We asked each of our teachers a few questions to get to know them better!
Meet Wendy Smith-Ozug!
When did yoga first become a part of your life?
I first started practicing yoga in 2011. Growing up, I was a gymnast and a weight-lifter. I started coaching gymnastics in my early 20's. Both Gymnastics and Weight Lifting were very hard on my body. I was always in a lot of pain. A friend invited me to a Karma Yoga class...and I never looked back. I was hooked. I loved everything about the practice; especially how relaxed I felt during and after class.
When did you begin teaching? What made you decide to progress from student to teacher?
I am a relatively new teacher. I started teaching in September of 2017. I was practicing yoga, in a studio in Wisconsin, a few times a week as well as practicing daily in my home. My friends and family kept encouraging me to become a teacher. I'm not sure why I waited so long. Being a yoga instructor is so fulfilling and brings so much joy into my life. I am just as passionate about teaching as I am about learning. I will be a forever student. Theres is so much to learn in yoga and in life. I love to share my practice of yoga with others. It is awe-inspiring to watch others as they grow in their yoga practice. I love the community that yoga brings. I am so blessed to be part of that community.
What is your personal practice and practice that you teach?
I think yoga can be very personal; it can provide a much needed release, it can energize you, ground you, comfort you. I try to take at least 30 minutes each day to practice Hatha Yoga in my home. I use this time to practice asanas as well as meditation. I feel so refreshed and ready to take on the day after this practice. Aerial Yoga is a passion of mine. I was invited to participate in a pilot aerial class in 2012 and fell in love. Practicing yoga in the air gives you a feeling like nothing you have ever felt. Aerial yoga is not just a "good workout". Aerial yoga gives me the opportunity to play, to explore, to create; things we sometimes forget to do as adults.
If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be and why?
Being an animal rescuer, advocate and foster home has given me a "behind the scenes" look into the animal world. If I had to choose to be one animal, I would choose to be a dog; no specific breed, just a good old mutt. I have witnessed dogs that have been so shut down, due to abuse and neglect, begin to trust again; begin to blossom. They have this innate sense of forgiveness. They forgive so easily, they move on, move forward, they get on with life. They don't let their abusive pasts get in the way of their new beginnings. I have learned so much from the dogs that we have brought into our home. They have helped me be more patient, loving, empathic, sympathetic, compassionate. They have helped me be a better person.
What is your favorite quote?
I get so much goodness, love and inspiration from quotes. I am always jotting quotes down in my phone or in my notebooks. I always end a yoga class with a thought or a quote. It is so hard for me to pick a favorite quote, but I have narrowed it down to two.
"I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody." - Lily Tomlin
"Saving the life of one animal won't change the world, but the world will certainly change for that one animal." - Unknown Author
I am definitely not one to stand idly by and watch. I am a "fixer" a "helper" by nature. I am sure that this is why these quotes have resonated so deeply within me.
When to practice with you at the owl?
I teach Aerial Yoga at Grey Owl on Tuesday Mornings at 10:30am. I hope you'll join me and find some time to play and explore in the fabric.