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Yoga Talk: 5 Minutes With Dr Trish Corley

Of yoga teacher training, struggling with poses and gym bag essentials

Photos: New Angle Yoga


Occasionally, she circled the class, correcting and guiding us deeper into our poses. 

My first meeting with Dr Trish Corley went something like this:

At 9:05am, I found myself scrambling into her vinyasa class just in the nick of time. I rarely turn up late for yoga classes so this was a rarity.

As I settled myself down on a vacant mat, our eyes met and she smiled at me without skipping a beat. We eased gently into breathing exercises, combating the last vestiges of sleepiness.

Her class — a flowy combination of breath-led asanas — was challenging without leaving any of us heaving in exhaustion. The challenge came in the sheer focus required in moving seamlessly between poses. Slowly and steadily.

Occasionally, she circled the class, correcting and guiding us deeper into our poses. Most interesting of all, she encouraged everybody to use props like the yoga block.

As a regular practitioner, I sometimes prided myself on not having to use the props, but little had I realise what I was missing out. Turns out, a little block made a world of difference to my half moon pose!


Dr Trish first started taking yoga classes at a gym as a way to relax.

To glean more into the world of yoga and teaching yoga, we sat Dr Trish down for a chat:

How and when did your yoga journey start?

I started taking yoga classes at my gym as a way to relax when I was in physiotherapy school. I continued on and off to complement my marathon training.

When I moved to Houston in 2007, I found YogaOne and that is when my journey really began. I came to realise yoga is more than just stretching and strengthening my body. I was drawn to the lessons I could also take off the mat and into my life. 

Walk us through an average day in your life as a Yoga teacher.

What I love about my life as a yoga teacher is that no day is quite like the next! A typical day includes teaching a yoga class or two, practicing yoga (either at home or at a studio), meditating (even if just for 5 minutes), a lunch meeting with friends/colleagues (in the yoga community; these seem to be synonymous), time at my computer to schedule workshops and develop content for trainings, dinner with my husband, and a little bit of Netflix…ok, last night there was a lot of Netflix.

What’s something people don’t know about being a yoga teacher?

Most people don’t know that you don’t need to able to a headstand or put your foot on behind your head in order to be a great yoga teacher.

The most inspiring teachers are the ones who relate to their students and reveal the truth that sometimes they struggle and sometimes they shine…just like real people!

We know you’ll be teaching yoga teacher training soon. What can students expect in a teacher training session that’s led by you?

As a yoga teacher and a doctor of physical therapy, I combine my experience and passion in yoga, anatomy and teaching into my program. 
In my yoga teacher training, students can expect to assess their own strengths through yoga, meditation and self-inquiry, so that they can confidently lead a group in any setting, including a yoga class!
Students can also expect to learn the Baptiste yoga sequence including the alignment and benefits of each pose; how to modify the poses for anybody, and how to assist students with supportive hands-on assists. 
We will also explore the history, business, and ethics of yoga. Most importantly, we will connect and have fun!
A peek into her gym bag.

Show us what’s in your yoga/gym bag! What are some items you can’t live without?

My Lululemon backpack goes just about everywhere with me as I am usually on the go.
Inside: yoga pants, sports bra, and tank (for teaching in after I practice in the yoga clothes I am currently wearing); my Macbook air (my office), headphones, cosmetic kit, the book I am currently reading “The Voice of Knowledge” by Don Miguel Ruiz, Anatomy Training Manual from recent training, wallet, lipstick and water bottle — I always aim to stay hydrated!

What’s one thing you wish you knew, when you first started practicing yoga?

I wish I knew that in trying to do the pose right, I was creating more of a struggle for myself. When I practice now, I discover ways to step outside my comfort zone without the struggle. As my teacher Baron Baptiste puts it, “work easy.”

What’s your favourite yoga asana? And why?

Handstands!  They sort of always have been. I just love being upside down! They help me gain energy and joy! I focus on aligning my body to create a sense of weightlessness in my handstand. This helps clear my head!

Leave our readers with one fitness advice.

People often ask me when is the best form of exercise. While yoga provides strength, flexibility, balance, cardiovascular endurance, and peace of mind, if you enjoy something else more, do that!  Make exercise fun!  
More information here.