Teacher Feature: Chelsea Winters

Chelsea Winters hails from Vail Colorado and will be guiding the 3rd annual Tropical Radiance Retreat February 25 - March 3 in Nicaragua at Apoyo Lodge and Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa.

I first met Chelsea in 2012. We were both training at the Yandara Yoga Institute in the Baja desert. She had such a radiant glow and contagious smile. Whenever I spotted her on the beach during our break, I always felt myself drawn to her sitting on the sand, soaking up the hot desert sun, gazing out to the Pacific. We weren't able to spend too much time together as I was in the 26 day training and she in the 16 so it's such a pleasure to announce that Chelsea will be hosting the Tropical Radiance Retreat at Apoyo Lodge and Yemaya in 2016.

Interested in attending the next Tropical Radiance Retreat? Get to know Chelsea more intimately in the Q&A below. 

1. Can you remember the first yoga class you ever took? If so, describe the experience.

The first yoga class I ever took was freshman year at my college gym at UNH.  It was during finals and I remember walking in stressed out and walking out feeling so much lighter.  The teacher used a singing bowl and chanted and made us OM and while I wasn't sure what it was all about, I knew it felt good!  

2. What made you want to pursue the practice of teaching yoga to others? 

After my first class I developed a fairly steady practice.  I loved the way it made me feel and I wanted to be able to share this feeling with others.  I decided it was time to deepen my yoga practice and in November of 2012 I completed my 200HR training and began teaching shortly after.  

3. What did you learn/take away from your first teacher training?

I certainly learned a lot about yoga in my training, not just the asanas but all of the limbs of yoga, but I mostly learned about myself.  I learned a sense of humility and presence, it really changed my entire perspective on life.

4. How has yoga changed your life? 

Yoga has reminded me to be present- to pause and breathe.  It has offered my body greater flexibility and strength and more than anything else, a sense of calm when it is needed. It has reminded me how to keep things into perspective, to be aware of what is truly happening in front of me and it continues to draw me back to the current moment rather than letting my mind drift too far into the future or the past.  It has changed the way I view other people and relationships, the nature surrounding me, the way I view my food and consumption - my entire life. 

5. What motivates you and inspires your teaching practice? 

A lot of things motivate and inspire my teaching practice... everything from nature, the weather and season, music, documentaries that I have watched, books that I read, other teachers and classes/workshops that I have attended.  Sometimes I have a class planned in my head and then something happens to me throughout the day that completely shifts my thinking and my whole class theme might change as a result of it.  

6. Describe your teaching style. What is your favourite style(s) to practice? 

My teaching style is a infusion of pranaflow meets Dharma Mittra.  I enjoy practicing in a free flowing vinyasa style but I also enjoy slowing things down so that I can explore and marinate in a pose to see what might come up. I strive to teach to all levels, offering newer yogis the support they need with safety, foundations and alignment and then also try to offer more advanced variations of each pose to keep seasoned yogis engaged.

7. If you play music during your classes, what is your favourite song to play currently? Do you have a playlist you'd like to share?

I really enjoy practicing to music.  I take a lot of time and thought when planning my playlists and try to incorporate songs that mimic the energy of the poses that we are focusing on as well as often ones that intertwine the theme of the class.  I tend to play a lot of DJ Drez as I love his sultry beats, I also play a lot of music that incorporates chanting and Sanskrit.  I like to use the music to enhance the practice rather than distract so I try to shy away from popular songs that my students might know well or already have memory associations with.

8. Are there any other trainings or courses you're passionate about pursuing in the future? 

I am one 100-hour module away from finishing my 500HR training with Yandara Yoga Institute so completing that in the next year is my first goal.  I completed my 400HR training in April of 2015.  After my 500HR training is complete, I will continue to pursue additional trainings and workshops as it's always good to keep things fresh.   I try to attend at least one substantial training per year.

9. List your 10 "must dos" on your Bucket list. 

This is hard to narrow down to 10 - I have so many things that I want to do, so many places that I want to see.  Teaching a yoga retreat in Nicaragua is certainly high on that list!  

10. Where do you envision yourself in five years? 

In 5 years I envision myself still living in Colorado with my husband Jordan and our dog Buka. I love living in the mountains.  I envision that I will be teaching yoga, perhaps even in a greater capacity and I trust that the rest of the details shall unfold as they were meant to. I would love to incorporate a bit more travel into my life as travel always opens the eyes to new perspective.

11. Favourite quote? 

"The past no longer exists, the future is not here yet - all we have is this moment."

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