In today's interview series, we are honored to introduce you to an incredibly inspirational yoga teacher, Russelle Beardon, who is co-hosting 3 back to back events at Suncokret: "Yoga Banquet Event" from 12-18th July, "Yearning for Yin Yoga" from 19-25 July and "Transcendence" from 26 July - 1st August.
Tell us a little about yourself; what are some things you love or love to do?
I adore my children and grandchildren. To observe my children equipped with their own deep well spring of love, patience, empathy, laughter and optimism brings me great joy. Being invited into their lives, feeling welcome, feeling I have something to share is hard to describe…messing about with my children and grandchildren, at the beach - heaven.
I love to cook and I love to eat! Shopping for fresh produce, herbs spices and good wine especially when time and coin are plentiful. I can be completely absorbed in my appreciation of a deep purple aubergine… shiny, smooth and heavy in my hand full of promise for the plate!
How did you get into yoga?
18 years ago a friend took me to a hatha class in a dusty church hall in the middle of winter, it was cold and the venue, well it was uninspired really, I was dubious about what to expect. Ros and Ross, the two teachers transformed the space with their passion and experience and deep, deep knowledge, consequently I was transformed from that moment – I can still easily recall the words I heard, the challenges I experienced and the feelings that rose up and the euphoric sense of being raised up that stayed with me after the class. It delights me that as fate works, Ros and Ross have the most beautiful shala and yoga school in my home town, so I continue to learn from them.
What was your life like before yoga?
I was not long out of my marriage, a little battle scarred and I was on a mission, “striving” is the word that comes to mind. I felt like I had to “strive to arrive”. I was quite tough (you know, proving myself to the world, trying to be invincible) and my thinking was very black and white and my opinions very clear, very strong, and very openly expressed…”this is right…. and this is wrong…”
What would you say is the one best thing about yoga?
Yoga raised my consciousness. I quickly started to feel differently, think differently and act differently. I felt more aware, more conscious of the way I carried myself, my posture, more conscious of what I ate, what I conveyed to the world, more conscious of the chatter in my mind (mostly critical) more conscious of my conduct. I started to tune in to the impact of my thoughts and words, on others, and on myself. Even though I started with asana…the other elements of yoga had no choice but to join in the change.
What style of yoga would you do / teach if you weren’t doing / teaching your current style?
I wouldn’t change, I teach what I practice and practice what I teach, and it comes from the heart. I am grateful for the diversity in my teaching responsibilities.
What was your most embarrassing class teaching / group event experience?
Everyone knows that yoga can bring on sudden and unexpected bodily sounds right? So to all the women reading this, you know the sensations that can occur when you have been in something like happy baby….hips opening, everything opening…and then you come back up……the anxiety about that “thwwwwooook” suctioning sound as you close the vault?? Well let’s just say as a teacher….if this happens when you are leading the class, (and yes it was a mixed gender class) there are two choices…you can die of embarrassment or use it as an opportunity to have a laugh and normalize it for everyone….taking the saying of “”lead by example” to another level.
So if you find yourself giving “full expression” in the pose, know that it is normal… you can just blame the mat and move on with a laugh.
What was your best class teaching / group event experience?
The very first yoga class I taught, that galvanising realization of the privilege and the honor to step out of the class participation - to the front of the class to lead. In savasana, in every class I am humbled by the trust and surrender openly shared by the students, with each other and with me as their teacher.
Besides yoga what is your favorite thing?
The ocean, definitely the ocean. I live at the beach and the sound the smell and the power of the ocean fuels me. In summer, in winter, all year around, at night, in the day, wind, calm, full moon - ohm yes, full moon rising over the ocean….the tides, the changing color and the power, the vast capacity of the ocean to swallow us up, wash away worries, support and nourish….definitely the ocean.
What was your favorite thing about coming to Suncokret as retreat guest?
Experiencing Hvar and all its beauty, connecting with Evening and Stipe, the incredible food prepared with love and sharing this with all the sadhakas. For me the most memorable element was forming a bond with Evening (xx)
Circumstances as they were, I was very unwell and unable to practice for a few days. Despite feeling miserable physically, it provided an opportunity that may otherwise never have eventuated, Evening checked in with me several times each day, to talk. I felt moved, empowered, loved and healed by Evening. She was able to really see me as I was at that time, and she encouraged me to recognize and stand in my own power, not to fear it, to be brave, listen in and make choices for my greater good.
What do you hope guests will gain by attending your event at Suncokret? (How do you hope to enhance the retreat experience with your particular offerings?)
It is my great hope that anyone who attends a retreat at Suncokret during my time as a guest yoga teacher might experience something similarly meaningful by sharing the experience with others, finding a moment of awakening, realization and connection to the self, moving off the mat into the world and taking that spark to light a life with greater clarity and ease.
How did you come up with the retreat event theme you are co-hosting at Suncokret?
My teachers said teach from your heart and find your own voice. These words inspire my teaching always. My experience of yoga has been like a banquet, and a banquet is enhanced when shared with friends! The beautiful journey of yin and a life full of transitions… these things I wanted to explore and share with others.
Why would attending your particular event be beneficial to the participants who join?
Participating in any of the seasons retreats at Suncokret will lift participants up…I don’t see that my events are any more or less in value and benefit than any other…we attract the right students to what we each have to offer… I would just say book! Come to Suncokret this season you will love it.
Is there any ideal way retreat participants can better prepare themselves for their retreat time with you?
Travel light, live light, share the light be the light!
At the end of the event week, what is the one thing you hope retreat participants will walk away feeling?
What advice would you give to aspiring yoga teachers who would like to lead retreats?
Look to those who have experience in leading retreats, reflect on your own experiences participating in retreats, and if fate intervenes and provides you with an opportunity, take it, move beyond doubts and put your whole self in, explore it, learn from it and express your gratitude as you feel it, when you feel it, wherever you feel it.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue to marvel at the lives of my children and grandchildren, to travel, to teach, to remain curious, to keep learning and share a meaningful loving existence with those who enter my life.
For more information about upcoming events with Russelle, please visit the following links: