FRINGE.YOGA TEACHER FEATURE
Introducing Emma Smithies, mum of 3 little yoginis, kick ass lawyer and fringe.yoga graduate from the first FYTT. Alongside her inspiring legal career she also teachers yoga at fringe.yoga (and will soon be teaching at fringe.epping). Her ever popular classes are inspiring, positive and vibrant, just like her! Find out how she answered our questions below;
"It’s my sanity, my coping mechanism, my sense of humour for my busy life and
always has been. As a busy working mum of 3 children, yoga helps me enjoy my life
and all the plate spinning that comes with it. It calms me, anchors me in the moment
and keeps me sane, makes me patient and love my time with the kids and family.
It’s also my passion, I absolutely love spreading the magic that little bit further every
week, from helping people breath through their anxiety at work, to watching their joy as they
accomplish a pose or a movement, to meeting new like minded people and yogis, watching
people buzz when they leave a class and keep coming back for more, to running workshops with
dear friends, learning learning learning and absorbing as much knowledge, experience, skills and
information as I can. I feel like a sponge on my yoga journey, constantly applying it to every
scenario I find myself in every day, with the kids, in a meeting, at the school gates, on the tube, in
the forest, it fills me with complete joy and happiness."
What’s your biggest yoga achievement to date?
"Completing my teacher training was right up there!
Running workshops with my fellow yogi and dear friend, seeing them sell out, having a space
within which we can explore all our creative ideas and give them to an ever changing, increasing
group of open minded, enthusiastic people is amazing."
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
"Living the dream in a more full time way. Building my own yoga studio. Spreading that magic even further and creating my own bespoke space for retreats and classes."
What/who is your inspiration?
"At the moment I absolutely love Jo Tastula and her style of teaching, she’s really spiritual and has
lots of references to mother earth, lunar cycles and awesome anatomy.
Katherine Budig is brilliant for her funny, ballsy approach.
Claudine Lafond has a really laid back approach to her teaching with humour and skill which
I really enjoy.
Jodie Merrick, as my mentor, my bestie, my teacher is someone who I find inspirational.
My students, I learn them from every single day, I love their openness, their curiosity,
Their commitment, their humour, their loyalty humbles and grounds me and I am grateful to
them every single day.
My kids, my family, my old friends who taught me my sense of humour and gave me my moral
Kelly Slater, the most unbelievable world class surfer.
My mate Frank, without whom I wouldn’t be the person I am today."
Most embarrassing Yoga story?
"I’ve been to classes all over the world, in each different chapter of my life, I’ve sweated, farted,
snored and weed myself at points! I’ve left with my hair looking wild, my clothes stuck to me with
Sweat and couldn’t really give a damn, it’s all part and parcel of it. I’ve worn my leggings back to
front too many times to remember but never really been embarrassed by it. We had a hilarious
moment recently in a workshop where we usually close with a fire pit, I’d gone outside to light it in a thick fog and howling winds, I’d called upon my angels to help me get it going and sure enough, it had lept into flame, as soon as the first person stepped outside the flames instantly died and we all stood round a smoking mess, you got to just laugh about it though. Let go of that idea of perfection."
What unique gift do you offer your students?
"I really try and be authentic, relate to what’s happened/happening to me each week
and how that fits with the specific element I am teaching that week. So if it’s been a crazy week with the kids, work, school, home, then I acknowledge that and keep it real. As a teacher of
The Fringe method we teach a Vinyasa flow style linked to the chakras and the elements.
I focus a lot on breathing usually with a different breathing exercise in each class. I blend
all my own oils which relate to the chakras which my students seem to love. I incorporate
a lot of references to mother earth, nature and am recently really getting into my crystals
which I’m using in class at the moment. I try and mix it up so each week’s class for that specific Element will be different to the last cycle of teaching that element.
Most of all I just love getting to know my students, new and old so remembering their name (a big one for me!), their injuries, their strengths, the things they enjoy so I can genuinely get to know them, watch them grow, push them and enjoy every step of the yogi journey together."
What makes a good teacher?
"Knowledge, awareness of the energy and capability of the class, connection to the students,
structuring a challenging, enjoyable, funny class that resonates with you on some level and leaves
You feeling great!"
Any advice to help to inspire others to get on the mat?
"I get such an incredible buzz from seeing people come to Yoga, not knowing what to expect, some with a clear agenda or reason for being there, some without a clue of why they are there, some looking nervous tinged with excitement, anticipation, all enthusiastic, yet everyone leaves having left their day at the front door, hearing people’s stories of their week and how they used their breath or the mantra or the thought we used in class to get them through a moment is life changing.
It’s all about finding the right teacher that works for you, that safe space where you can let go and give it a go. Anything we can do to help us get through the lives we lead with a smile on our face has got to be worth trying."
Your favourite Quote to live by?
"So many to choose from, some of my absolute favs:
Love like you’ve never been hurt, laugh like nobody cares, dance like no one is watching.
Be the change you want the world to be.
If it feels like you are pushing water uphill let it go.
Everything for a reason, even if you can’t see it at the time."
Catch Emma at fringe.yoga on Saturday mornings with more classes to be announced very soon! Follow her on Instagram @emma.smithies
Keep you eyes peeled for next week's fringe.yoga teacher feature!
the fringe team