the Soul facebook page.