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 Devon Watson.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOGA?

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Devon Watson:

I became curious about yoga in high school, originally I was just looking for something that would nurture my physical body, but after that first class I fell madly in love with the entirety of the practice and couldn’t get enough. I just loved the way it made me feel, deep down to a soul level. It was pure light. It was home.

WHAT KIND OF TRAININGS HAVE YOU PURSUED?

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Devon Watson:

My first teacher training was a residential 200hr in Mexico at the Yandara Yoga Institute in 2015, it absolutely changed my life, and I knew then I had found my purpose in teaching yoga. Most recently I was lucky to be a part of the first LAAIC 200hr teacher training in France with my beloved teachers Talia Sutra and Julia Planine-Troiani. I am endlessly grateful to have such phenomenal teachers and mentors throughout my journey.

HOW HAS YOGA INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE AND WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON?

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Devon Watson:

Yoga has given me peace, freedom, and a capacity for love that I never knew existed. I grew up with a deeply challenging relationship with my body, unfortunately as many young women do. I spent the years thinking I wasn’t good enough, thin enough, talented enough, or pretty enough to be worth anything. But then there was this moment during my first teacher training. I remember it so clearly, the first time I saw myself with pure unconditional love. Body, mind, and soul. I cried tears of joy, and also of apology for all the years I had spent hating myself. At that moment it all fell away. It changed me forever. I still have work to do, but the internal transformation from isolation and darkness, to connection and love has been the most freeing experience of my life. It not only changed the way I see myself, but also the way I see all other living beings.

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

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Devon Watson:

“Tomorrow never comes, there is only NOW” this came from my teacher Julia and I find myself repeating it in my head often! We all talk about “tomorrow” as if it is something tangible and real, but if you think about it, by the time we are in “tomorrow” it is just simply our present moment. We are born every morning and we die every evening. There is no such thing as tomorrow, only today, only right now.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE FACED AS A YOGA TEACHER?

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Devon Watson:

Coming to terms with the fact that a lot of people, especially in western culture, just want #yogaabs or #handstandgoals and couldn’t care less about things like the eight limbs or the sutras… and that is okay! Devoted life practice is not for everyone, nor does it have to be. Everyone is on their own life path and it is none of my business. I’ve found that if a student wants to learn more and go deeper, they will. It’s not my job to go chasing people and shoving knowledge down their throats.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED AS A YOGA STUDENT? AND HOW ABOUT AS A TEACHER?

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Devon Watson:

As a student:
The first time I made it through a tough class without stopping AND it actually felt good, as opposed to it feeling like torture. It was so empowering. I had come such a long way to get to that point and it felt like I had just achieved something of monumental proportions. It was the first time I saw and felt how the practice was transforming me, not just physically but mentally as well.
As a teacher:
I was at the end of a private session with a student who had been struggling, feeling disconnected from life and burnt out with work and parenthood. I led a long guided meditation and set them up in a supported savasana, covered with heavy blankets. After slowly coming back to the surface from their rest, they sat up and looked at me with the biggest smile on their face, tears pouring out down their cheeks, and said “My soul needed that. I feel so much better”. Moments like that are why I do what I do.

WHAT HELPS YOU GET BACK ON YOUR YOGA MAT WHEN YOU ARE FEELING DEMOTIVATED?

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Devon Watson:

I remind myself that it doesn’t matter what happens on my mat, I don’t need to do anything fancy or complicated, as long as I show up. I can just lay on my mat for an hour if I want to, but I must show up for myself. Usually once I’m on my mat, just laying there or otherwise, everything else pours out naturally. Sometimes that means movement and other times it means breathwork and stillness. Showing up is all that matters.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA RELATED BOOK?

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Devon Watson:

To Love and Let Go by Rachel Brathen!” Just finished reading it for the second time and it was just as moving as the first. A must read for everyone, but especially for those who are moving through a period of loss and grieving.

To Love and Let Go - Rachel Brathen

OTHER THAN PRACTICING YOGA, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR WELLNESS & SELF-CARE HABITS?

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Devon Watson:

I love a hot bath with a book, a quiet evening at home with a good friend, or winding down at the end of a busy day by watching anything Mindy Kaling has created on the television (that woman is hilarious!). I’m someone who is very sensitive to other people’s energy, so after a day of teaching, working my other jobs, and being surrounded by so much energetic noise it is very important for me to have time alone so I can recharge and let it all go.

WHO IS THE YOGI WE SHOULD FEATURE NEXT & WHY?

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Devon Watson:

Casey Hubbell! She is a super rad human being, yoga teacher, and a highly impactful community member. Her studio, Yoga Wild, runs on the most beautiful values and mission statement. She is a gem and would be a brilliant feature!

Devon’s Bio: In both her personal practice and her teaching Devon uses asana, breath, and loving awareness as tools to invite light and ease back into the dark, challenging places of the mind and body. She believes yoga is the path back to our most natural state, a method of returning to the divine being that is, and always has been, You.