Name: CJ Telford
Studio: Moksha Yoga
Years teaching: 5
Years practicing: 21 (showing my age now!)
Favourite yoga style: Vinyasa flow with a juicy savasana

Favourite time of the day to practice?
As I get older I’m finding I’m practicing my yoga more off my mat than on but when I do get an opportunity to step onto my mat I move best in my body around mid-morning when I’m more supple and I have good energy levels. The only exception is a lovely yin class at the end of the day which is a wonderful treat.

Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
I’ve always practiced yoga for myself but I first started teaching Body Balance. From there I was asked to take a couple of friends through some yoga moves and it grew quite rapidly until I decided I needed my own space to teach in and Moksha Yoga Papamoa Beach was born. I created my studio because I wanted a space where anyone could come, they didn’t need to feel intimidated or worried about what they wore or how they looked. It is a lovely, homely, soulful place.

What has been the most significant part of your yoga journey so far?
When I first started teaching yoga I worried all the time that I wasn’t a ‘proper’ teacher because I didn’t have a formal qualification. But once I attained the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certificate it was like something changed inside me and my confidence grew so fast. I actually don’t believe the training changed my teaching style radically but more that it allowed me to rise up and really embrace my teaching.

Is there a book you think every student should read?
I love to read but I’m not a huge fan of yoga style text. I do listen to podcasts which inspire and encourage me in my teaching – Oprahs Super Soul Sunday’s is one of my favourites at the moment. Lots of little gems for living a true life and being the best version of yourself.

How important is the philosophy behind yoga in your teaching?
I’d call myself a modern yogi. For me, my role is to help everyday people experience a yoga class that is relatable and authentic. This might mean I’m not the most traditional teacher in my style but it allows me to connect to my students in a way that feels real and allows them to walk lightly through their lives.

What would you hope every student takes away from one of your classes?
A real sense of peace within themselves, a body that feels longer and more malleable and pride in themselves.

Do you have a regular meditation practice?
I’m not great at sitting still quietly by myself (I keep checking the time!) so I practice a moving meditation. Often it is sitting on my surfboard out the back of the waves. This is the place where I gain perspective and where my busy mind calms down allowing space and freedom from everyday worries.

What has yoga brought to your life that you are especially grateful for?
Yoga has given me a body that is healthy and moves well. It has helped me to navigate the busyness that having four kids brings. It teaches me patience and perseverance and it serves as a constant reminder to walk lightly through this life, spreading kindness, love and courage in equal measure. It’s given me a chance to be my true self, to step into my power and it is a wonderful platform for me to connect with my amazing community and the human race.

Special meal or snack you love at the moment?
Not very ‘yogi’ but I love a good old roast with all the trimmings (and hopefully pudding to follow)!

What do you love about your part of NZ?
I’m so very grateful to live in Papamoa Beach, Bay of Plenty. To be so close to the ocean is a true gift and the people who make up the community here are just awesome.

Thank you so much, CJ!

Would you like to be a Featured Yogi? We’d love to know more about you! Or is there someone you’d like to nominate … another teacher, a stupendous student? Getting to know our fellow yogis creates connection. We like that. Get in touch here.

© The Yoga Connection 2018