How we met:
Graylin is an elementary school librarian, a yoga studio owner and teacher, and she believes in the power of practice.
Graylin contacted me after seeing Morgan’s Dynamo post. She is doing an amazing job at balancing her life of teaching in a studio and in a school. I am inspired by her honesty, her determination, and the way she’s put herself out there by starting her own business. May we all gain balance of “going with the flow” and enduring unpleasant moments on our journeys.
This is Dynamo interview #22. Dynamo people are power-houses, movers, and pave the way. They come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. You are one of them. Graylin is one of them. I am honored to share her story and help it ripple to another. My belief is that telling our stories empowers us and inspires others in their own healthy journeys. When we listen to each other, we are more patient, more kind, and more willing to continue listening. Together we rock! Do you thing, find your own groove, and inspire the world.
As a school librarian, yoga teacher, and studio owner, how do you balance a healthy lifestyle?
I am forever grateful for what we call a “balanced calendar” in education. I get two weeks off every nine weeks and eight weeks in the summer. I use these breaks to recharge both mentally and physically and attend trainings at my favorite studio, Asheville Yoga Center, in Asheville, North Carolina. In my experience, healthy living is easiest when you think ahead and stick to a schedule. For example, I wake up every morning at 5:00am, work on my blog until 5:30, do an hour yoga practice, then shower and get to work by 7:45am. I get home in time to take my dogs to the park, get dinner mostly done then I go teach a yoga class. It’s a busy day, but I manage to get everything accomplished!
I recently listened to a podcast with Jessica Turner, author of The Fringe Hours. I realize that her philosophy is very similar to my own. You must steal away those unexpected pockets of time in order to build a healthier and happier you. Little things make a huge difference. Things like freezing your smoothie ingredients together in individual baggies—dump whole thing in blender with some almond milk and you’re good to go. I clean the house on Friday afternoons so that I can enjoy it through the weekend. I totally let it go during the week. It’s all about choices. Sometimes you have to be okay with the floors being covered in dog hair so that you can get in a full yoga practice in that day.
How has being a yogi helped you in your day-job as a librarian?
Yoga has taught me to endure situations that I consider unpleasant, tedious, or boring. I love working with children, but it can be tedious, boring, and unpleasant at times. Sorry, I’m just being honest. It’s not always rosy, but the hard times pass. Just like in class when you’re holding Warrior II for a horrific length of time. It passes and you can get on to the good of it.
Who inspires you?
There is no possible way I can choose one person. I am inspired so much by my yoga students. They are so supportive and I am so grateful for them. I am inspired by the kids at school. Their funny comments and positive attitudes are relentless. And I am forever inspired by the vibrant yoga community on Instagram. I know that it is at times controversial, but I am confident that participating in the Instagram yoga game has inspired me to be a better teacher and practitioner. I am inspired by my friends and family, fellow yoga instructors both local and international, my teachers, and my dogs.
What is a yoga lesson you’ve learned on-the-mat that’s made the biggest difference off-the-mat?
You can’t rush things, in life and on the yoga mat. Things happen when they are supposed to happen. Best said with one of my favorite quotes: “Trust the timing of your life.”
How has being a librarian made you a better person?
I am a very impatient person by nature and having to deal with 20+ five year olds trying to pick a library book for the week will change you that’s for sure. I have learned patience, compassion, and how to love those who may not show you love. Also, I know that I am a better person every time I open a beautiful picture book and stare at those gorgeous illustrations.
What is a fear you had to overcome in starting your yoga studio?
That nobody would walk in the door. I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. When you do something like this, people know about it and when you fail, they know about it for sure.
What have you learned from interacting with so many different people daily?
Flexibility is so important. It sounds so cliché, but life is short and, for the most part, my problems and frustrations are teeny tiny and not worth anxiety. My personality loves a rigid schedule. I love structure. I am forever learning to “go with the flow” and embrace change.
What has been a surprise blessing or lesson that has come to you in the past year?
In August of 2014, we bought a house. However, it was not just any house. I never in my life thought I would have this house and this life. It is by far one of my favorite houses in town and has been for a long while. Since 2011, we had lived across the street from it…drooling over it. It wasn’t on the market, we just asked if the owner was thinking of selling, he was, and he did…to us!
Has there been a time, feeling, or situation in your life that your yoga practice has helped heal?
While living abroad, yoga was great. I was able to take it everywhere! It provided some much needed consistency.
How has your influence affected others?
It is hard for me to answer this question because I hesitate to speak for others. I can only hope that my love for the yoga practice has been contagious. Mostly, I hope there are students out there that have major fun in my classes.
What is a favorite piece of advice you’ve received?
Do the practice. Just practice. Sri. K Pattabhi Jois said that yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory. Just do your practice, every day, whenever you can. The rest will come.
How has being a teacher made you appreciate others’ health journeys?
Teaching and practicing yoga consistently for seven years makes me appreciate just how long it takes to get comfortable with something. I still feel like a beginner is so many ways and honestly, I hope that feeling never goes away. If you operate from a beginner’s mindset, whether as a teacher or practitioner, you are better connected to your students.
What are three goals you have right now?
- To get my inversions away from the wall and into the center of the room.
- To continue for education. I am over halfway through my 500hr teacher training and I can’t wait to finish.
- To better understand the concept of patience in all aspects of my life: yoga, teaching, etc.
What is a favorite book and why?
While I hesitate to already put it up there on the list, I recently read Alexandra Fuller’s latest memoir, Leaving Before the Rains Come. It blew me away. I have never read a book that was so honest, vivid, and entertaining at the same time. Just read it. Now.
(Disclaimer: The above link is an affiliate link to Amazon and if you purchase something through this link I will receive a few pennies.)
Do you have advice you’d share with those just starting a yoga practice?
If you’re interested in trying yoga, I suggest looking at some online classes, podcasts, videos, etc. Maybe just watching them, not following along. I recommend sites like YogaGlo, Cody App, Yoga with Adrienne, and Ekhart Yoga. Weird I know. Most people would just say, “go try a class!” But, in my opinion, it’s better to get an idea of what you’re in for beforehand. If you like what you see on these, go for it at your local studio. Look for classes that are basic or level 1. If you’re totally new to yoga, avoid anything that has “vinyasa” in the title. You’ll just feel disgruntled.
What do you want to be remembered for?
As a yoga teacher: for kindness and approachability. I want to make people feel comfortable when they come to my studio. Yoga can be very intimidating and that’s a shame. I admit that it has a lot of barriers to entry unlike a typical exercise class. But that’s because it is NOT a typical exercise class. It is a practice that takes time, patience, and presence to maintain.
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All photographs property of Graylin Porter