Cathleen Wasielewski (E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) is the real deal. Without question, her teachings will change your life. She has 100% changed mine. I met Cathy at Greener Postures Yoga Studio in South Portland, Maine. Some people you instantly connect with and for me, Cathy was one. A mutual smile and "Hi Jessica" and "Hi Cathy" immediately fills me with happiness, hope and knowing I'm exactly where I am supposed to be. For me to share Cathy's story is an honor. She influences and encourages me to follow my path through her teachings, which has guided me in the creation of Mindbosa.
What inspired you to become a Yoga Instructor?
Inspiration- the “Ah-Ha” moments of being truly present, embodied and in the real knowing of clarity and peace. My very first studio yoga class was it. It was a sweaty Hatha practice where I was completely out of my comfort zone of being able to control anything that was happening at the moment. My body was experiencing a stamina it had never known, my mind was being blown away with the clarity of letting the thoughts just pass through and my spirit was standing back and observing it all with a sense of fun and joy and an element of saying to me “Here you are! Welcome home!”
Before this practice of yoga I had experienced all kinds of physical exercise, dance and had always loved being in my body and moving. This was something different. There was an intellectually incomprehensible energy to what I was feeling and I wanted more. I continued to study yoga asana in its many disciplines and presentations and always found this sense of returning home to balance, peace and clarity. I just kept going and the practice had led me to the deeper layers of spirituality and meditation. Each practice is a new discovery and is a continued inspiration to keep going. Teaching is a way to continue my study and share the conversations with all.
Can you tell us about your educational experiences and personal journey to becoming an Instructor?
I began with heated Hatha practice and over time moved toward a more advanced physical practice. As I longed to learn more I experienced my first heated vinyasa practice. As vinyasa is based in movement with breath I became more interested in learning how this affected my own body as well as the experience of others. I went to experience a week of training with a renowned teacher of Prana Vinyasa Shiva Rea and was in love with the depths she taught. From that time I vowed to explore deeper education. I studied to become a classroom assistant in 2009 so that I could work hands on with students and their bodies to assist in enhancing the energy of the poses. From there I studied with Baron Baptiste in upstate New York for my first teacher training. It was intense and hard and incredible. It opened me up. I continued for 2 more weeks of education in the Baptiste Methodology and also trained in a 200hr Yoga Alliance training in Power Flow. I became certified in 2012 but had been teaching nearly 2 years before that.
I became a kind of training junkie and wanted to experience the teachings of all different kinds of yoga and did so. I trained and studied with Todd Norian, Rolf Gates, Anodea Judith as well as more studies with Roberto Lim and Shiva Rea. My interest in Yin Yoga, a deeper still practice of embodiment through connective tissue work, brought me to study with Josh Summers in 2014 and advanced training with Bernie Clark in the summer of 2016. It has been Mind blowing.
I furthered my education by engaging in a 2nd 200hr certification with Johanna Bell of Sonic Yoga in New York City in 2014 and continued on with Johanna’s Illumina Yoga training to received my advanced 500hr certification in 2017.
I continue to study with teachers of many yoga disciplines to encompass the wider scope of all that is yoga- asana and beyond.
Currently, I am enrolled at the Academy of Intuition Medicine based in Mill Valley, California. This education will continue over the next couple of years. The intuition medicine model uses subtle body mapping based on the ancient philosophy and teachings of yoga to bring awareness to health through understanding energy principles.
When did you realize your passion for yoga and healing would become a career path?
Almost immediately. Teaching is an evolution of a career in healthcare that I practiced for over 25 years. I worked at the retail level as a registered pharmacist for many years and in that time engaged in self and formal studies related to natural and alternative medicines and nutrition. With my love of embodiment and movement, Yoga practice helped me to make the link between health and living healthy and so the process continued with yogic study.
What do you like to do outside of work that directly impacts your practice and teachings?
Study study study …with all the information that I can get my hands on. I love to read and immerse myself both intellectually and experientially.
I live my life. I spend time in nature. I spend time with my family and friends and nurturing relationships. I engage in conversations of all kinds of depth and learning. Life is a platform for yoga. It teaches us about ourselves and how to gain the depth of connection and love.
What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as an Instructor? Yogi?
Challenge: overcoming fear on all levels. I used to think I wasn’t normal. I seemed to look at the world in a different way than what I perceived other people around me did. I was always working from my feeling sense, nature and the ground. Constructs of our society were so confusing to me in that so many people seemed to do things that they weren’t happy doing. I was afraid of never finding my Self. I thought that I needed to live my life in the way that others did, even though it didn’t feel good. I kept quiet and had trouble finding my voice. I was afraid to be different.
The challenge in yoga practice is the same as life. When I discovered the practices of coming to my mat I came face to face with myself and my fears. I came to Truth by facing them one breath at a time.
How important is having a daily routine?
Daily routine is the mainstay of growth. The practices of yoga are methods to continuously grow our awareness of clearing the clutter that life imparts upon us. Life won’t stop…it will continue to push on us and challenge us and yoga is called a practice because life is continuous and ever-changing. We will continue to grow in spite of ourselves but yoga gives the tools for a smoother ride. A ride of learning our spirits, our capabilities, our strength and our light.
What is one piece of advice you would offer any individual contemplating beginning a yoga practice?
Yoga practice will be everything you always wanted and everything you never wanted. It will feel like bliss and it will feel like the most difficult thing you ever do. It grows your understanding of your Self. There is no wrong way to practice the many and all encompassing aspects of yoga. Yoga is a teaching for personal freedom and love. Keep going!!!!! You will find you.
Whatever yoga practices make sense to you, study that as that is your personal path to your own light.
What is your proudest personal and professional accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is in finding my Truth and speaking it by following my own heart and interests. Before teaching yoga I couldn’t even speak in front of a small group of friends without anxiety and fear. Now I speak loud and clear from my heart and Spirit.
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
There are so many favorites that I have, but I think the one that has been most inspirational for me is a quote that comes from a writing called “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. The entire writing is a continuing inspiration for me. It says:
“It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you can stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.”
“I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments”
In one word, describe yourself:
Yin Yoga & Meditation at Greener Postures Yoga, South Portland, ME. Fridays 2:15pm-3:30pm