I'm so happy to have had the pleasure of interviewing our Jala Ambassador, Tracey McNamee! In this Q&A article, Tracey gives an in depth, heartfelt view of how she overcame her struggles through the gift of yoga.
Q. What first got you interested in yoga? When did you know you wanted to be an instructor?
A. I first became interested in yoga after a car accident left me with post traumatic stress disorder. I was so frightened to drive that I stopped leaving the house. When medications proved useless in the battle for my sanity I turned to yoga for holistic healing. It took me months to be able to feel a sliver of my old self shine through, but when I uprooted for six months and lost my practice I realized how much it had truly helped. When I returned I jumped at the chance for a teacher training program and haven't looked back since. I still have problems with my PTSD, but yoga has helped me open my doors and take those first few brave steps to recovery.
Q. What kind of yoga do you practice?
A. I primarily practice vinyasa style yoga and restorative yoga. The vinyasa allows me to get out of my head and into my breath where I can connect with my body. Restorative helps to physically suppress my stress response and changes the way my mind looks at the world, seeing it more for what it truly is, rather than the over exaggerated version my anxiety makes it into.
Q. What's your favorite kinds of clothes to wear during your practice?
A. Clothing is always hard for me to feel comfortable in. I'm a curvy girl so nothing seems built for someone like me, but I love capris that hug my skin without sticking, and my new favorite tops are Jala t-shirts. No joke! I usually practice in tank tops because t-shirts make me feel like I'm being strangled, but the Jala tees are soft, cling to my body without suffocating it, and offer great coverage for a rather busty figure. No more bra straps hanging out for me! As long as I stay on top of my laundry that is.
Q. Do you have a certain snack or meal that you like to eat before or after your practice? What keeps you energized?
A. Meals and snacks consist of whatever I can grab at the time. I'm a fan of eggs, easy to grab when hard boiled, and they don't weigh you down. I know everyone says to eat fruit before yoga, but I'm not everyone!
Q. What are your goals for the future? Do you have any aspirations to further your knowledge of yoga?
A. As I continue on my yogic path I plan to train in therapeutic and restorative style yoga. I have a soft and gentle personality, so crushing it in power yoga isn't my teaching forte. Instead I want to help others heal.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to the young aspiring yogi's out there, what would it be?
A. My advice to new yogis would be to take it slow. The first five classes are about learning what yoga is, so try not to compare yourself with the students who have been practicing for four years. Keep with it, be kind to your body, and one day you may inspire new students to grow and change as much as you have.