Tuesday Teacher Talk: Alicia

When did you started working for Yoga 4 Change?

I auditioned with Yoga 4 Change in February of 2015 and have been getting more and more involved ever since!

What inspired to become a yoga teacher?

I was inspired to teach yoga because yoga truly changed my life. I know that’s a cliché answer, but it’s true. I had lost touch with who I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. I was going about days just coasting, not really connecting to anyone or anything. When I started doing yoga I felt like I was being shaken awake. I felt my body opening up to the practice, and eventually my mind started opening up to. I started to notice how poorly I was treating myself, and ultimately treating others by not being present. It only took a couple classes before I was hooked on how alive I felt. I had never felt comfortable in my own skin and my yoga practice brought a shift into my life. I felt strong, confident, and powerful! I signed up for teacher training soon after. I wanted to bring the amazing things that had happened to me to others.

Why did you choose to work with Yoga 4 Change?

I am a social worker by day. While its very rewarding, it’s also disheartening to see people struggling. After I realized how powerful a yoga practice could be in my life, I couldn’t even image what an amazing gift yoga could be for populations who are dealing with trauma, anxiety, depression, pain, etc. Yoga 4 Change was the perfect organization for me to be a part of.

Share with us a funny, sad, interesting, or memorable story about your teaching?

I taught one of my first Yoga 4 Change classes in Hemming Park. I only had two students, but their connection was amazing. These two men were inmates together. They both discovered Y4C while incarcerated and now that they are both released, they hold each other accountable and meet for yoga classes whenever they can. Yoga was a tool for them to release tension, calm their minds, and to connect to themselves. It was so cool!!

What is your favorite drink?

Coffee  in the morning,  cabernet in the evening 🙂

Can you name one thing Yoga has helped you get through?

Yoga as helped me with a negative body image. It wasn’t a cure. I didn’t just start doing yoga and immediately felt better about my self-image. It’s something I need to work at daily. Yoga is a tool for me; something that is always available to help me with this. I feel powerful and strong while I’m doing yoga and it reminds me that anyone can do yoga regardless of body type.

What’s your favorite yoga pose and why?

Half-pigeon. This pose takes me out of my comfort zone.

Cat or Cow?

Cat–it feels so good!!

How can yoga help people change their lives?

For me, yoga brought a new ability to calm my mind and to be okay with whatever it is I’m feeling or experiencing. My practice as shown me how to come out of my comfort zone so that I can learn and grow. I think yoga can do this for anyone willing to try get on their mat and really get in touch with their body and mind.

Why should people support Yoga 4 Change?

Y4C can and will change the Jacksonville community. By bringing yoga to underserved populations we can bring tools for people to cope with and overcome their past traumas and come out more grounded, accepting, and powerful people! Just imagine inmates being released and not going back to jail, homeless people gaining strength and confidence, at-risk youth learning how to handle their stress and achieve their goals: Y4C is making that happen right now!

Alicia Peterson is a recent graduate of MBody Yoga’s 200 HR Teacher Certification Program and is now a registered teacher with the Yoga Alliance. She is currently teaching yoga at YMCA locations around Jacksonville and also teaches the teachers and students of John E. Ford K-8 school, where she works as a case manager. Alicia has been a case manager with at-risk youth in Jacksonville since she moved here in 2010. She is excited and ready to spread the powerful benefits of yoga to the Jacksonville community!

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