Here is a great article and interview I did for Yoga Africa Awakening. whilst working in Tanzania
Teacher interview: Andrea White of Butterfly Yoga in Tanzania
- Name:Andrea White.
- DOB:17th January 1978.
- What style of yoga do you teach?
I teach Hatha & Restorative Yoga, specialising in Womb Yoga. I focus on Yoga for women at different stages of their cycle and life. It is less of a style, more an approach to practising. I use heart based meditations, Yoga Nidra, pranayama and asana.
- Where do you teach?
I teach in Tanzania, running classes and workshops in Dar es Salaam. I also run retreats on the beautiful tropical island of Mafia.
- How long have you been practising yoga?
I have been practising yoga and meditation for over 15 years now.
- How long have you been teaching yoga?
Teaching for about 6 years. Specializing in women’s health for most of that.
- Who have you trained with and where?
I have been on a wild and organic journey. Originally I came from an Ashtanga training with Paul Dallaghan & Neil Barker of Centered Yoga in Thailand. They taught me to find softness in strength, the power of pranayama and the dedication of practice.
In 2010, I met Uma Dinsmore-Tuli in the UK, (where I am from), and this sent me on a beautiful road to Women’s health and cycle awareness. Through her training in Pregnancy, Post Natal and Well Women Yoga, Uma has taught me the power of womb wisdom, balancing my own practice to my energy needs.
- What lead you to teaching yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?
I fell into teaching as many do; I did my 200hr Teacher Training just to deepen my own practice. It was only after I trained with Uma in Prenatal yoga, that I knew I was following the right path. I was blown away with the power of some of the practices; I wanted to share with everyone I met, (I bore people constantly with cycle awareness in Yoga).
- What do you love most about teaching?
I am in a very fortunate role, as a teacher, I empower women to channel their energies in challenging moments in their life.
It is hard to say what I love most. Is it hearing that a student is pregnant after working with their fertility challenges; a baby has arrived safely with the help of Yoga breathing or a roar of power in a menopause workshop when a woman realizes how powerful she is.
Teaching has led me to meet some amazing people, travel to some stunning locations. Every person I teach leaves an impression on me and my teaching.
- Is there a focus in your teaching style?
I teach from the heart, my inner teacher. This is also my aim; to empower students to listen to their own bodies, rhythms and cycles, (not just women!) There is no right and wrong way just their way. Safely guided and informed to become their own teachers.
- What do you love most about yoga?
Yoga brings me home. I use Yoga to connect deeper with myself. I honour the body I have today without judgement. Yoga is my daily reminder to breathe and stay present.
- What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga?
I came to Yoga and meditation through depression and anxiety; it was a hard time I didn’t understand myself or my emotions. Yoga has helped me to understand I am not my emotions, and when they arise to observe them. I think these dark times make us strong, not by ignoring them or ‘overcoming’ them but to accept them and to know they are also a part of us. Yoga is about acceptance.
- What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga?
Try it of course! But remember there are as many different ‘Yogas’, so if a style or teacher doesn’t suit you, try a few till you settle. Once you find something and someone that resonates with you stay with it a while.
- Do you have a regular practice?
I try to keep my yoga with me in the form of mindfulness, (when I can!); my physical practice is based on my menstrual cycle or ‘seasons’. If I am full of energy I work more energetically, if I am in a more wintery state my practices are more meditative and incorporate more Yoga Nidra. This cyclical approach has helped me maintain a more regular practice. I have also kept my energies more balanced. I feel it makes me a more intuitive teacher too.
- Favourite Asana?
I work a lot with joint releasing of Parvanmuktasana series. I love the energy flow and the sequences. I find the most useful are those that stimulate Shakti movement so chakki chalanasana is my favourite.
- Strongest Asana?
Depends which day! But I will say Vkrsasana, (tree pose); I can find strength in this posture even on the most wobbly days. It leaves me feeling strong and clear.
- Any religious affiliations?
Through my Yoga and meditation practices I feel deeply connected to my spirituality. No particular religion other than the connection of universal love.
- What are your other interests?
I am definitely a world traveller and do love exploring. I am also a trained artist, and love to paint. One day I would love to combine my passions into one, maybe a Yoga and art retreat, using our Yoga practices and cycle awareness to heighten and tune into our abundant creativity! (Who’s in?)
- Any Thank yous?
Yes. Thank you to YAA for interviewing me and letting me share my passion all the way from Tanzania.
Thanks to everyone who has supported my journey. And of course my students who keep coming back and listening to me!
Also to my teachers, especially Uma, who taught me to leave the dogma, find the freedom, to follow my heart… my inner teacher.