Get to know Greg More
1. When did you start practicing yoga and why?
I started going to the odd class in 2005, but didn’t pick it regularly until 2008. I completed my first teacher training in 2012. Mostly it was just to stay active and flexible, but I was drawn to the mindfulness of the practice – the idea of movement meditation and the connection of mind and body and how each can influence the other as well as both influencing your emotional and spiritual state.
2. Where do you draw inspiration for your classes? What makes a good yoga teacher?
I draw inspiration from my own body and weaknesses I have, or injuries I’ve sustained and had to manage and heal. Similarly, I find inspiration in the movements and limitations of my students; I use their bodies to tell me what they need to further their practice. I think safety is paramount. If we are here to improve ourselves; either mind or body – then we should be very mindful of how far we push ourselves. Our egos will destroy our bodies. There is a fine line between constructive body work and destructive. Further, in repetitive movement activities, you can be doing minor damage for years before the consequences really start to show themselves. I think it is our responsibility to keep our students safe while managing their forward progressions in both strength and flexibility.
3. You teach mostly fundamental classes at Downward Dog. How do you support and encourage beginners?
I think it’s very important to teach beginners the actions to create the poses. Some people come to yoga and have an idea of the poses and shapes that they want their bodies to make and they push themselves to attain some “ideal” that they hold in their mind. In reality, we use our muscles to push and pull our skeleton into particular shapes. I find it important to focus on the muscular actions to create a pose. Regardless of each student’s individual flexibility, by focusing on simple actions, beginners can find how far their bodies can move toward a pose and not try to attain something they are not yet capable of.
4. What do you do when you’re not practicing or teaching yoga?
I strive to stay active outside of my yoga practice and admittedly I find activities counter to yoga in order to maintain functionality. I go for runs and bike rides and go to the gym, sometimes rock climbing. At the gym, I try to explore body weight exercises and try to use my knowledge gained from yoga to inform some of my weight bearing exercises. Our bodies adapt to whatever we do and often you can make the greatest functional gains by exploring resistance closer to your end ranges of movement. Meaning, not just driving your body into its outer ranges of movement and holding a stretch, but by exploring resistance (safely) while using that outer range of movement. This would include some weighted stretches as well as placing my joints in compromised positions while bearing weight – low resistance and safety is obviously key.