Wendy Orrison — yoga instructor, studio owner

Yoga is a holistic experience for many — mind, body, spirit. But did one element or another first draw you to the practice? That is, were you seeking to settle your mind? Have greater physical flexibility? Explore your true, spiritual nature?

I sought out yoga for my body — as I was aging I needed more flexibility and stretching in my exercise routines

How about now: does yoga feed your mind or your body or your spirit more, or are those elements more in balance than when you started?

now, I realize that yoga feeds my mind and spirit as much as my body and I relish the overall sensations and balance

How long did you practice yoga before you started teaching it?

about 5 years

When you’re teaching regularly, can you lead classes too often? How many times a week, and a day, might be too much?

teaching yoga is tiring and to be the best teacher I can be, I must limit how much I teach — 1 or 2 classes a day are best for my psyche

I understand you used to practice Power Yoga and now focus on Yoga for Everybody. When you were practicing Power Yoga, what came easiest and what was more challenging?

I was teaching yoga to college students when I began — they wanted (I thought) a very physical practice and they wanted challenging poses — as I matured in my yoga practice I realized that teaching them pranayama was more important — it was a hard shift but I’m glad I took the hard route for the students — as I I got better at teaching breath and slower movements, I got a better response from the students — at 20 they already have enough physical demands and movement but few know the power of breathwork

From your experience as a teacher of Yoga for Everybody, can you generalize about what comes easiest for beginners and what is more challenging?

balance is often what brings the clients into the Yoga for Everybody class — as they learn Warrior and hip openers and they begin to lengthen their calf they find the balance — arm strength is very hard — easiest are the movements they do daily Warrior 1, lunge sagittal plane — opening the side body brings about nice change — sitting on the floor is hard for many new yogis — moving with the breath is hard for beginners — they rush the poses unaware how to match it to their breath

What are the more difficult yoga poses for beginners to execute?

Downward Facing Dog is the hardest pose for most beginners — Chatarange and arm strength, properly executing sphynx for older clients

What have been the greatest benefits of yoga for you?

calmer — more present, willing to forgive and forget — yes, better sleep

Apart from yoga, do you practice other techniques of mindfulness or meditation?


Your classes are described as “musically eclectic.” Will you share two song titles that demonstrate that?

ha ha — that would be my barre classes, I think, not my yoga — barre is done in time with the music — two fun barre songs are “America’s Sweetheart” by Elle King and “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye

for Yoga — in Happy Hour I use songs like “Wish You Were Here” by Bliss, “Makambo” by Geoffrey Oryema, and “Easy in the Early” by Uncle Earl (a great spiritual!)

Outside of a yoga session, do you ever just strike a pose and stretch?

all the time — on a paddle board, before and after riding my horse — after dancing — I can’t get through a day without joyful movement

If I gave you an expenses-paid yoga retreat, where would you go?

awesome, let’s go! — any of the Blue Zones — Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Icaria, Greece; and Loma Linda, California

—interview © Marshal Zeringue