Q&A: Gina Thompson

How long have you been teaching yoga?  

Since March 2014.

Why did you become a yoga teacher? Who and/or what are your biggest influences?ginaphoto-u20654

Yoga has made such an impact on my life. Mentally, it has helped me through a lot of tough time;. physically, my body has never felt better; and personally, yoga has introduced me to an amazing community and life-long friends. I wanted to be able to share that with others, which is why I wanted to become a teacher.

How has yoga helped you to be a better person?

I think I’ve become a better person because yoga has allowed me to accept myself for who I am, which in turn has allowed me to be more accepting and non-judgmental of others.

What is your personal mission statement as a yoga teacher?

I want to help students recognize what their bodies and minds are capable of through a fun and lighthearted practice.

What do you think constitutes an excellent yoga instructor?

To me, an excellent yoga instructor is someone who can lead a class that allows me to let go, keeps me present, and leaves me feeling energized and better about myself than when I entered the studio.

What do you recommend to the beginner student? To the seasoned student?

A lot of beginner students are intimidated if they aren’t flexible or in shape or know each pose. Beginner students don’t realize that the poses are only one small part of the practice of yoga. There is so much more to it and as long as they are open to it, they will benefit from the practice, regardless of what poses they can get into. After practicing for a long time, a yoga practice can become routine. It’s easy to go through a class and not remember why you are there or how you got into a specific pose. I would recommend to seasoned students, that they slow down, go back to basics, and remember what brought them to their mat in the first place.

How do you take your yoga off the mat?

Whether I become impatient, upset, or find myself anxious about the past or future, I stop and take deep breaths to remind myself that all that matters and all I can control is the present moment.

What is the one pose you are most proud of getting into?

I was most proud to get into Salamba Sirsasana (supported headstand) because to get into the pose, it was a mental and physical challenge for me. Physically, I knew I had the strength, but mentally, it took a lot of patience and coordination.

What is your favorite time of day to practice yoga?

I love practicing in the morning because I will leave a good yoga class feeling energized as well as having a good intention that I can carry with me throughout the day.

Where is the best place you have ever practiced yoga?

I went to a yoga retreat in Costa Rica a few years ago and we practiced in a small wood room in the middle of the rain forest. There was no electricity, no music, and no fancy props. Anytime I feel my thoughts drifting, I can always bring myself back to that time where I felt fully present.

What is your favorite music to listen to while practicing yoga?

I love listening to Phish or Grateful Dead while practicing yoga. There is nothing like getting lost in a good jam and flowing to the music.

Why do you love teaching at Pulsation Yoga?

As a student, I was drawn to the community at Pulsation. It’s warm, welcoming, and I was never intimidated coming in as a new student. As I started to take different classes, I was so impressed with the caliber of teachers. They all have unique approaches for all levels and I love that I have the option to choose a class based on what I need at that particular moment. I’m so excited to be a part of the community and offer students what Pulsation has offered me over the past two years.

Gina Thompson teaches at the Pulsation Yoga studio in Lake Zurich. Check out the class schedule to attend her classes.