We interviewed Teshia Maher, yoga instructor, nutrition consultant, and health activist. Teshia’s bendiness and zest for healthy living are motivating and contagious. We found out about redefining competition, why that yoga pose might not feel so good, and how to find inspiration in the dollar store.
How did you get to be so bendy?
To be honest, it kind of happened by accident! About 7 years ago I lost my dad very suddenly, and I, wow… I had just adored his every breath. Overnight I became one of those “spinning tops,” you know, those old school toys that spin on the ground? That’s what I felt like. Spinning. Out of control. Anyway, this thing called Yoga, it saved my damn life! I started doing back-bends like a mad-woman, it seemed to be the only thing that helped me manage the anxiety, find my breath, and feel un-numb. The bendiness, ha, that was just a bonus side effect!
Is there a yoga pose that challenges you?
Many do! In different ways! There’s a pose called “tortoise” where you lie on your stomach face down with your legs around your head and with your ankles tightly crossed (If you can imagine that, ha?!). And well, I can get into that pose physically, but once I’m there, I want to like, FREAK out! I feel this weird panic inside, and I want OUT! It’s interesting to observe, I mean, there is no reason to freak out! It’s silly! But Yoga asana often has a way of mirroring other things, other aspects of our life. I personally hate feeling “stuck,” I don’t handle this feeling well. Whether it be in a relationship, my career, my body … I seem to thrive with movement! So ya, there’s just something about that pose that makes me feel stagnant, and so in a mental/emotional way, it totally challenges me.
There is competition in sports. Does that exist in yoga as well?
It does! Interestingly, Yoga competitions have existed in India (where Yoga has its roots) for thousands of years. Many people don’t know that, and many are quite critical of the concept of competition in Yoga. I get it, I mean it does in many ways seem like an oxymoron. That said, like everything in life, it’s all about PERSPECTIVE! I view the “competition” in these circumstances, as being with the self. You may get up on stage in a one-piece, do your fanciest poses, and there may be people up “against” you for the “title” of “champ,” but at the end of the day, if it’s just about doing your personal BEST, about harnessing your focus, your determination, your ability to hold stillness when your nervous system kicks into over-drive (because that’s what happens when you’re all alone up there, and everyone’s eyes are on you!), well then, what’s wrong with that? I think Yoga competition can be a beautiful thing. Whenever I see my “competition” go up on stage, I pray they nail it and then feel so proud of themselves that they swell up and BURST! Never that they fall on their head! Again, I think it depends on the individuals intentions for doing it, and as always, your perspective!
What’s the best way to manage hot yoga hair?
Stop TRYING to control it. Like so many things in life, that’s just one war you can’t win!
You do nutritional counselling as well. Do you encourage everyone to go vegan?
No way! Not unless they come to me and say “can you help me make this transition,” otherwise, I don’t go there. I generally do encourage people to add MORE vegan/living foods to their diet, as I do believe these foods to have powerful healing and nourishing qualities. But that said, I wouldn’t encourage this step unless someone was fully aligned with their own personal intentions, for wanting to do it.
You inspire so many, including us. Who inspires you?
Aw! I just love you guys! So many people inspire me! In fact I think someone different seems to inspire me every day. Today it was this woman working at the dollar store. She was so kind and gracious. Like, CRAZY lovely. She works at the dollar store! What is there to be so over the moon happy about?! Ha. That’s inspiring. Love it.
Favourite time of day to eat chocolate?
Before teaching an afternoon or early evening yoga class! Raw-chocolate turns my brain ON! Yum.
Fave workout wear?
I like workout clothes that make me feel TOUGH. I have two favorite workout tanks: one has a scary bear face on it and it’s all ripped at the bottom, and the other, says “Biceps don’t grow on Trees” on the front, which I just think is silly, since my guns really aren’t that serious. Ha.
Fave social media platform?
I use them all, but I like on Facebook that I can see people’s sweet-faces and pictures.