Each year Inspire Yoga chooses to celebrate a yogi who has stood out in the IYS community. We love to highlight individuals who have shown leadership, passion and integrity in and beyond our teacher training programs. This past year dedicated practitioner and teacher, Dena Wagner was selected. Dena has been practicing at Inspire Yoga since 2012, graduated from our 200 Hour teacher training in 2016 and started teaching shortly after. Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change when we allow it to be and Dena has seen that take place in her self-confidence, physical strength, and in her Voice. Learn more about her below!
N: Do you remember where you were at in your life before you walked in the doors at Inspire Yoga to begin practicing yoga here?
D: I was working 45+ hrs in a 4 day work week feeling very stressed and under appreciated. I had a very tenuous relationship with my supervisor. I had never been a great communicator; my tendency was to bottle it up and then explode. I had incorporated yoga into my gym workout 4 years earlier, but never learned the true side of yoga. I started reading about the 8 limbs and knew that I needed to find a true yoga home. My friend, Mychal, gave me a free class pass. From there I purchased a week of unlimited classes. On my last day I stood in the lobby and knew I had to join because I could not imagine not being able to come back. I knew this was the place for me. After a few months, my boss actually commented on my new found calm (for the most part).
N: You have offered over 30 years as care giver to 6 children while balancing full-time work during part of this time as well. How has your life changed after making the conscious decision to make time for yourself by taking the Inspire Yoga Teacher Training Program?
D: Joining Inspire was the first time I really gave myself a gift. When my three children were growing up I was always focused on what they needed and like most moms I put myself last. We didn’t have much money back then, so I got used to doing without. I never felt that I deserved anything special . I married Matt and gained three more boys! I was secondary caregiver to them; Matt really did most of the work! But I did still have that innate sense of putting others needs first. I like to call myself frugal, but it really is who I am. So to sign up for teacher training was a huge uncomfortable decision. I had never spent that much money on myself other than my car. I just knew that I had to make that investment for my well being. Through teacher training I really came face to face with why I felt undeserving. Why I had difficulty communicating and trusting. It gave me the space and tools to sift through my past and heal some pretty deep wounds. I learned that yoga is not an indulgence but a very necessary ritual for me to stay grounded and balanced in all areas of my life so that I can be my best for everyone around me.
N: 1000 classes is a lot of classes! How has creating this pattern helped you toward any other personal goals?
D: My yoga practice has taught me patience, tenacity and sticktoitiveness. You can’t progress to more advanced asana without building strong foundations and you have to keep coming back to your mat and keep trying keep adjusting. The practice teaches you to pay attention to what is going on around you. Even if a pose starts to feel automatic, if you are not paying attention and lose focus you will come crashing down. You have to build personal goals the same way. 1000 classes has given me the tools to stay focused on my goals especially in the tough times when it feels hopeless.
N: Can you seen any difference in the quality and personal value of your social network before and after InspireYoga/ the teacher training program.
D: Oh yes! I always felt welcome and friendly at the studio in the years prior to teacher training. Since training I feel more open to members and teachers. To get the most out of teacher training you have to give your trust to your fellow students and instructors from day one forging deep friendships. That has carried over to opening up to other members at the studio.
N: They say you can’t buy love, and for that matter you can’t buy happiness… but seriously, is there anything else in the world that comes any closer to these two things than the inspire yoga teacher training program… and seriously, only $2995!
You may not be able to buy love and happiness, but you can buy knowledge and experiences that make you happy and love yourself! That is worth the $2995!
N: As a fellow instructor, I can say that your confidence, style, and teaching have improved so very quickly after completing the program. To what do you attribute this success?
D: Confidence is a hard one that I will be working on for a long time! I literally make every class intention to practice with strength, confidence and grace. I love to research poses and mythology and their meaning and incorporate that into my classes so that I am not just working them out physically. I want to leave them with something to ponder after class. It is so important to keep your personal practice alive. I make sure to attend all the different styles and teachers at Inspire. I know I have absorbed different elements from all of the teachers and they are blending into my own style. Plus, I have the best mentors and teachers by my side at Inspire.