Friday, April 23, 2021

Interview with Anna Kichenside from Flamingo Yoga Maya

Two toy flamingos facing each other,
Their necks making a heart shape
Image: Lawrence Makoona

Priya: Where do you teach? Do your students comprise a specific population, and if yes, what is it?

Anna: I teach online yoga from the UK. I want to teach ‘normal yoga’ to ‘normal people’ by a ‘normal teacher' and by that I mean, I don't want to only teach power yoga for the power-driven, action-handstand-junkies, or teach yoga for runners, or pregnancy yoga.

A lot of people join yoga because they want to feel good in their bodies but are swamped by their day-to-day lives. They are ‘normal’ people like you and I. They may not be super-skinny with perfectly defined abs, or flipping into backbends. They possibly just want to bend over and touch their toes without feeling out of place or not good enough compared to what online platforms portray as yoga in the modern world. I teach Vinyasa and Yin yoga, to a lovely bunch of people who simply enjoy rolling out their mats and having a giggle as they practice with me.

Priya: Do you have a special style or manner of teaching that benefits the students who you teach? Tell me a little about how you teach.

Anna: Through my yoga teacher training we did deep transformational work where we covered what our ‘WHY’ is. It’s personal and different for everyone, but I describe your WHY as the driving force, which gets you up in the morning on the days where you really don’t feel like it. 

It’s the connection you have to your WHY which guides you through your yoga practice, on and off the mat, and guides you through life and troubling times. Your WHY, coupled with your breath, are two of the most powerful tools you have to guide you through life, which is why I love teaching about these two areas in my yoga classes. Each time we bring our hands back to heart center, we all come back to our individual WHY’s as we flow through the class.

Priya: Can you share an experience from a class or private session that stands out––perhaps a moment when you or your student learned something new about the practice?

Anna: A particular moment that stood out to me was during my Yin-Yang-Yoga classes, which I teach on Sundays. (This was before the pandemic, so I was teaching in a private studio).

At the beginning of class, we were discussing our WHY and how to find and connect to it.

“Why do you come to yoga?” I asked.
“To be flexible” was the answer most people said.

After ping-ponging the question and answer back-and-forth, people started to get it:

“I want to run around and play with my kids in the garden without being out of breath” one student said. The result was to be fit and flexible. The WHY was his kids.

I had another moment very similar –– at the beginning of class we were discussing our WHY's and I asked my students to come up and write their WHY's on the whiteboard I brought to class. After several minutes of deep thinking, everyone reluctantly came up to write on the whiteboard. We then set to practice and started to flow through our class. About thirty minutes into class, a student stopped flowing and walked over to the whiteboard and added/changed her WHY. This was perfect. This showed that she not only understood the concept of WHY, but that she was connected to it throughout her yoga practice that day. I couldn’t have asked for anything else, it was a perfect moment.

Priya: Do you plan to change or add some new element to your teaching, and if yes, what is it? How will it benefit your students?

AnnaCurrently, there are no plans to change or add any new elements. I teach group and 1:1 private classes, where within the private classes there is more room to dive deeper into our WHYs.

Anna Kichenside is a yoga teacher in the UK with a strong emphasis of asking her students to find their WHY. Connecting and celebrating your WHY is a fundamental part of yoga. According to Anna, “Your WHY becomes your intention for the class. Your intention becomes your driving force. And your driving force changes your life.”

Anna’s WHY is ‘to be strong and confident, on & off the mat’ and she shares her journey of yoga and transformational work, to inspire others. Her scoliosis led her to yoga, and her yoga led her to her WHY.

Anna is a massive believer in balance and enjoys the balance of strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. “My classes are relaxed and playful, keeping them fun and friendly for all. Enjoying a life lived in balance enables you to practice yoga and enjoy your cheesecake!” 
––– Anna Kichenside 
For more information see:

This post was edited by Patrice Priya Wagner, Managing Editor of Accessible Yoga blog and member of the Board of Directors.

° FOLLOW Accessible Yoga on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

° REGISTER here for our next conference.

° DONATE here to help us bring yoga to people who don't have access or have been underserved, such as people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, children with special needs, and anyone who doesn't feel comfortable in a regular yoga class.

No comments:

Post a Comment