TUESDAY TEACHER TALK: ELIZABETH HENRICHSEN
We sat down with our awesome teacher Elizabeth Henrichsen to get her take on yoga, teaching and the power of change.
1. When did you start working for Yoga 4 Change?
My first teaching job with Yoga 4 Change was in July 2014 at a 3 week summer camp for foster teens who were not able to be left home on their own.
2. What inspired to become a yoga teacher?
My yoga teacher told me for many years that I would be a teacher one day. I always disagreed, telling her that I practiced for my own knowledge and benefit. Eventually I came to see I was living yoga more fully. I saw clarity in that it might be my duty to teach. After attending numerous classes, workshops and devouring anything I could get my hands on regarding yoga, I later went through some major life challenges and changes. In 2014 I decided to follow my passion and calling and attend yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India, which I chose due to the curriculum, teachers and spiritual energy of this sacred site on the Ganges River.
3. Why did you choose to work with Yoga 4 Change?
About mid-way through my teacher training I knew I wanted to work with at risk populations. When I returned to Jacksonville from India, I started making calls to schools and other programs that might consider integrating yoga. One morning, my husband was reading the Florida Times-Union and showed me an article about a new organization called Yoga 4 Change. I immediately contacted Kathryn Thomas, the Executive Director, who invited me to attend their first informational summit. I knew it was where I needed to be. I started teaching for Yoga 4 Change soon after and am inspired and honored to be a part of this organization. I currently work mostly with children and would love to teach other populations Yoga 4 Change focuses on such as veterans, inmates and those suffering from substance abuse.
4. Share with us a funny, sad, interesting, or memorable story about your teaching?
5. What is your favorite drink?
My favorite drink is called “I Love Rishikesh”. It is a juice made of grapes, pineapple, pomegranate, mint, cardamom and cinnamon. I discovered this at a little place called “The Juice House” when I did my yoga teacher training. I make it at home often and sometimes add some greens to it as well. Mmmm.
6. Can you name one thing Yoga has helped you get through?
Yoga is my life and helps me in every aspect. My own life was transformed by becoming a yoga teacher after a very difficult personal time.
7. What’s your favorite yoga pose and why?
Lately, I am enjoying vashistasana, (pose of the sage or side plank) with the top leg extended, because it challenges my strength and flexibility. It is grounding, yet uplifting and gives me a feeling of expansion.
8. Cat or Cow?
I meow some days and moo on others.
9. How can yoga help people change their lives?
Yoga provides us with so many tools for transformation on multiple levels. It teaches us to be authentic, see what is inside ourselves so we can be present and connected with others. It is a true gift that has been passed down for thousands of years. Yoga teaches a 4th grade boy to breathe and be aware of what happens in his body before he gets into a fight. Yoga teaches a group of 6th graders that they can hold each other up in tree pose and trust one another. Yoga teaches those foster teens that they have a light that shines brightly inside them and it is a connection with the world. Yoga teaches us all that focusing on the present moment is a powerful gift.
10. Why should people support Yoga 4 Change?