This month we are celebrating Brit Washburn as our student of the month! We are inspired by the way that Brit shows up for herself almost every day of the week attending many different types of yoga. She is dedicated student who has the sweetest and most generous offerings to us here at the studio. Her authenticity is unparalleled and she has the best baked goods around. Brit’s gentle and kind nature is so appreciated through her presence here, she takes advantage of all that our community has to offer from child care to healing arts. She truly gets the meaning of community!
What was the experience with yoga that got you hooked and what inspires you to continue yoga?
After falling in love with dance as a child and capoeira as a teenager, I began practicing Iyengar-style yoga while struggling with infertility and studying religion at the University of Hawaii in 1999. I moved to Charleston, SC, in 2005, and immediately found a home at Holy Cow Yoga Center. Ten years in, my practice began to deepen and I attended Holy Cow’s Living Your Yoga program, visited the Satchidananda ashram in Virginia, and participated in a Sanskrit immersion course in 2009. I went on to study Ashtangha and Jivamukti yoga and completed my 200 hour teacher training at Holy Cow in 2015. That same year, I had my fourth child and underwent back surgery, which led me eventually to obtain additional certifications in Gentle and Prenatal yoga. A vegetarian since age 8 and a vegan for the last many years, I am as drawn to Yogic philosophy as I am to the physical discipline.
What is your favorite pose?
Malasana—I love its name, and how it feels, and what it represents. Also known as garland pose, malasana is named for malas or prayer beads, and is very grounding, both physically and metaphysically. I’ve also always enjoyed trikonasana, ardhachandrasana B, headstands and side crow, which is essentially a party trick. These days, supported supta badhakanasa is hard to beat. Really, there are so many…
What is your most challenging pose?
Revolved triangle. Before back surgery, I was always hyper-mobile & often lacking in the strength necessary to stabilize certain postures. Since having surgery, my flexibility has been reduced considerably, but my sense is that this actually allows—and forces—me to practice more safely. This requires letting go of a degree of ego and certain postures (like revolved triangle!), and lots of props. I love props!
What is your favorite time/place to practice?
Whenever I have childcare! These days, that means I usually come to the 8 a.m. classes Monday-Friday, and morning classes on the weekends as well, while my children are either in school or asleep. I am so grateful for the wide variety of class times, styles, and teachers at Asheville Community Yoga and I love the space and the community. I don’t have an ideal place for a mat practice at home right now, and I so appreciate the sense of sangha that comes from practicing communally.
Do you have a favorite yoga book or video?
The Swami Satchidananda translation and commentary on the Sutras, and The Bhagavad Gita. There are several Gita translations & commentaries I appreciate, especially Joshua Green’s and Eknath Easwaran’s. The study of spiritual books, or svadhyaya, is part of the trinity of kriya yoga, and primary sources always seem to me the safest bet.
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Well-intentioned, penitent, persevering.
What is your current or all-time favorite song or artist for a yoga playlist?
The entire Krishna Das album “Door of Faith,” especially “Sita’s Prayer / Hey Mata Durga” and “Mere Gurudev,” and Brett Dennen’s “Don’t Forget.”
What is your mantra?
I have several, including: “Consider the lilies of the field,” “Courage and faith,” “First do no harm,” “There but for the grace (of God go I),” and “Let he who is without sin (cast the first stone).” These are, of course, mottoes as much as mantras, but they are an important part of my pranayama and meditation practices. “I’m breathing in; I’m breathing out” is also always apt. That was the one that got me through an unmedicated home birth and much else.
Do you have a passion other than yoga you’d like to share about?
I love to read and write and cook and watch movies and take long walks. I am a poet and essayist by trade, but have also always been a cook and a feeder, sometimes for a living.
How did you find Asheville Community Yoga?
I’m embarrassed to admit I may have simply searched “yoga near me” when I moved to Asheville a year and a half ago. Asheville Community Yoga is 2 miles/6 minutes from my house. It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized I’d also taken a prenatal class while visiting a couple of years earlier.
What is a great class or workshop that you’ve been to recently?
The last two classes I took (Gentle Flow with Sarah, Wednesdays at 5:15 and Restorative with Audrey, Thursdays at 3:45) were quite lovely. I also subscribe to the dictum that yoga is like pizza, which is to say (almost) all yoga is good yoga!