Photo by vir2ualrealuty
Rasheda Charles oozes of love, light and peace. I am grateful to say that I am one of her biggest fans, everything about her is inspiring. I highly recommend taking her class because it is most definitely worth it. She has also just opened up her own studio in Qatar, Congratulations!
1. How long have you been teaching?
I've been teaching for 5 years.
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?
This many sound corny and cliché, but I really wanted to change the world. I was unhappy and was laid off from my final attempt at working a corporate gig and had been attending a great little yoga studio in Brooklyn called Jaya Yoga Center, every day. I was just so unhappy. I was sure that I wasn't living my purpose. One day this really old lady interrupted my savasana-literally stood over me and said, "I see you all the time. You're here almost every day. You should consider teaching. You look like you'd be a good teacher." I think of her as one of my angels now because she was right. I had been going to that studio every day but i'd never seen her before and I no lie, I never saw her again. I thought to myself, wow, I'm here all the time because, in addition to these asanas the things that the instructors talked about, I carried with me after class. I started to apply what I learned off the mat and no, life didn't turn into a giant cake walk, but I was able to live a more stress free, I worried less, was more grateful and it felt so good. The more I focused more on the positive, it seemed like the more positive my life became. And more grateful I became, the more blessings seemed to come. It was about connecting to a higher frequency, a higher vibe and I remember laying thinking, wow! if I can teach my friends this, we'd have such better relationships and less stressful lives. That's how it started, just me thinking about me and my friends and our highly stressful, career driven, conflicted families and personal lives.
That year, I completed my first yoga teacher training.
Teaching has taught me that we all are just trying to do our best. We're all in different parts of the journey and to be ok with that. It has also taught me about perspective. I try my best to take the good from every experience, and either learn or leave behind the rest.
3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?
One of my most valuable lessons was that it's all karma. Take the good and leave the rest.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
Asana 5x/week. I try to meditate every day, even if it's just 5 minutes. I remember reading somewhere, very early on, Eckhart Tolle said one conscious breath in and out, is a meditation. That's always stuck with me, so I feel like one can always find time for at least one conscious breath. No excuses.
5. Who inspires your practice?
I'm inspired by good people. The everyday people that I meet in passing that share a smile, or that I see doing good work. I'm inspired by Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa. I'm inspired by my maternal grandmother, who marched on Washington with Martin Luther King. I'm inspired by my paternal grandmother, who took in and raised her sister's child, even after she found out that the child was fathered by her husband-yeah let that sink in. (My grandfather had an affair with my grandmother's sister and she raised the child that was the product of that affair.) I'm inspired by many of the public school teachers I used to work with in Harlem that were ridiculously underpaid, but still went out of their way to buy clothes for kids that needed them, give hugs to that kindergartener who didn't have a good night at home because their mom and dad work the night shift and crazy hours and they're left to be cared for by older siblings, or they have to look out for themselves. I'm really inspired by everyday folk who are kind of Spirit and generous of heart. I always try to live up to that. It makes me want to work harder, so I can try harder to live up to that.
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
I practice for my sanity! Lol But seriously, I practice to keep connected to my Spirit and my purpose.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
My message is asana practice is not yoga. Yoga is how you live your life off the mat. I could care less how straight or how high your leg is in standing bow, if you're a dick when you step off your mat, because then the intention of standing bow, which is a heart opening and hip opening asana (heart and hips both are the gateway to releasing deep seeded emotional baggage) is lost. You might as well be doing gymnastics.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
Actually, I'm currently teaching in Qatar and exploring the idea of opening a studio in Doha, Qatar. However, I'm based in Brooklyn, NY and when I'm there, I teach at Yoga Tribe Brooklyn with an awesome squad of teachers in a great yoga community. I'm really blessed with that.
9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
Yoga has helped me develop my character because Its like a guide. Little things I can ask myself to check in with myself. Sometimes I'm on point many times, I see I have a long way to go. ☺️
10.What has kept you practicing all these years?
I keep practicing because my life just keeps getting better. I smile more, I give more and my heart just keeps growing. There's nothing better than that! I couldn't imagine going back to my life pre yoga. I was angry and would anger at the drop of a dime. My parents divorce was bitter and brutal and terribly long and drawn out. It left me jaded, hurt, cold and scarred. Yoga has taught me that that wasn't about me and it helped me cultivate enough compassion to not only forgive my parents, but to let that shit go. It was all my karma anyway and had totally nothing to do with them. That's a toughie. Learning that everything that happens to you is your karma-I'm still working on that. :)
11. How do you take use yoga practice in your daily stressful life?
Let's just begin with this: yoga is not asana alone. Yoga is a way of life and there are 8 pillars that help you along this journey. Asana is just one of the eight.
For me, the first two pillars are employed the most. Yama, the first pillars speaks to One's ethics and integrity & Niyama, the second limb of yoga, deals with the self discipline and spiritual observances and is what use most in my day to day life. Speaking the truth (satya), and being content (Samtosa) with what I have and being mindful of my spending habits (do you really need 60 pairs of shoes? And yes I was that girl. ☺️) are practiced everyday. Another one is cleanliness (Saucha), yes, how you take care of your body speaks volumes of ones yoga practice "off the mat." Lastly but definitely not least my breathing has helped me so much. Every take a subway in NY, in the morning, during rush hour? Yeah, consciously breathing, deeper, slower and with more gratitude, I easily overlook people literally pushing you out of the way for a seat than I could have ever imagined before I leaned the patience and happiness cultivated through my yoga practice. And you would be surprised how smiling at someone who just basically elbowed you out of the way, lol, also makes them more conscious. They even stop for a minute and look at you puzzled, or stop a smile back or for the ones that do, now your yoga has effected someone else is a positive way, and maybe just for that moment brighter their day, what could possible be better than that?!!
12. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?
Facebook: Rasheda Charles
I'm working on Turing my Facebook page into a business page and being more active on FB. But I'm active on IG. I really like that platform and love connecting with people on there. I post my schedule and pics pretty regular, which wasn't easy for this super private Scorpio in the beginning, but the page has evolved into a great, safe, honest space where I try not to get too political, 😜while still speaking my truth and I'm really proud of that.