INTERVIEW WITH: CINDY VELTRI
Can you tell us about your background?
As a teenager growing up in the maritimes, I dabbled in yoga. I followed Kareen Zebroff’s “Yoga and Nutrition” on TV, the only place yoga was offered in my little town. The practice always intrigued me. At 19, I was hired as a Flight Attendant with a major airline and they based me in Vancouver. In my early 20’s I entered the wellness industry as a fitness instructor, and in addition to flying, I was teaching up to 10 classes a week! I eventually married, had two incredible kids, and settled in White Rock.
What brought you to yoga?
I finally came back to yoga in my mid 40s, seeking peace of mind, freedom from emotional and physical pain.
My life at that time felt chaotic. A full time flight attendant, part time fitness instructor, caring for my 2 beautiful and very active young children, and our aging elderly parents. I was struggling with anxiety and depression and my body was sustaining injury’s from over use. I had been in 4 car accidents throughout my 20’s, and one left me with torn sacroiliac ligaments, resulting in low back and core weakness. Two pregnancies and difficult deliveries later, left me with excruciating low back pain.
My first yoga practice after so many years, was a returning home to my self. It was a sigh of relief and a breath of fresh air. It helped that I was guided by phenomenal yoga teachers. I practiced at my little studio in town every day I possibly could. Before flights, after teaching fitness, I really fell “hook, line and sinker” in love with the practice again.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
As yoga was becoming more popular, the fitness studio asked me to teach yoga. Not formally trained yet, but having practiced diligently for two years now, I agreed. However, yoga is such a sacred practice to me, bringing me home to my true and authentic self, I craved having all the tools to be able to offer the same to others. I begged, badgered and pleaded with my little uptown studio owner to offer the 200 hour teacher training course. Shortly after my Mom passed away, the course was offered. The starting date was her birthday. I knew it was her gift to me. I devoured the 200 hour course in 30 days, and I was humbled and honoured that my little studio hired me upon completion.
What do you love most about teaching?
I love to see people move out of their distracted hurried lives, into the conscious present moment. I love to see bodies relax and engage mindfully, consciously. To take time to nourish themselves with mind, body, spirit connection, and remind them to take this practice off the mat into their every day lives.
What is your favorite pose?
goodness! There are so many. As I’ve had different challenges with my body over the years, my practice and posses change. However, I’ll have to say Trikonasana always makes me feel fantastic!
What should students expect from you?
I always start with centering. Arriving on your mat, coming home to your breath. Be here now. Settling in, setting an intention to tuck in your heart. A well planned sequential class, lots of verbal and visual cues. Like planting a seed, nurturing your body from stillness to full bloom, then slowly bringing it to rest, so we may integrate all we’ve practiced, and carry it with us into our everyday lives.
What do you want your students to take away from your teachings?
I want students to know that ultimately, their greatest teacher is themselves. I want students to listen to their own bodies, all the sensations; physical, emotional, energetic; pleasant or otherwise. To know that breath is life, and conscious breath is your key to conscious life. To take the journey out of your over thinking busy “monkey mind” into your ever knowing and wise heart, where all the answers lie. The physical practice of yoga was a way for ancient sages to finally rest in stillness and listen to the whispering of the universe within, and without.
Proudest yoga moment?
“Proud” is a challenging word for me. Through yoga, my intention is to I let go of ego and pride. However, when a novice or practiced yogi tells me what I’ve taught resonates, and has helped them along their path, that warms and expands my heart.
Most embarrassing yoga moment?
In down dog, I was attempting to say “shine your sit bones to the sky” but what came out was “shine your shit bones to the sky” oooops! There have been others ooopsys, but that was the first, and therefore the most embarrassing.
“Do the best you can, with tools you’ve got, in the moment you're in” is one I say often. I also love the ancient prayer borrowed by the AA program “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference
Long walks on the beach with my old dog. Observing nature. Watching blue herons feed, geese fly, eagles soar, sandpipers scurry, waves lap, life happen. Practicing yoga at home on and off my mat. Quiet moments, crazy moments. Watching my children grow into amazing adults. I find inspiration everywhere.
What is your advice for new yoga students?
“Don’t use your body to get into the pose, use the pose to get into your body” is advice you can take to heart. Try different teachers and different class styles to see which one fits you best. We are all as unique as our thumbprints, you will find what bliss's you out. Keep searching. It’s a yoga practice, not a yoga perfect, be patient and kind with yourself. Park your ego at the door, no judgements or attachments. Enjoy the process. Breathe, Be, Enjoy...Repeat.