Getting to know our Instructor Christine Chiu

In my own personal yoga practice, I keep telling people how much I love Christine’s Sunday morning 10:30am Vinyasa Flow Mixed Level class! I thought I’d share a little discussion so that you might be introduced and have the same appreciation.

Here is our discussion:

Christine ChiuRozanne: Christine, I just love how you combine the energy and physicality of a Vinyasa practice with an alignment sensibility. Can you share a little of your passion for this alignment focus.

Christine: I feel alignment provides structure for the asana practice. Alignment reminds us how to safely place our bodies in space. With alignment, the pose feels steady, supported, and keeping integrity with our individual conditions at that given moment. But I also appreciate how alignment guides us to focus our attention. I have a hard time meditating and keeping my mind still, but focusing my attention on alignment allows the other distractions to fall away. Having vinyasa linked with alignment poses brings the fun into the practice and reminds us all to breathe when the movement is initiated by breath.

Rozanne: Can you tell us what traditions and teachers have had the most significant influence on your practice and your teaching

Christine: I have had the privilege of studying with Annie Carpenter for 100 hours this year. I learn from practicing her alignment-based flow where each class always builds around a theme that shows the relationship/connection between the poses. Locally, I have enjoyed Samantha Gallo’s elegant vinyasa flow classes with physical and spiritual themes, her presence, and her eclectic playlists. Finally, I am indebted to my first training, Yandara Yoga School and especially Shane Perkins, for their compassionate guidance and encouragement to trust my voice.

Rozanne: What are a few of the most important lessons you hope to teach your students, and what are a few examples of lessons you have learned from your students?

Christine: I would love for the students to always listen to their bodies and let the practice serve what they need at that given moment. I am always so glad to see when students modify their practice and rest when they need it. To me, that is what being an advanced yogi means- to truly understand one’s own conditions and approaching the practice with truth (satya) and ahimsa (compassion) towards oneself. Sometimes, the alignment instructions can get technical and even tedious, when that happens, I would like the students to follow a particular cue that makes sense in their body. And no matter what happens, just breathe. Even if we do the entire class on our backs, breathing, we feel the benefits of the practice. Most importantly, just come to your mat to have fun, lose yourself to find your Self.

A great privilege of guiding a yoga class is to learn from the students. The short answers here do not provide justice for all the things I’ve learned. The students have taught me yoga has something to offer for everyone, whether it is through breathing, steadying the attention, holding steady in a pose, relaxing on your back. The students have shown me their openness to the practice and their capacity to draw awareness inwards, and that they surprise themselves with the strength and stamina gained through steady practice. Most of all, I am grateful to see compassionate energy each one radiates as they come to the mat. It is as though everyone needs a ‘reset’ button to take a break from the crazy hustle and bustle in our daily lives.

Join us Sundays 10:30am at YOGA SOL for Christine’s Vinyasa Flow class and share your thoughts with us! The classes have a level of sophistication that I know you will appreciate!