This interview is an especially exciting one for SF Yoga Mag. Not only did Goldie Graham do her teacher training with our very own beloved founder, Deidre Norman, but she did it in SF! Now she returns to the Bay as an esteemed Wanderlust teacher for Wanderlust 108. She has been named among the Top 100 Yoga Teachers in the country by Huffington Post, and has been featured in countless national publications like Yoga Journal and Runners World, to name a few. She leads retreats, teacher trainings, and a whole host of creative workshops ranging from side-stretching and how to work with props to navigating social media for yoga practitioners. SFYogaMag caught up with Goldie as she was jetting off to China...
First things first, how does it feel to be coming back to the Bay Area, the place where you first embarked on this journey, as a lauded Yogi and Wanderlust teacher?
When I think back to 2009 my life was insanely different. I was single, out of my comfort zone living in a new city having moved from Boston months earlier, and life felt like it does for most people in their mid 20's; a whirlwind. 7 years later I'm now in my 30's, ecstatically married (the word "happy" doesn't do it justice) and teaching throughout the country. I'm thrilled to be teaching in SF later this month.
Were you interested in yoga as a form of healing? If not, what drew you to it?
Yoga wasn't a form of healing for me in the beginning. I discovered yoga after running the Boston Marathon. My sister invited me to a class at Back Bay Yoga after complaining of being sore post-race, and that's when it all began. It wasn't until later when I realized how beneficial yoga can be on multiple levels; a source of energy, healing, balance, creativity, and more. When I need healing, yoga heals. When I need a creative outlet, yoga sequencing is there. When I need to move and express energy, my mat provides the ground for that. Yoga is for everyone and for every reason.
I love the practical and creative themes of your workshops. There is an unmistakable air of fun and lightheartedness in the way you describe them (which makes me want to sign up for each one). Do you think it's important to make yoga approachable for everyone?
Yes. Yoga IS for everyone. It's about finding the right teacher to fit your learning style. This takes time, and unfortunately people write off yoga completely if they take a few classes they don't enjoy. You've got to try different studios, styles and teachers before giving up.
Let's talk about Wanderlust, since you're coming back for the Wanderlust 108. How did you get involved with the event?
I think it was 2012 I was first invited to Wanderlust as a "wayfarer." It was a program Wanderlust created that invited well-known teachers in the community to basically be "influencers" regarding the festival. We shared what WL was with our communities before the big event, and then at WL we met other wayfarers and were able to spend the weekend taking classes. A year later, I was asked to teach at Wanderlust and have taught a couple times in Stratton, VT and most recently Aspen, Snowmass, CO. Wanderlust is special. I've taught a range of classes there from Black Light yoga and hip-focused classes to my signature style G-Flow, but my favorite class was a 3 hour workshop designated towards teachers who were looking to improve their ability to sequence. One of my strengths is the ability to put a creative, yet anatomically intelligent class together, and sharing how I do that, step by step with other teachers is a favorite module of mine. I received tons of emails after that specific Wanderlust class with people sharing how much better and more confident they felt going back into their own classrooms as teachers. To me, that's a success.
...Goldie Graham will be in SF for Wanderlust 108 on April 24th. You can find a link to her website, with info on her upcoming workshops and events here
Photo: Courtesy of Goldie Graham
Post written for SFYogaMag.com