If you have met Lynn Rossy in person, you know that she is full of life, animated, and joyful. Whether I run into her downtown at Main Squeeze, at a community event or the studio, Lynn’s eyes sparkle as she delivers an enthusiastic greeting. Lynn has been a long-time student at alleyCat, in fact, she began practicing with Ken and Kathleen back before the studio officially began. The first time I met Lynn she was standing in the studio entry way on top of an ottoman to make herself taller and giving a humorous lecture to Ken. Like I said, she is full of life!
A few of the reasons I am thrilled to bring Lynn in to teach at alleyCat are her background in mindfulness and meditation and her commitment to Kripalu Yoga, the tradition in which I study and in which the studio was founded. Keeping true to the “meditation in motion” aspect of Kripalu Yoga, her classes flow together seamlessly and are infused with compassion and joy. Lynn has led MBSR classes and retreats throughout the community for a number of years and brings the grounded presence of an experienced meditation guide into her classes.
I’m so happy to count Lynn as a friend and fellow yogi. I hope you get the chance to meet her in person soon. Read on and learn more about what drew Lynn into the practice of yoga and meditation.
ACY: What drew you to the practice of yoga?
Initially, I was drawn to the practice of yoga because of how I felt during and after a class. I loved moving through all of the various postures—stretching and strengthening my body—which helped me feel grounded and centered. It was a great feedback loop—do yoga, feel better, do more yoga. It’s still like that for me now, but today, yoga is more about love and connection. It’s about moving my body with kindness and feeling safe in my body. It’s about connecting with that space of stillness in which I know that everything is perfect and I am perfect just as I am.
ACY: Tell us a little about your style of teaching? What are the intentions that influence your classes?
I like to combine a series of postures that flow easily from one to the other that insure you are getting a balanced practice – moving the spine in all directions and getting lots of breath so that you’re moving the energy. My intentions during class are to help students become more present, become more compassionate and kind, and to touch into the sacred. We are all sacred and everything around us is sacred. Bringing that spirit into a class changes it from being an exercise class into something much more.
ACy? What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
Back in 2002, I met Ken Sudahkar McRae after he just moved into Columbia. I started practicing with Ken and really loved the Kripalu yoga he taught which was different than other styles I had practiced in the past (e.g. Iyengar, Ashtanga). I was already teaching yoga in my Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs and I wanted to have a deeper understanding of what I was teaching. I saw the changes that took place for beginners when they first started practicing yoga and I wanted to be able to bring yoga to anybody who might be interested. Kripalu Yoga is accessible and safe and I wanted to learn how to be the best Kripalu teacher I could be.
ACY: Who are your most inspirational teachers and practices?
So many people and practices have touched my heart and soul. Ken Sudahkar McRae was and is a great inspiration. I have learned both the physical and spiritual practices of yoga through his teachings. And, I have had the opportunity to co-teach with him on retreats in Costa Rica and sub for him at alleyCat over the past 16 years. I also have been greatly influenced by Buddhism and have studied with many great teachers in meditation retreats across the country over the past 20 years. Ginny Morgan was my local teacher who started Show Me Dharma and planted the seed of Buddhism in me many years ago. Of course, Jon Kabat-Zinn has been a mindfulness teacher of mine and I credit him with bringing mindfulness into the world in a way that no one else has. And, most recently, I have begun to practice under Susan Mathis who I believe has much to teach me as well. Her ability to reflect Kripalu yoga in a classroom is very beautiful and skilled.
ACY: Did that experience inspire you to become a Yoga Teacher?
It’s hard to point to one experience that led me to become a yoga teacher. The reason I teach yoga is because I love being able to help people feel embodied and in love with their bodies, so that they talk to themselves with kindness, and so they treat their bodies well. The yoga practice has been particularly helpful for the people I teach in my mindful eating classes to move into a loving relationship with their body. And, from there, healthful actions follow. I like to say “You only have one body in this lifetime and so it’s very important to make friends with it. You and your body are partners for life.”
ACY: If you could distill your experience and learning down to a few core things, what would you share with your student?
Do your yoga from the inside out. Listening to your body and honoring your edge is critical to growing in the yoga practice. I like to say that the most advanced yogis are the ones that are doing their version of the posture and loving it. Beginners are the ones that try to push too hard, compare themselves to others, and go past their edge, often leading to injuries. When you listen on the inside for what your body wants to do, you will receive a cooperative response. Also, I like to help people see how their practice on the yoga mat reflects their life off the mat. If you’re usually in a hurry or impatient, you’ll find yourself rushing through the postures. If you’re tired, your practice will have little energy. If you’re competitive, you will probably push too hard in postures. Seeing these proclivities and working with them on the mat can help you be more skillful as you move into the rest of your life. As I grow in my yoga practice, I see how my body/heart/mind gives me all of the messages that I need to hear about how to live my life.
ACY: How do you spend your time off the mat?
In the past year, I have become self-employed and I’m loving it. I have been blessed to continue to do the work I developed in my career. I teach a 10- week Eat for Life (a mindful eating class) three times a year to people online around the world. I give presentations, retreats, and workshops on mindfulness, mindful eating, and yoga around the world—which will take me to Brazil in November. I’m soon-to-be President of The Center for Mindful Eating, a non-profit organization that trains professionals in the field of mindful eating and offers services to the general public. My big excitement this year has been the decision to host my own Kripalu yoga and mindfulness retreat in February of 2019 in Costa Rica. It will be similar to the one that Ken McRae has taught in the past, with my own special spin on it. I hope some of you can join me! For even more fun, I write, plant flowers, cook healthy food, go for long walks with friend, do Pilates, go to lots of movies at RagTag, play the piano, go dancing, invite friends over for food and conversation, visit my friends at the Farmers Market, and do a little strength training (so important for women as they age!).