Get to know Abbey Harris, one of our Abundant Yoga teachers! Abbey currently teaches Be Powerful classes on Tuesdays from 4:45 – 5:30PM, Be Still classes on Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:00PM and on Saturdays from 11:15 – 12:15PM, and Be Still/Gentle – Prenatal Yoga classes on Saturdays from 10:00 – 11:00AM.
Here are a few questions to get to know Abbey a little better!
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Hi Abbey! Tell us a little bit about yourself (where you’re from, family, etc.)
I grew up in an itty bitty farming town in northern Michigan. My family was very active and supported outdoor adventures, so I loved being outside; it’s the place I felt I could be myself. Years later, I ended up living in Colorado, coming alive in the mountains, and exploring wide open spaces. This is where I spent my 20’s and early 30’s finishing nursing school, playing an active leadership role in a few Christian ministries, taking lots of yoga classes, finally meeting Shaun, and moving to Tennessee.
When did you start practicing yoga? Tell us a little bit about your yoga journey.
I took my very first yoga class in 2004 with a friend who was teaching Christian classes in an office building. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was immediately hooked! I loved encountering Jesus on my mat and also discovering what my body felt like when I asked it to move in a way it never had before. I had no idea that different poses could affect my heart and emotions so profoundly. It was as if my mat became a place of counseling, worship, and physical growth.
What made you decide to go through teacher training and ultimately decide to pursue teaching?
Since 2004, I’ve tried innumerable styles of yoga, been in all kinds of studios, and practiced with a wide variety of teachers. All of that being said, I was so hungry for intimacy with God that simply practicing yoga alone wasn’t enough for me anymore! I needed so much more than yoga. I needed to meet God on my mat. I also was discovering that God had put a heart of a teacher in me; I began realizing more and more that I loved leading others into an encounter of His love and freedom. That is why I decided to get certified by Holy Yoga and why teaching at Abundant Yoga has been so profound for me.
What have you found to be the most exciting or motivating aspect of teaching?
What I love most about teaching yoga is providing a platform for others to meet with Jesus and explore new ways to move and open their bodies. We come against so much condemnation from the world against our bodies and callings, that to have someone leaving my class feeling lighter in spirit and proud of their body…makes my heart soar!
If we came to one of your classes, what would we expect?
In my classes, my aim is to focus on the breath as a tool to release stress and burdens, so intentional breath work is always a focal point. I love opening the body, so many of my classes will start and close with restorative postures to help my students release burdens as well as set the stage to meet with Christ.
What is your favorite class to take?
Wow! This is sooo hard to answer! When I think back through all the seasons of the last 14 years, there has always been class styles that I needed and gravitated toward in each season. I remember a whole year I only went to a restorative class, and vice versa another year mostly a 90-minute Ashtanga practice. Right now, in such a busy season of life, I am so grateful for the practice itself, that any class I get to attend is such a divine treat!
What is your favorite class to teach?
I’m so in love with my prenatal class. Leading pregnant and postpartum moms in yoga is my passion!
Do you have any plans to pursue any specialty certifications or courses?
I’m letting God build this dream even more. I just finished my pre/postnatal course in 2017 and that was a long time coming. So we will see what He brings next!
What is your favorite pose? And what is your least favorite pose?
I love Pigeon. My hips are actually pretty tight, and when I first enter it, it demands I ignite the breath because if I don’t, I won’t be able to maintain the pose. But I often reach this place that haunts me in the pose: I can simultaneously feel pain and pleasure in my body. I think it’s such a beautiful picture of the life of the believer on this side of heaven that it almost always leaves me in tears. Joy and pain…isn’t this often the tension in which we live? For my least favorite pose, I can pretty solidly say that I dislike Camel Pose, Because it’s such a huge heart opener, it can leave me feeling nauseous and lightheaded. If you’re in my class and I call it, you know I’m going after some deep stuff in my own journey!
What’s on your playlist lately?
I’m always on the hunt for new worship music! Right now I’m living in a few songs by the Torwalts and Lauren Daigle.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
Right now, it would be getting to linger over coffee in bed! Hopefully Shaun would also have the day off and we would get to spend it playing with our dog Captain, go for a hike, and eat at a new restaurant. This season is very full with me splitting my time between teaching yoga and two nursing jobs…so nurturing my inner home-body is essential!
Anything else you want to share about yourself?
My second favorite class in the whole world to teach is our couples workshop! It is a total blast and such a gift to offer couples. Please come – it’s coming up February on 10th!
Abbey currently teaches Be Powerful classes on Tuesdays from 4:45 – 5:30PM, Be Still classes on Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:00PM and on Saturdays from 11:15 – 12:15PM, and Be Still/Gentle – Prenatal Yoga classes on Saturdays from 10:00 – 11:00AM.