This is part 6 of our traveling yoga teacher interview series. Each Wednesday we will release a new interview of a different traveling yoga teacher. If you know someone who would be a good candidate – email us at TheYogaNomads@gmail.com.
Today we will learn and be inspired by Ellen, an environmental activist who teaches yoga in an effort to inspire others to create more union in their lives. Ellen is the founder of Yoga in Your Park, an organization committed to building connections to the natural world through yoga. She sees practicing yoga outside as a way for humans to engage in a healthy relationship with the earth and is passionate about sharing her message.
If you have additional questions for Ellen, please leave a comment below!
What was your life like before starting Yoga In Your Park?
I was having a pretty great adventure… I was a cook on a boat, scaring the Downeast Friendship Sloop Charter clients with my chanting at night on the deck. I did Yoga in Your Park out of Acadia National Park for 6 years as a hobby before I took it seriously as my life’s passion.
Let’s say you’re at a social event and someone asks you “what do you do” – how would you respond?
I am the program director for Yoga In Your Park. We are all about building connections to the natural world through yoga. Our professionally-led yoga classes are conducted outdoors in parklands and open spaces everywhere. They’re, fun, affordable, and designed for all ability levels.
We gently encourage participants to cultivate environmentally-aware habits throughout their lives in order to expand this environmental outreach into the world in non-confrontational, result-oriented ways.
And of course, we want to create income opportunities for experienced yoga instructors, plus sustainable revenue streams for YIYP through class fees, merchandising, seminars and teacher-training events. If you want to teach for us, click here.
What does your typical day look like? Any positive routines?
Absolutely! I depend on my routines – its so simple, but I actually wrote it on a post it note and put it on my wall to remember:
Morning —-> Wake up – meditate – dance to one song – eat – shower
Daytime —> work – make money – song writing – Yoga in Your Park
Evening —-> Exercise – gratitude list – meditate
What is a recent purchase under $100 that has had a huge impact on you?
Great questions! I just bought fractionated coconut oil from DoTERRA. My skin is thanking me for using it daily.
You’re a big fan of practicing yoga outside – why is that?
For one, it makes me feel incredibly good. Imagine looking skyward after a sunset yoga class in your favorite park or open space. The clouds are brilliant orange and pink. A breeze is rustling your hair as the evening air cools the warmth your body has generated during your practice. Gazing inward, you have never felt more at peace, invigorated and connected to the natural world than you feel at this moment. This is Yoga in Your Park.
Yoga as activism is incredibly simple in practice: go outside, breathe and do yoga
Second, I see yoga outside as environmental activism. Yoga as activism is incredibly simple in practice: go outside, breathe and do yoga. But it is multi-faceted in its positive philosophical, non-confrontational and results-oriented approach based in simple loving awareness. I believe humans can be in healthy relationship to the earth again simply by entering into direct contact with their experience outside.
When hiring a yoga teacher, what are you looking for? Tips to stand out?
Yoga in Your Park is unique in that we hire yoga teachers who are teaching yoga as union (connection to self, other, nature, source) and are incredibly passionate about the care of the earth. This is what I am listening for in Yoga in Your park interviews:
- Can you confidently teach a class designed to bring a person into greater connection?
- Are you deeply committed to something in your life?
- What makes your yoga yours? How do you help your students find their sense of connection?
- Do you have a felt sense of the natural world that you can describe to me?
- Is what you care about aligned with what we care about and if so, are you delivering your message in a similar way – or open to learning how to deliver your message in a way that aligns with us? If this resonates with you, we are still hiring!
How do you support your lifestyle? Does Yoga in Your Park pay the bills?
Sometimes! I have invested significant amounts of my own money into this fledgling non-profit business and as support continues to grow I continue to thrive financially. Where I live, Yoga in Your Park is a seasonal business. In the mean time I get my hustle on! I babysit, housesit, teach private yoga and do one on one coaching online. Thank you clients!
What tips can you share with those interested in following a similar path?
There will be moments when you think that your idea is stupid, that its too hard and too much and you want to quit. It takes a lot of tenacity to be a conscious creator in this world. At those times, remember you are in an interval, which means incredible growth is right around the corner. Seek support in those moments from mentors and those who have come before. The inner work is just as important as the outer work and what you are telling yourself about your life will have a huge impact on your success. Also, design a life that has the qualities you want to feel designed into it. Then no matter how ambitious you are, you will enjoy the ride 😀
On a scale of 1-10, how weird are you?
Erm… 7! All the notes reminding me what I am committed to posted around my house make me feel pretty weird when I have friends over – but there is common ground – we all human!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I see myself loving my life as I do know! I see Yoga in Your Park totally thriving – full of talented yoga teachers who want to be the voices of the earth leading humanity back into healthy relating with the planet. I see all of our students making small changes to be more aligned with their values – leading to a healthier, happier world.
Connect with Ellen
Ellen Sevigny, founder of Yoga in Your Park, is one to galvanize your internal inspiration. Ellen is a compassionate coach, and fierce advocate of a new environmental activism based in loving kindness rather than fear, guilt and shame. Known for her brazen idealism, Ellen will challenge you to hold your vision for the world you want to live in, and enjoy yourself while you are at it. She is a Master of Contemplative Psychotherapy (Naropa University) and was trained in the art of yoga at a the Nosara Yoga Institute.