Pat Bailey first discovered yoga while she was a student at University of Indiana in Bloomington. “It was an elective class,” says Pat, who grew up the oldest of five girls. “I really feel like my practice started in childhood. I felt like I was able to connect with source and have this sense of spirituality and faith. I found an Ashtanga studio in Bloomington and began practicing by candlelight.”
From there, the 44-year-old athlete (she’s also a runner and a cyclist who has been featured in Bicycling Magazine), who majored in secondary education with an emphasis in English, began a wedding planning business in the summers along with a full-time teaching job, before working as associate publisher of Bloom Magazine in Bloomington. Now Pat, who splits her time between Sausalito and Hungary, leads eight-day cycling, Bhakti yoga and culture trips from Budapest to Vienna (wanderroads.com).
After moving to the Bay Area seven years ago, Pat completed her yoga certification with renowned yogi Rusty Wells. The former full-time instructor at studios throughout Marin is now leading workshops including a heart healing retreat in Hawaii in February, and focusing on her own in-home practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays for five students.
“I want to teach, but I also want to create more intimate experiences,” explains Pat, whose teaching schedule at various studios can also be tracked via Move With App. “For classes at my home, I push my sofas and coffee tables aside, and it’s primarily dear friends and other teachers. But it’s also open to the public or first come, first served.”
For the ultimate mind-and-body regime this holiday season, Pat debunks common yoga myths, provides expert insight and reminds us to take time out—literally.
5 important tips and insight in practicing yoga:
1. Remember that yoga is personal. It is your practice and your practice alone.
2. There is no ego with yoga, no right or wrong, no good or bad, no judgment.
3. Yoga happens just as much off the mat than on.
4. Listen to your body and modify your practice based on what it tells you.
5. Always come to your mat as a beginner. (Even the most practiced yogi knows that each time he or she practices, it is a chance to begin again.)
Advice on how to find a “dream” class or an instructor that resonates.
Ask your friends whom they practice with and why. This is a great way to learn quickly who is teaching and create a short list of teachers to try. Decide what your “dream” class consists of and search for these elements at a nearby studio. Try different teachers until you find one that speaks to your heart.
Top 3 yoga myths
1. You have to be flexible to practice yoga. Most of yoga requires no flexibility.
2. That you can “do” it. Yoga is a practice, and it is constantly changing. Instead of “doing” it, we “practice” it.
3. Yoga is only asana (poses). The physical practice of yoga is only one small part of yoga. It is a way of living, devotion and a catalyst for learning more about yourself. It’s a way to connect with your inner self.
Any recommendations on yoga or workout/yoga gear?
As a yoga teacher and cyclist, I spend a big part of my days in yoga pants and cycling kits. I really love They’ll Never Find Us, made in Australia, because of the quality, and the designs inspire me. I also like Electric & Rose because it is local and super-creative. Onzie is my “go-to” for fun tops and comfortable leggings that feel good and look good.
Best time of day and place to practice?
My very favorite time of day to practice is first thing in the morning, and I like to practice at home. I cannot think of a better way to begin the day, and my space is intimate just like my practice. I also love practicing on Sunday.
Originally published for Terranea Life and written by Jennie Nunn