Interview with Emma Levy: “There is Never a Better Time to Start”
Our top yoga coach Emma Levy tells about her coaching approach and philosophy behind the ancient and spiritual practice of yoga.
What if yoga is something more than a sport for weight loss? How do you
understand yoga’s philosophy? How do you explain it to your clients? We spoke
to Sport Session high-ranking yoga coach Emma Levy about her understanding of yoga
practice, her way of coaching and her experiences.
Stay with Emma to learn how you teach yoga and get excellent reviews from your clients. Get several coaching tips from one of the most successful coaches at Sport Session.
Why did you choose to do yoga among other sports?
That’s a great question because I started yoga for beginners at an early age. At 13 in fact. Being a teenager is a stressful time. And at that period I was exposed to this new form of experience. A sport that makes you think differently, and brings you a sense of calm. This was exactly what I needed. At 18 I started practising with my yoga teacher and was exposed to its philosophy, which I think I have always felt.
Yoga is not about working on your muscles. It is about knowing who you are as a person. It is about taking time for yourself, pausing this endless rat race we call life nowadays and being kinder to yourself and your body. This is what other sports often lack.
When did you realise that you are ready to teach yoga to others?
As a started practising yoga quite early, by the time I was 18 I already surprised everyone around with how much I knew about this sport. But I felt that there is still something more about it that I was missing. I have always craved more knowledge. At some point I understood that the best way for me to become better is to share my knowledge with others, to let others feel what I feel about yoga. So after I got my certificates I started teaching. But I suppose I am still learning.
What was the biggest challenge for you as a coach?
I believe it is dealing with social media. Because the very philosophy of so intimate practice as yoga and publicity of social media do not go hand-in-hand. Socials are about lovely pictures and perfect photos and it is great, but you cannot really show the very essence of yoga this way. Many people look at perfectly edited photos and sophisticated yoga postures and feel a little intimidated. They think yoga is not for them. But I assure you, YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE! We do not care about what you can’t do. We simply show you what you actually can.
Read more: 5 benefits of practising yoga at home
You have an extensive experience as a yoga coach. Why do you think your clients start practising yoga?
It depends on each student. Many people decide to do yoga as a workout. They want to get fit and flexible. However, I encourage my students not to treat yoga as simple gym training. Of course, you might lose weight during training sessions by default but it is not what yoga is for. We do not try to improve your body here, because YOUR BODY IS ALREADY PERFECT. Here we learn to understand and love it. Believe me, if you know your body well, you realise that it is everything you have ever dreamed of.
Other people come because they are so overwhelmed with stress in their lives, that they need some time for themselves. It is especially true for parents, who dedicate all their time to family and children. Sometimes it is hard to put your feelings and needs in the first place but each person deserves some time for relaxation. My advice: try yoga classes and you will feel the burst of strength and energy.
Do you have a plan for every training or rather prefer to improvise?
As a coach, of course, I need to have a plan for a class to know in which direction we are going to move. However, I do not feel obliged to follow it strictly, if I see that my students can do more or less. Before the 1st training with a student, I have a basic idea of what we are going to do. But I like to meet my client in person and discover their limits and abilities together. My yoga courses are meant to be fun after all, so I do not want to turn them into a workout routine.
Talking about your classes, do you push your clients to their limits or do you have a more balanced approach?
I think that in yoga there is always a place for negotiation between your comfort zone and a challenge you accept for yourself. You don’t have to do everything correctly from the first attempt. In fact, during my classes, students often fall and then laugh at themselves. And it is totally fine! You are not doing this for cool pictures anyway. If you cannot or do not want to do something, it’s fine too. As a coach, I place no judgment. Just sometimes you cannot see your own potential. And the coach can show you what you are really capable of.
You use a lot of music for your classes. What kind of music is perfect for yoga training?
It depends on the type of yoga you are doing. For restorative yoga, for example, I play calming, meditating music. For fast flow yoga I can even put R&B or rock. I love funny songs, they make people move. Sometimes I even ask my friends to play some instruments, like a violin or a cello. Have you ever done sports to the sounds of violin? If not, you should try, it is fantastic!
Name your favourite places for yoga practising.
It is always great to take your yoga mat outside. I like practising in the park or on the beach, listening to the sounds of nature and feeling myself a part of it. There is something magical in such places. You don’t need any music to relax. Nature is your music.
Read more: Yoga: the magic of this ancient practice
Would you like to improve something in your coaching strategy?
I always work to perfect my way of coaching and my classes. I am trying to create a safe space, where every student may feel relaxed and confident. Sometimes you can leave the 1st training thinking that this sport is just not for you. I want to convince everyone that yoga is for them and that they can have fun practising it.
Many people are afraid to do yoga because they think it is too hard for them. What would you say to those people?
I would like them to know that yoga is for everyone. You don’t need to be super flexible or fit to start. Yoga postures are meant to look different on everybody so you do not need to worry if you don’t look like Instagram pictures. After all, yoga is not about postures or movements, but about learning what your amazing body can do. So it is worth giving it a try.
To Emma Levy yoga is a way to dedicate a moment for yourself. It is a therapy for your body and mind, relaxation time in the fast-moving world of ours. Emma teaches her students to explore their body, gradually broaden its limits, listen to its needs and love every inch of it. This is what Sport Session clients love about her classes. This is what you will like too. Sign up for your first yoga class with Emma here.