Interview with Yoga Nidra Teacher Carol Trevor
Carol has a passion for the powerful, quiet practices of yoga: pranayama, restorative, yoga Nidra and meditation, as a means of enjoying peace, vibrancy and fulfillment in everyday life. She is a dedicated practitioner, teacher and teacher trainer based in the UK, and the creator of a series of progressive yoga Nidra downloads. She first stepped on the mat 26 years ago, and has been teaching since 2002. She is also qualified in sports massage.
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE…
How has your yoga practice changed you / is changing you?
It’s enabled me to be comfortable in my own skin, to know that it’s ok to be as I am, with things as they are. So, rather than changing me, it’s perhaps a case of my practice revealing my true self.
I was quite young when I began to practise, professionally able but restless and unsure of my place in the world. I feel content now. I can be with challenges and life’s occasional craziness with greater ease and, hopefully, clarity.
My yoga practice has certainly slowed me down. I used to live at 100 mph. I’ve come down a few gears, which gives me time to see and enjoy the simple, important things in life. All those little moments packed with goodness.
My practice takes care of me, and in turn those I care for and am accountable to, and it keeps me on my toes. Now I catch myself when I’m losing presence in everyday life and have the tools and awareness to come back to a good place, swiftly. I couldn’t do that before.
It’s a much-needed sanctuary or haven. And the age-old questions of ‘who am I?’ and ‘what am I here for?’ are still here, as is the need for meaning, purpose and positivity.
People seek answers and a safe, healthy way to explore the human condition. Yoga provides this.
Who/what has been an inspiration in life for you and why?
Occasionally in life I meet what I call ‘born yogis’, people who don’t practise yoga, but who embody its qualities and values, who are yoga. They never cease to astound me. Look out for them!
Silence and nature, not necessarily at the same time. They are bountiful. Both are essential to me, to recalibrate and feel that awe and wonder of being alive and a connection to something greater. For me they also inspire creativity.
My teachers, from my favourite teacher at school to those I’ve been blessed to meet through yoga and meditation who show immeasurable compassion, steadiness and devotion.
Anyone who is fulfilling their dharma, their purpose in life, in any field. It takes courage.
Self-practice, that precious time on the mat, warts ‘n all!
What does your personal practice look like?
Not always pretty! But that doesn’t matter, does it?
I’d say I’m quite relaxed about it now. More often than not, it will be an evening practice: slow asana with fewer poses, lots of breath awareness and restorative yoga to keep me steady and, hopefully, present during the day and when I teach. A few minutes of meditation daily, whether I’m on the mat or not.
When I was going through an intense period of practice and exploration 10-15 years ago (and lived alone), I would rise early for an hour of meditation followed by an hour of asana and pranayama before going to work. I retreated regularly during that period too.
This wouldn’t be sustainable now. These days I do what fits in with my family and other responsibilities and my energy levels. It’s about maintenance, balance and nourishment. I do a more challenging, dynamic physical practice at the weekend.
What has teaching taught you?
So much, and it still is.
Hopefully, to truly see, connect and be with the person/people in front of me, whatever the circumstances – whether I’m teaching or not.
One of the things I love about teaching yoga is that it involves people from all walks of life. I’ve had a varied working life and lived in five countries. Thanks to teaching, I know that we all have something in common and it’s wonderful to access this.
Two spring to mind.
Fear about going deeper in practice – for example, why would I want to remember something that upset me that I haven’t thought about for years, or feel sad, or become even more sensitive? In this case, we talk about the process of what hinders or binds us being unveiled and released, of learning to be with emotions and sensations and how to respond, and the significance of our inner life. I always refer to the yogic texts and teachings for guidance so students know I’m not making it up ….
The other one is ‘doesn’t having an intention mean that we have expectations?’ So we talk about the nature and meaning of intention, how it arises and its appropriate use.
When asked, what advice do you give to someone new to yoga?
Take your time, there’s no rush. There’s a sumptuous buffet of classes, teachers and styles available. Enjoy sampling them and learning about yoga, life and yourself along the way.
Be kind to yourself.
Be open minded. I remember being sceptical about some aspects of yoga, like the chakras. Then I started to feel things and knew I no longer needed to doubt.
Never skip Savasana! This is our chance to absorb yoga, to go beyond our usual habits and consciousness and to enjoy a glimpse of what yoga is really about.