INTERVIEW WITH: NICOLE JENNIFER ENNS
Can you tell us about your background?
I grew up locally in South Surrey and have lived all over the lower mainland and for some years in Ecuador and have now circled back to living and raising my 2 young kids here with my husband.
I was a Merchandise Presentation Manager for a big box retailer for a little more than 10 years and knew that I wasn't doing what I really wanted and that's what prompted our move to Ecuador and the first step into following my heart and I living more fully. Yoga has been a part of my life for about a decade in different forms. I was introduced to meditation long before I ever began practicing the postures. It was when we returned to Canada in 2013 that I became intrigued with the idea of becoming a teacher as I knew I definitely wasn't going back to my old job and very soon after completed my 200hr YTT at Karma Teachers College for Yoga and Meditation and Pre & Post natal Yoga with Lori Lucas.
I have since been teaching public classes locally at different studios, kids classes even in a couple schools and some corporate classes for the government. I am most passionate about my Pre and Post natal classes and am excited to soon be offering yoga to support fertility.
What brought you to yoga?
Motherhood brought me to yoga. My first class ever was prenatal and it empowered me to trust my inner guide and birth at home. Since my own pregnancies I have felt very passionate about supporting women through their journeys and I am so happy that I get to now do that. After my daughter was born I suffered from postpartum depression while living in Ecuador and remember feeling alone, misunderstood and at my lowest
when I should have been feeling the highs of becoming a mom. It is said that when a baby is born a mother is also born, but I felt like I lost a little bit of myself and yearned for the person I used to be. There is a tremendous amount of guilt and shame that come from having those feelings and I would practice yoga to youtube videos, chant the Gayatri Mantra and often sit in meditation to keep myself from falling apart. It took a lot of patience, acceptance and compassion to forgive and love myself in order to move forward. So Yoga has been my journey of healing and self discovery into the woman I am and one who is always changing and evolving and as I do, my practice does.
Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
It felt so right and naturally like the next step. I knew in my heart that I wanted to do it but affordability was an issue at the time and I had it in my head that one needed to go to India to become a teacher haha. As I began to search online I came across a video from Karma Teachers and cried my face off and immediately knew that that was where I would go and that I would be forever changed. I wrote Emerson, the founder, and a few days later I received his phone call granting me a scholarship. Everything fell into place quite easily, as things often do when they're right.
What do you love most about teaching?
Seriously the best job ever. I really love the students and how it brings people together. I love that I get to be myself and the more I am myself and teach from my heart, the better I feel doing it. I get to be of service and give back because yoga has given me so much.
I really think that yoga helps to make the world a better place as it initiates healing and cultivates compassion and I get to be part of creating a conscious future for my kids. When we heal ourselves we heal our families, when we heal our families we heal our communities and when we heal our communities we heal our planet!
What is your favorite pose?
I go through phases of having a pose that I really enjoy and work with often but the pose that has consistently been my favorite is adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog). It makes me feel physically and mentally strong and it feels great in my body at any time of day. And although it seems simple, it is complex and has layers and so many ways to refine.
What should students expect from you?
Definitely a well planned class and my whole heart. I love planning classes and taking my time to put it all together, from the theme to the sequence and I love a good quote or poem to read but it is also the most vulnerable I have ever felt. I offer lots of alignment cues but also like to give people the time and space in the pose to pause and reflect before moving on. I love knowing the 'why' behind everything and yoga philosophy so they should expect to leave with an understanding of 'why' and 'what' we do in our practice. Like; why do we chant om, why is splits pose called hanumanasana and why do we roll to the right side when we come out of savasana?
What do you want your students to take away from your teaching?
That as a teacher I struggle with life and my practice also, that I have been through the ups and downs and that I can relate. I understand that we feel different from day to day and our practice can meet us where we are and doesn't need to look a certain way. It can be whatever we want it to be; 1 hour or 15 minutes on our mat, It can be a quiet moment in our day with a mindful breath.
That Yoga is relevant. Even the more traditional practices like mantra, meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) are relevant in our modern busy lifestyles. By using these practices in class and a relevant theme, usually drawn from my daily life, I hope to show students the effects the practice has on their well being so they are inspired to take their practice off their mat and into their daily lives.
Proudest yoga moment?
Honestly, teaching my very first public class. I was pretty fresh out of my training and Lauren offered me an opportunity to sub for her and If you've been to Laurens class you know that they're packed full of students that come for her awesomeness and I was terrified. I remember looking at the faces that I had been practicing beside for years and now here I was leading them through a class, although I was nervous I could feel their support and I couldn't wait to do it again.
Most embarrassing yoga moment?
Mixing up my lefts and rights, it happens almost every class...sigh
Here's another...I was practicing in a YogoTV class that was being filmed and we were preparing for supported headstand and the teacher said "you can go all the way up if you feel confident that you won't fall on your neighbor" and so I lifted my legs up and rolled right over onto another student and it was all caught on camera. I am pretty sure they still used the video on the site.
So many favorites to choose from so i'll give you a quote for yoga and one for life.
"In this life we cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love." -Mother Teresa
I feel like this quote reminds me not to underestimate the little things I do and to focus all my heart and love in my everyday actions and interactions and that in itself is what GREAT things are made of.
Favorite yoga quote: "Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self to the self." -The Bhagavad Gita
It's so true, nothing else needs to be said because it's all there.
Life! Sometimes I can't believe all that I have seen, done, overcome, achieved, learned...it's amazing. My family and friends, there's so much beauty, creativity, talent and wisdom around me. My husband and kids are very silly, we laugh constantly. My husband teaches me compassion and to trust the process and timing of life and my kids are like mirrors and show me exactly where I am, the good and the needs improvement sides of me. My teachers inspire me and I continuously learn so much by taking their classes. I'm inspired by books, poems, quotes and pinterest.... Hi my name is Nicole and I am addicted to pinterest.
I am inspired by my time living in South America. We lived on a farm in the Amazon in a little bamboo house with a grass roof and would drink my tea in the morning sun watching the toucans fly by. It was dreamy, however, I am now able to see the beauty everywhere I am and can stay attuned to natures rhythms anywhere I am, while still being able to live the simple life I crave even in an urban jungle.
What is your advice for new students?
Try lots of classes and teachers. The great thing about yoga here is that there's no shortage of variety and there's something for everyone. Give your practice time and don't compare it to someone else's, especially to someone's instagram. LOL.