Rebecca Gilbert is a young and inspiring local who has recently completed her yoga teacher training in India and is now teaching yoga here in Coffs Harbour. After discovering yoga practice in her teens and finding it had a hugely positive impact on her life, she is now motivated to pass that positivity on to others through teaching the practice and also by running a weekly class that is by donation only, the proceeds of which go directly to a cause that is close to Rebecca’s heart.
Can you tell us a bit about what it was like growing up on the Coffs Coast?
I was privileged enough to grow up in Karangi, a small valley outside of Coffs Harbour. I spent my childhood riding horses and dirt bikes with my neighborhood friends. I’m glad I spent my childhood rolling around in dirt and eating worms; it shaped me to be an adventurous and open minded person. The Coffs Coast is a beautiful place to grow up; there’s a balance between city and country, which I believe is a perfect combination.
We believe you have recently completed your yoga teacher training in India. Can you tell us about the experience?
Overall, my experience in India was incredible. I had never travelled alone before, so I was looking forward to experiencing a real sense of independence. At Kranti Yoga School I completed my 200 hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training. Our daily schedule was two hours of Ashtanga yoga, an hour of meditation; after that we would spend the day learning body alignment, philosophy, anatomy, teaching methodology, and in the afternoon we had a workshop. It was a challenging month.
There were 25 people in my course. I thoroughly enjoyed the company of like-minded people who shared the same passion. We shared so much laughter and so many tears together; we all worked as a team to support and motivate each other and even from across the globe, we continue to share our love and happiness.
Are there any stand out moments from your time in India?
I will always hold on to the memory of meditating during a particular Yin yoga class before our final relaxation pose. We practiced alternate nostril breathing and then were given the opportunity to rest in Shavasana or continue sitting; I continued to sit. I have never been the best at keeping a clear mind whilst sitting still, but in that moment I was able to master it. There are no words to describe what I felt and I haven’t returned to that meditative state again, but I continue trying to reach that happy place within.
What sort of effect has yoga practice had on your life?
I was introduced to yoga in the rebellious, awkward, troubled teen stage of my life. I connected with my practice instantly, which led to the development of a healthy and happy lifestyle. Yoga has always been my safe place. My practice is a time where I can turn inwards and forget about what is happening around me.
What made you want to become a yoga teacher?
From my very first practice I fell in love with yoga. I walked out of my first yoga class and said, “I want to become a yoga teacher”. It was just an idea for a long time, until I graduated school. I made the decision to travel to India to complete my training. I set a date, planned where I’d venture to and how much it would cost, and two years later on the date I had set, I flew to India. Growing up, my parents always told me that I should do something that I love, and so I’ve stuck by that.
You are now teaching a community yoga class in Coffs Harbour that is donation based. Can you tell us a bit about how that works and what the donation supports?
Every Sunday morning at One Conscious Breath Yoga Studio, I teach a general one hour Vinyasa flow class from 9:30. The class gives me the opportunity to build my experience and confidence as a teacher, as well as raising money and awareness for a great cause. In the last month I was able to raise over $300.
Jasmine and the team at One Conscious Breath have been so lovely to welcome me and take me under their wing.
My class is donation based, and all donations go towards the Amyloidosis foundation. Amyloidosis is a disease in which abnormal proteins (amyloid) are resistant to being broken down. As a consequence, the amyloid proteins deposit and accumulate in the body’s tissue and organs, causing the organs to be unable to function properly.
You can find more information at http://www.amyloidosis.org.uk/about-amyloidosis/
What inspired you to support that particular cause?
This cause holds a very special place in my heart. My grandmother passed away due to this disease in her 40s. At the time, Amyloidosis was rarely heard of. In 2001, my mother’s liver ruptured, caused by what we soon learned was a type of hereditary Amyloidosis. She was fortunate enough to receive a life saving liver transplant, but continues to suffer from the disease, which means she will soon require a kidney transplant. My eldest sister and I carry the gene. By raising awareness and funds, I hope that I can help to bring us closer to a cure, before it dramatically affects more lives.
What else can the community do to support this cause?
To donate directly to the Amyloidosis Foundation, you can visit http://amyloidosis.org/act/donate/ or simply spend an hour of your Sunday morning with me at One Conscious Breath; all donations go directly to support this cause.
I also encourage everyone to register at https://register.donatelife.gov.au/ to become an organ donor. Be a gift that keeps on giving.