8 Limbs is pleased to publish Teacher Profiles to help you to know and learn from the amazing group of 8 Limbs Yoga Teachers. This month we profile a new teacher to 8 Limbs, Bayeshan Cooper who now teaches at 8 Limbs Wedgwood on Fridays at 4:00pm All Levels Flow and 5:30pm Gentle. Some of you know Bayeshan’s smiling face from her time working at the front desk at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill and in one of our recent poster campaigns!

Teacher Name: Bayeshan Cooper

Practicing Yoga Since: 2007

Tell us about the first yoga class you took. The first class I ever took was a vinyasa power class and it was harrrrdddd. I was a dance major in college at the time and was so surprised by how challenging this class was; I had somehow assumed that being a dancer meant I would be good at yoga. The truly profound experience came after I stepped out of the yoga studio that same day. I remember standing on the sidewalk and feeling for the first time ever, that I didn’t need to fix, hide or manipulate my negative emotions/thought patterns, which was what I did constantly at that time in my life. That little glimpse of acceptance, peace and freedom that day was what made me dive deeply into the world of yoga.

Teaching Yoga Since: 2011

What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught. Oh my, I don’t remember much. I think I was little proud that I was finally teaching a yoga class, but mostly I was nervous, which is probably why I don’t remember much.

Who/what are your teachers? Why? Anne Phyfe, Chiara, Melina, Jenny Hayo, Lauren Kite and Ashley Dahl are all teachers that have strongly influenced me as a yoga teacher and practitioner and as a person. All of them have a wellspring of knowledge that are unique to each of them, but they all approach life and yoga with the same grounded compassion. It feels like these inspiring teachers each handed me a precious puzzle piece, and supported me as I fit these pieces together to uncover what’s uniquely me. Through these teachers at 8 Limbs Yoga, I was introduced to Gary Kraftsow, Rod Stryker, and Shari Friedrichsen, who are now teachers that I seek out to study with every year. The ancient lineages that these three teachers are linked to have become the focus of my study and practice, and  the core of my teaching have also been informed by these teachers and their lineages.

Currently inspired by: My current inspiration is really more of a curiosity and fascination with how humans react to pain. Most of my exploration now is about how I react to the pain in my body, and experimenting with different ways to consciously respond to pain that can actually lead to more ease. For instance, one concept I learned from studying Non-Violent Communication with Chiara is that there is a tendency to respond to pain violently: we want to stretch the crap out of it to make it go away, because we hate its presence. I’ve been practicing how to foster a kinder and more communicative relationship with my body and my pain, and maybe learn why my body is trying to get my attention through pain signals. Other cool science fact I recently discovered that makes me want to up my yoga nidra practice: pain is an output from the brain. “Pain is a creation of the brain that is meant to signal us to take protective action against a perceived threat. If you feel pain in your shoulder, for example, it’s because your brain is *outputting* a warning signal to you about that area for some reason.” Check out this article by Jenni Rawlings, and also check out her blog.

Tell us about a time in your life that yoga really supported/helped you. Yoga has been a source of support ever since I began the practice, but the way it supports me shifts along the way. When I first started practicing yoga, the transformative power of yoga was really apparent, because I was basically a ball of mess with legs. But now the transformative power of yoga isn’t as flashy, not because it’s less powerful, but because yoga has settled into the core of my life. I find that the transformation that unfolds as a result of consistent yoga practice is much more subtle and gradual. I have felt the effects of my yoga practice when my life is pretty much stable, and I’m just going about my day walking down the street or interacting with people. I love this kind of subtle support and growth that yoga has given me as much as the “bigger” transformations that typically are ushered in by major events.

What is your current yoga practice include/involve and why? Is there a practice you do daily? If so, explain why. Lately my practice has felt more like a time for experimentation and exploration than a strict regiment. An experiment for me might be doing the exact same practices everyday for two weeks and observe the effects of it has on my life. Another experiment might be finding different ways to engage and/or relax a particular part of the body, and notice how it influences my sense of ease.

Approaching practice as an experiment has freed me from the commanding inner voice that says “you must practice everyday to be a good yogi”. Strangely enough, a desire to be structured and committed has been born from this experimental approach to practice, and I’m much more disciplined and engage with my practice than I’ve ever been when I was trying to force discipline upon myself.

Hobbies/interests: Cooking, being home, and spending time with friends are central to my happiness. I also love going to concerts and dance performances and traveling out of the country; they feed my desire to be a part of the world. But it’s just as important for me to retreat into nature, which nourishes my ability to be in the world.

What book(s) are you currently reading/did you recently read? The stack of books that is currently next to my bed: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Yoga for Wellness by Gary Kraftsow, Yoga and Ayruveda by David Frawley, Samadhi by Swami Rama, Witnessing Whiteness by Shelly Tochluk, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics.

One secret that helps you stay healthy: Drinking a giant glass of warm water in the morning after I’ve brushed my teeth and scraped my tongue.

Favorite recipe? Anything and Everything from the online food blog Smitten Kitchen. I refer to Smitten Kitchen for recipes every single week.

Anything you want to share with our community? Bayeshan is thrilled to be a part of the 8 Limbs Wedgwood community as a teacher and being able to share with the community practices that develop strength and ease in both her All Levels Flow class and Gentle class on Friday afternoons.

Posted by: 8 Limbs

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