Teacher: Norma Archer
Grew up in Zimbabwe
Teaching yoga since 2009
BK: How and why did you start practicing yoga?
NA: I was introduced to yoga by my mother in my teens because I was a bit bratty, acne-ridden and very anxious. I practiced from a book in my early twenties for my posture (weird!) 25 years ago I started practicing more regularly in a class setting as I was expecting my first baby. Sixteen years ago I attended classes regularly and found Yoga Haven during a difficult time in my life.
BK: Who or what has been your greatest “teacher”?
NA: Looking back on my life, my greatest “teachers” have been the difficult experiences that have forced me to see myself truthfully and taught me accountability, humility, honesty and gratitude. I have also had wonderful humans in my life who have been, and continue to be Great Teachers – school teachers, yoga teachers, students, friends, family, my partner and my sons.
BK: What style of yoga do you enjoy teaching and why, does this differ from your own personal practice?
NA: I enjoy teaching alignment-based, slower vinyasa classes. I love deconstructing things (poses)! My personal practice is not as alignment-based, I enjoy moving and holding poses, and I often include a silent (or spoken) mantra to accompany my movement.
BK: What obstacles have yoga helped you overcome?
NA: I am still working on overcoming obstacles such as anxiety, self-doubt, an over-active mind…. you know, the usual things!
BK: What obstacles sometimes keep you from your own practice?
NA: Anxiety and Exhaustion, and sometimes, stubbornness.
BK: What is your mindset when you step onto your yoga mat?
NA: On most days: “I am so fortunate to have this in my life”
Some days: “Let’s see what happens today”
Every day, no matter what, I know I will leave my mat feeling better, calmer, stronger.
BK: When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
NA: I know the exact date… September 1st 2009. It was really like a flash of lightning … I was looking through a community college catalogue, with a view to doing an adult education course, when I came across the yoga class schedule. I got momentarily distracted wondering if I should go and take a class, and then it came to me as clearly as if somebody was yelling in my ear “You could take yoga teacher training!!” I called Yoga Haven immediately, followed the phone call up with an email, and couldn’t believe it when Betsy responded and said that I should come and see her to talk about the training. I still can’t really believe it, nor do I really understand it. I am simply very, very grateful.
BK: Why is yoga so important for the times we live in?
NA: It brings people together. We focus on what connects us. We slow down. We breathe. We let go. We learn to accept our bodies and selves as they are (We learn that this applies to our fellow humans too.) We learn to listen to ourselves and to others.
BK: Where is the weirdest place you have practiced hatha yoga?
NA: Not weird, just uncomfortable and a bit embarrassing, but I was desperate to move … the back of an aeroplane.