Name: Nikki Harris
Studios: eastwest Yoga (Ponsonby and Newmarket)
Years teaching: 12 years
Years practicing: 14 years
Favourite yoga style: Any variation of hatha and I am happy. But my goal this year is to incorporate a regular meditation practice.

What’s your favourite posture at the moment?
I like to finish half moon with a chapasana variation, so refreshing.

Is there a particular asana that you struggle with?
I’m not going to lie; I have the tightest hips and ankles so any variation of malasana is a struggle. But I secretly enjoy it and am a huge believer in the benefits of this posture when fit to each person’s body correctly.

What led you to teaching?
I was living and working in Vancouver at the time, enjoying my daily practice and preparing to travel before moving to London. (So young and carefree!) With money saved and months up my sleeve it was a ‘now or never’ time to undertake a residential teacher training. My main goal at this time was to deepen my own practice and gain confidence in my teaching skills. The service aspect of teaching for me really came later on. From there it has continued; seems like only yesterday but also a lifetime ago, if that makes any sense.

Who, in the yoga world, inspires you daily?
I am inspired more by a human’s yoga story than their current pose or status in the community. Show me a beautiful Instagram picture but inspire me with the story behind it! On a local level, I am hugely inspired by students and practitioners in our city who are busy, and perhaps have challenges, but they find the time to roll out their mat and continue their journey.

How do you balance your studios and teaching with your own practice?
The million-dollar question! In periods of teaching a lot your own practice (or energy for it) can wane. Burnout of teachers is a real thing. My practice is long-term though, it’s not going anywhere and if I go a week or two with little time for myself I just do what I can to change things up. That took a while to work out.

What do you wish you had more time for?
I am always aiming for a little more non-yoga time. Time for friends and family; time for non-yoga community stuff is really important to me and has suffered from time to time. I wish I would create more time for this. And just to be. Read a book; play with the dogs, and simple days of nothing.

Where in the world would be your ideal yoga retreat?
Ideally somewhere warm but equally a cold place of beauty could work! Would include great people, a strong balanced practice that has learnings you can take off the mat. Lots of relax time as well as yoga time. Great food and good sleep so that you end rested and a little different from how you started.

What’s your go-to snack after class?
Nothing in particular, but a juice or smoothie after an intense or sweaty daytime class is always yummy!

What five words sum up what yoga means to you?
Solitude, community, energy, relaxation, strength, softness (oops, that’s six).

Share something that your students might be surprised to know about you:
I am totally missing the gene that can put together kitset furniture. Even the thought of it puts me in a cold sweat.

Thank you so much, Nikki!

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 2015

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