Meet the instructor: Andrew Czuchwicki (Cancer with moon in Scorpio)
When did your yoga journey start? And why did you start?
I began yoga about 15 years ago. Sue and I were training for 50-100km training rides and I would always find myself hobbling around sore and stiff afterwards. When I queried Sue why she was not sore she told me she was doing yoga and she demonstrated half pigeon and once I tried it and felt such deep relief, I was hooked!
What led you to decide to become a yoga instructor?
I like to draw a distinction between instructing and teaching. For me instructing is just about cuing poses in a sequence. Teaching yoga is about using the poses to challenge and stimulate peoples minds and leave them questioning.
What do you find most rewarding about being a yoga instructor? Any most challenging?
There are many rewards but for me the best is when students gain a breakthrough either in their practise or in their lives that they attribute to yoga – for me that is what its all about; assisting personal growth. The most challenging is getting up in front of class and delivering no matter what the day has been like or how I am feeling. ‘Getting over myself to be there for the students’ as I was told in teacher training.
Describe where yoga has helped you overcome a challenge in life.
The greatest challenge I have had is dealing with depression. It was on retreat for my teacher training that I had a breakthrough into the root cause which allowed me to recover.
If you’re a parent, how do you think yoga affects your parenting?
Yoga allows me to become more aware of my reactions and patterns when it comes to dealing with the challenges of being a parent of teenagers, and practise helps relieve stress that builds through the day to day living. It is a time for myself where I can recharge and rebalance to be more effective in my parenting.
What else do you do in life, aside from yoga?
I am a practising anaesthetist. I enjoy reading especially around philosophy, psychology and spirituality. I am a bit of an astrology buff and am into dream analysis. I enjoy country drives in my British TVR especially meeting up with Sue for a nice coffee.
What is your favourite yoga pose and why?
Half pigeon (Eka Padakapotasana). It is the first yoga pose I ever did and the pose that introduced me to yoga. Whenever I go into half pigeon I feel like I am coming “home”. It is also a pose that combines intense physical activation with the opportunity to turn the senses inward and study the deeper self. It is a great pose towards the end of a practice as it releases the hips that have worked hard in the standing poses and allows you to really look inwards at yourself and consider what has come up in your practise for you.
What is the yoga pose that challenges you the most and why?
Handstand. It physically challenges me due to the intense shoulder stabilisation and core activation needed. Mentally; it is the challenge of being upside down and being comfortable with that. During my last retreat I managed to hold one for five seconds so I know it can be done and it confirms that anything is possible!
What is your greatest fear?
I have a phobia of the fear of edges such as high cliffs or those glass elevators (seriously whose idea were those things!)
Do you have any long term yoga goals?
I would like to teach more classes and be involved in workshops and training other teachers. On a personal level, I would like to continue deepening my own practise and understanding of yoga.
Describe your lifestyle and eating habits ( be honest now!)
I try to balance working with teaching and practising yoga. I like Asian flavours in my food and red wine in my glass. Coffee is something I over indulge in.
If you were a supermarket item, what would you be? Why?
Jam berliner: gooey and soft on the inside.
If you could only instil one thing from yoga to your students, what would it be?
You are capable of so much more than you think you are!
What is your favourite thing in life? Besides yoga, of course!
How would you cure world hunger if you had the chance?
Divert the money spent on weapons and drugs to assist in food production.
Do you have a life strategy or a personal philosophy that rarely fails you?
There is nothing the matter with reality – the problem is within me and I can deal with me.
Tell me something that not many people know about you?
I like alternative indie rock music!