This is the first in a series of articles intended to shine the proverbial ‘spotlight’ on Yoga instructors, studio owners, and other person(s) of interest in the Yoga community. First up, Yogini Masie Barefoot-Judson.
Judson is the owner of Barefoot Yoga Studio, LLC and also teaches. She employs a growing staff of independent Yoga Alliance certified instructors. Class types range from Anasura to Hatha to Gentle/Restorative to Power Yoga.
The following is a Q&A with Judson about her Yoga experience:
William Hunnell: Let’s start from the beginning. Where you born and raised? Are you married? Children?
Masie Barefoot-Judson: Mount Pleasant, SC. I am married to my High-School sweetheart. Our ‘children’ are all four-legged and furry - two cats and one dog!
WH: In your own words, what brought you to the practice of Yoga? In other words, what is your story?
MBJ: I have a long fitness background. In fact, my Father took us to the gym at least five days a week starting around the age of five years. My sister and I enjoyed swimming, racquetball, weight training. We also enjoyed group classes in tai chi, yoga, and martial arts. This love of fitness rubbed off on me and I have always searched for another form of fitness to move by body. In 2001, I had a neck injury that severely limited my body’s ability to withstand daily exercise. I was ‘cracking my neck’ in the shower when my foot slipped causing me to crumple in the tub. As a result, I was barely able to move for three days. While in college I began to practice more frequently and within a short period of time my body and neck responded with greater flexibility. This resulted in fewer days of pain and fewer trips to the chiropractor! I was sold and continue to practice to this day.
WH: So, doing the math….that’s about 12 years. What style(s) do you enjoy the most?
MBJ: Mostly Hatha, although I love a really sweaty Ashtanga class!
WH: What lead you to teach Yoga?
MBJ: I have always enjoyed helping people. Fitness is one of my favorite past-times. So, the merger of teaching yoga seemed to be natural.
WH: Where did you receive your Teacher Training certification and under whose guidance?
WH: Who has had the most influence in your Yoga practice? (someone/anyone that inspires you) and perhaps why?
MBJ: Erich Schiffmann & my Pets! Erich talks about '[sic] finding ease and stability in each pose using the breath to calm the mind and the muscles.' I watch my cats and dog do yoga poses everyday with such fluid and easeful movements. It's an inspiration to watch my dog break into a ‘Down-Dog’ followed by a toe-dragging ‘Up-Dog’ without a flinch in her face! This is what Erich speaks about. Let your body find the pose, but use the breath to relax the mind and in unison the pose becomes easeful. Whenever I begin to struggle in a pose, I always check in with my breath. It can tell me if I'm holding tension. By concentrating on the breath I am able to push out everything else around me and work on 'finding ease and stability' in every one of my poses.
WH: And lastly, what would you like perspective students to know about you?
MBJ: I graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne College in 2007 with a BA in Environmental Studies. At Barefoot Yoga, we strive to blend Yoga with an Eco-conscious nature. For Example, we use daylight to light our Studio when we can; or CFLs and Halogens only, we have no paper receipts, and we recycle everything possible!
Keep checking back for more 'Yogi spotlights' and remember to follow the author on Twitter