Teacher: Ivy Guerrero-Timmons
Grew up in Dominican Republic
Teaching Yoga since 2012
BK: How and why did you start practicing yoga?
IGT: I started practicing yoga early January 2003. After battling infertility for a few years, in May of 2002 I had a successful round of IV treatment which resulted in a multiple pregnancy. I was expecting triplets. It was a difficult pregnancy which involved months of bed rest. Unfortunately, I lost my babies in October of 2002.
I found myself depressed and overweight, yet not ready to let go of my desire to be a Mom. With that little bit of fight left in me, as a new year’s resolution, I decided to lose weight (joined Weight Watchers) and to start taking better care of my emotional and mental health, so I came to a yoga class.
BK: Who or what has been your greatest “teacher”?
IGT: So many wonderful teachers to pick from; I honestly couldn’t pick one as the greatest. Each one of them brings a different lesson or perspective. If you asked about the biggest impact, I would have to say it’s my first teacher, Basia Kinglake. She made my first experience such a wonderful one, I knew from the day I met her that I would be practicing yoga for the rest of my living days. The biggest support I have received from Mimi Cho; she helped me learn to own my practice and since the beginning always believed in me more than I did myself. I teach today because of her and for that, she will always have a special place in my heart.
BK: What style of yoga do you enjoy teaching and why, does this differ from your own personal practice?
IGT: I enjoy teaching a slow flowing alignment-based Vinyasa, sprinkled with breathing, inspirational readings, sometimes yoga philosophy, essential oils and always a lot of love. My personal yoga practice is based on trying to apply as many of the eight limbs as possible to minimize my suffering and enjoy this journey to the fullest. My asana practice is more of an exploration into “difficult to attain” poses while dealing with aging, injuries and other limitations.
BK: What obstacles have yoga help you overcome?
IGT: I have become better at managing so many things life throws at us; loss no matter how terrible, for one. It helps me stride to find some sort of balance in my type “A” personality instead of allowing my obsessions to rule me. Truth is that many obstacles will always be there and new ones will always come up but yoga and mindfulness give us the tools to make the best out of most situations and that is priceless. Practicing mindfulness at times boils down to accepting where I am, breathing and asking myself: which Yama or Niyama applies right now?
BK: What obstacles sometimes keep you from your own practice?
IGT: Time constraints keep me from practicing as much as I would like to and from teaching more often. After so many years of infertility, I was blessed with an amazingly beautiful daughter so she is my top priority now.
BK: What is your mindset when you step onto your yoga mat?
IGT: When I step onto a mat as a student, I say to myself: “Yes! I am home. Finally! However I feel that the benefits of practicing yoga multiply ten times fold when one teaches. I wholeheartedly believe that my life is much better because of it so when I step onto a mat as a teacher I think: “Here is something that has done so much for me and that I love so much I can’t help but share it with you. I hope it helps you too.”
BK: When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
IGT: At first I wanted to learn more about yoga for my own benefit. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could for that matter; and I still do. As soon as I finished my training, one of my dearest teachers asked me to sub her class. I said to myself: “Ok, my teacher thinks I can so maybe I can. Maybe I should give it a shot. Plus, I can’t just say no to her!
A couple of subbing opportunities later, I realized was hooked. I fell in love with the idea of making a difference in somebody’s day, no matter how ephemeral. I learned to appreciate being part of that positive transformation that inevitably happens to every asana practitioner between centering and Savasana. There is nothing like it.
BK: Why is yoga so important for the times we live in?
IGT: Where do we begin to answer that? Yoga helps us physically, mentally and emotionally. Who doesn’t need support in at least one of those fields these days? When we practice mindfulness, we start finding love, acceptance, compassion and kindness for ourselves. Slowly we become more open to offering the same feelings to others. We begin to focus more on the things that unite us to all other living things rather than in those that seem to divide us.
BK: Where is the weirdest place you have practiced hatha yoga?
IGT: Weirdest place I have practiced yoga is in my laundry room. I actually do that regularly and have plenty of pictures to prove it. It can be a very peaceful place; no interruptions there. Haha!
BK: Anything else you want to add in below, please do!
IGT: Thanks for the opportunity to relive why and how I got here. It reminded me of how truly blessed I am.