Tell us a little about you?
That's such a hard question. I have trouble finding a good balance between too much and not enough but I'll do my best. I've always wanted to make people feel happy. From my early childhood to these days, I've thrived by taking care of others, often forgetting to take care of myself. I've learned to do that recently. Hi! I'm Manon, a highly sensitive person from France that decided to move to Canada in 2013. Since then, I've traveled, went back to France for 2 and a half years and then moved back here with my cat Gustave to be with my partner (huband!). Besides my practice, I LOVE to spend time with my family and friends and to take care of them. You'll often see me baking so I'm sure everyone has something to eat when they come over. I also spend a lot of time with my cat (of 18,7 pounds) and I ride my bike everywhere around town when it's not snowing.
How has yoga impacted your life and helped you get through challenges?
I started yoga in my early twenties. I had just moved out of my Mom's house in a rural town in France to go directly to another country: Canada. I've always been very anxious and sensitive and I started yoga because I had trouble sleeping and I wanted to find tools that could help me not be stuck in my mind and body when I was overwhelmed. I've found much more than that. The practice helped me reconnect with my body and appreciate it for what it allowed me to do. I suffered from eating disorders in my late teens and not being at war with myself felt impossible back then. I also found a community to be surrounded by and tools to learn how to navigate through my (big) emotions and it felt so good. I've recently been confronted with grief and I've realized how much it has helped me to be surrounded by my loved ones but also to be able to dig deep into my body through my practice, whether it was a gentle or a more dynamic one.
You've traveled and practiced yoga in many places. What is something that we can add to the yoga community in North America to move the culture forward?
Education. Not only in North America but in Occidental culture, we should be more aware of what yoga is and where it comes from so we can teach it with a lot more respect and humbleness. We need to continue learning and honoring what yoga represents.
What is the most valuable lesson this journey has taught you?
I know nothing. And it's ok. I will love being a student forever! As I grow, my practice and my teaching also grow but there will always be something for me to learn and refine. This applies to yoga but also to my life in general. I used to beat myself up for not being "the best" (whatever "best" means) and now I'm mastering the art of being kind with myself by accepting where I am at any given moment so I allow myself to do/be better instead of being stuck under the pressure I put on myself.
What do you think it would take for us to move forward as a collective?
The community. By building a strong and intertwined community, we can build a sturdy family and think as a group about what can make the world a better place. We need different people who share the same beliefs but who also have different paths and life stories so we will grow stronger through the difference and the wisdom that everyone carries with them.
What do you want to get across in your teaching and how do you take those teachings and practice them yourself?
I feel like I'm repeating myself but: kindness and respect towards me, my thoughts, my body. Also, it may sound cliché but it made me realize that, yes, it's true, the journey is far more important than the destination. I started yoga with a very physical/athletic approach (like many people) and the more I practiced, the more I let it touch my soul in a much more profound way. When I teach asanas, I often like to remind my students that the posture is not really important but the message behind it is. Some days, we might feel very energetic whereas other days even standing can be a challenge and what matters the most is that we listen carefully and adjust our practice to our needs. To put it in a few words: What do I need and how can I meet my needs today?