Meet Robin

yogi + mover + mom
Robin Penney

Robin Penney

Yoga Teacher - E-RYT 200 and RYT 500

As much as I’m a teacher, I’m also a lifelong student and practitioner of yoga. What I offer as a guide is simply what I have learned as student on the path of modern yoga. Here’s a little about how I approach the practice and how I work within the framework with students.

My mission as a yoga teacher is to help you gain greater body/mind awareness, to be OKAY with yourself, and to manage energy in your life using the practices of breathwork, mindful movement, and meditation. As a parent, it is very important to me to pass along tools that can be used in the family for freakout moments! So that is a big part of the practice, to come back to center when things get crazy.

 

I help yogis create more space in their bodies and minds, see the patterns in their behaviors, and to feel a sense of connection between their individual experience and deeper meaning. I love to deconstruct yoga postures into bite-sized chunks that can be consumed and practiced over time. I teach clear actions in the body within a smart flow practice, which has the cadence and rhythm of the breath. In this way, the practice has integrity and intelligence, while it is also experienced as a deeply moving experience.

I use the asana practice as a training ground for exploring mental and emotional patterns and behaviors within the self and with others off the mat. I incorporate the rich traditions of yoga philosophy through story, mantra, breathwork, and meditation/journaling into my teaching

 

The experience of yoga is, to me, a deeply healing practice that feels good in the body/mind, much like “coming home.” It strengthens and fortifies us for challenges by helping us find our center when things get rough. It reminds us that we are not alone.

 

After practicing yoga for over a decade, I studied and received my RYT-200 certificate through the Anusara method in 2012. Though I do not strictly teach the Anusara method, I still very much teach the key actions in the body that was a gift from that system. I went on to receive my RYT-500 Advanced certification from the Alchemy of Flow and Form program with Christina Sell and Gioconda Parker in 2017. I also have a 75-hour Advanced certificate in the Kula Flow style via Schuyler Grant, and have studied many other styles, including Iyengar, Moksha, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative, and various meditation techniques.

My passion is the intersection of the Vinyasa breath-based practice and the detailed and refined actions we can take the in the body to more fully connect to our Self, so most of my study is directed in that area. I’ve also studied on a personal level in my own practice (which I then share with my students) the Yoga Tune Up method using self-massage balls, essential oils, and other various movement modalities to increase tissue regeneration and to modify for different bodies and ranges of motion.

I relocated in 2015 from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, where I taught at Nova Yoga studio, and I now live in the Santa Cruz, California area where I teach private yoga + movement lessons and group classes. Along with me are my husband and two teenage children, who keep me very busy.

I’m so thrilled that you’re embarking further on the journey. Please start with one of my complimentary videos to connect to your body/mind, here on my Community. Let’s flow with breath and meaning!

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My Story

Anyone who knows me would describe me as someone who is highly organized and gets a lot done. Not the most common description for a yogi, but that is me nonetheless. I’m also described as compassionate, strong, and calm, but those attributes have taken some time to expand in me. I have my yoga practice to thank for that.

I am incredibly passionate about bringing the benefits of yoga to my fellow multi-taskers in a way meets them where they are, gives them options, and helps them find ways to expand their physical, mental, and spiritual capacity over time. I get to say, “Hey, I know you think you can’t do this arm balance today…I hear you! So FOCUS. Try THIS variation that might work better, use this block/strap/Jedi mind trick and see what you get out of it. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll try something else…even something that might be incredibly restorative that delivers the same benefits as pose X, while we contemplate how to be nice to ourselves, even when we can’t do X today. Work on that this week, and then next week, something else might open up.”

I believe that introducing more people to the deeply healing benefits of yoga through step-by-step pose variations and breakdowns within a fully breath-based Vinyasa flow practice has the power to completely transform our inner and outer experience. Focusing on one thing at a time and seeing the connections between how we move our bodies, how we treat ourselves in our practice, and our tendencies off the mat can show us a lot about who we are and where imbalances hang out. And we can use that as fuel for transformation.

Being super productive and hard-working aren’t inherently negative qualities, but left unchecked they created a huge amount of imbalance in me. I worked in the software industry for many years and that world fed my perfectionistic nature. There was always more work to do, more email to deal with, more meetings to attend. When my children were very young, this created a huge strain on my marriage and my own feelings of self-worth. I struggled with headaches, lack of sleep, and pain in my hips, shoulders, and low back.

Yoga changed all of that.

 

I had dabbled in yoga here and there in my 20s, but it wasn’t until I had hit a wall at work and in my personal life that yoga really had a profound impact on my relationship with myself. I started to understand that I WAS okay, I WAS strong and graceful and capable, but that I needed to break away from work a little more and be on the mat with myself, to build in the ritual of practice. I had to put in effort in a different way than always sitting at a computer, controlling life from a screen. I had to turn INWARD.

My yoga practice was renewed in the beautiful breath-based world of Vinyasa flow. I loved it, and soon was craving more. I wanted to learn how to unlock things like arm balances, inversions, and backbends in my practice. It was when I started practicing Anusara Yoga that I learned how to apply key actions in the body to create more stability and freedom that everything changed.  My abilities expanded, AND I noticed how my practice related to my life off the mat. I learned to slow WAY down, to re-learn how to use my body, to notice how small changes could have profound effects, on and off the mat. I started teaching, and this approach of mindful movement within the Vinyasa practice has been my baseline throughout my teaching career.

I offer all of my teachings from a deeply nurturing and supportive place.

I’m known for my attention to each student, either in a private session or in group classes. One of my specialties is my ability to meet students where they are and make challenging postures come within the realm of possibility through variations, modifications, and skill builders. This allows me to teach the aspects of yoga that will be most beneficial to the student, helping them progress in their practice beyond where they thought was possible. I just love teaching students to find breakthroughs!

PHILOSOPHY

Here are things I believe:

Systems work. As much as I want to do things, it’s pretty easy to be lazy and get overwhelmed with choices. So a “day-by-day” assignment is crucial. Or going to class. Put it in your calendar. Otherwise, nothing gets done.

Stay inspired. I need to keep steady voices in my psyche or I can go down the rabbit hole of to-do lists and disconnected logic.

Pain is connected to food, movement, stress, sleep, water, and emotion.

Calm is a state to cultivate.

Living = Time with family + enjoying the space and feeling of home + adventuring + seeing the world + connection with friends + being real + learning new things + expanding capabilities + working hard at what you love + being open to spirit + lifting others up + relaxing and letting ease in.

Daily practice of some kind is nurturing.

Teaching is a mindful practice.

The body feeds and affects the mind. And vice versa.

Movement is good. Variation is good. Mobility is good.

Stillness is good. Control is good.

Learning to create lines of energy in the body allows you to create lines of energy in life.

Perfect is the enemy of the good.

People are not so scary.

I am influenced by the energy around me. And I can create energy.

Sound (voice, tone, vibration) has a profound effect.

Honesty is important.

Seeing nature is a gift.

Walking in the same direction as another is unifying. As is practicing on the mat together.

Working with energetic themes through the physical body helps insights land.

Stories are important. Our lives echo and evolve the collective consciousness and those who came before us.

Love and intimacy are hard and confronting.

Screen time must (and can) be limited. Live in real life.

Science is cool.

Faith is cool.

Questioning is cool.

Trust is cool.

Intentions + follow through = transformation

Simple is beautiful.

The environment around us influences our mental state. Beauty and clean lines are important.

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