Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Gina Skene.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A YOGA TEACHER?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

Becoming a yoga teacher felt like such a natural process for me that I’m not sure that there was one inspiration. When I started practicing, I had this feeling that I was home; physically growing stronger, mentally more focused, and much more balanced emotionally. I found myself signing up for more in depth alignment workshops and then teacher trainings mostly because I just couldn’t get enough. Once I started to go through sequences of poses when I was going to sleep at night, teaching seemed like an obvious next step. Having said that, if I were going to climb Mt Everest, I would take Lisa Black and Troy Lucero with me since they both have been instrumental inspirations along the whole journey and continue to be so.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

Thinking about it counts! When you approach one of those poses that seems virtually impossible, it is so beneficial to act/think like it actually could happen so that those muscular and neurological pathways can start to build and open. That actually goes for just about anything: baking the perfect chocolate cake or doing a handstand.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR YOGA PHILOSOPHY?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

For me, yoga is all about being awake, vital, and clear in your life.

IF YOU COULD PRACTICE WITH ANYONE DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD THAT BE AND WHY?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

I would love to spend a couple of hours learning from the beloved Seattle guru, Marshawn Lynch. To me, he is persistence. I’d like to get inside his head to find out what he’s thinking when he runs into a wall of three 250+ pound linebackers and then not only keeps going but takes all of them with him that extra 3 yards. Then he does it again and again and again and then (usually in the third quarter) he wears them down enough and breaks out for that 35-yard run. I want to learn to practice and live that way.

HOW LUCKY ARE YOU AND WHY?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

I am lucky to have my parents. My Mom and Dad were able to give me two very different models of what a devotional practice looks like. My Dad was a firm Agnostic but was forever committed to learning and expanding his horizons (like when he taught himself Italian at age 60). On the other hand, my Mom is a dedicated Christian and has always embodied ardent faith and compassion. Amazingly, they were able to respect and love one another beyond these differences and even because of them for 52 years of marriage. What a gift they gave me so that I could have different points of view and then choose my own path.

IF YOU COULD BE AN ANIMAL, A PLANT OR AN INGREDIENT, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

I’d probably be a flower of some kind. I love that they are often fragile looking and then weather a storm by staying rooted and strong yet very soft and agile through it. I also love that they also have no hesitation in blooming with reckless abandon whether it’s for one day or a few weeks.

WHAT IS YOUR LATEST FAVORITE THING ABOUT HUMANITY?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

New York City. This could apply to so many places in the world but the last few years I’ve spent more time in NYC and it amazes me that 8 million people live basically on top of one another and for the most part make it work. That’s a lot of interactive moving parts every day! Being there helps me realize that we as humans are connected and actually like to live near and depend on one another.

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO NOMINATE NEXT FOR THE YOGA TEACHER SPOTLIGHT?

Gina Skene

Gina Skene:

I nominate Cathy Iacobazzi. She came to my attention when I heard the piece on KPLU a little over a year ago about the yoga/meditation she was teaching then in the Monroe State Penitentiary through Yoga Behind Bars. She’s the real deal.

Gina Skene’s Bio: Gina started practicing yoga after having 3 kids and wondering what was next for her body. A former ballet and modern dancer, she’d always been body aware. Then with the intention of reconnecting, she stepped into her first yoga class in 2002 and never looked back. As she began to challenge her body and find her breath, she felt like she had come home and realized that chronic injuries had healed. Gina teaches with a gentle strength that allows her students to feel safe while moving to new mental and physical edges. She is fascinated by every opportunity to help individualize the practice for each student.
Gina teaches regularly at the Shakti studios in Ballard and Bellevue. She has completed Level 1 and Level 2 teacher trainings with Baron Baptiste, teacher trainings with Lisa Black and Shiva Rea, anatomy intensives with Ellen Heed and has studied extensively with Troy Lucero. She also learns a lot from the spontaneous inversions that her husband and 3 teenagers frequently do at home with her.


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