Hello everyone! Today I am sharing with you this beautiful interview of Mado Hesselink, creator of the Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast.
If you are a yoga teacher, you maybe have heard about it, it is a beautiful knowledge resource for every yoga teacher who wants to learn and improve itself. We often say in yoga that we are a student for and of life and this podcast has truly helped me on the path of improving myself since passing my yoga teacher training. And now I hope you will enjoy discovering the yogi journey of Mado as much as I did!
Can you introduce yourself a bit to the readers who don’t know you yet?
I’m a slightly nerdy introvert who loves all things movement and neuroscience. I started doing martial arts and yoga in college over 20 years ago and have been a yoga teacher for 15 years. In 2018 I started the Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast to offer the type of support I wished was available when I was a new teacher.
Can you tell us about your yogi journey, from teaching yoga to transmitting your knowledge about the yoga world?
When I was growing up, I was always the kind of kid who hated sports. You know, the last one picked for dodgeball. I would leave the library with stacks of books up to my chin and disappear into other worlds in every spare moment. While I was in college I started doing martial arts, and shortly thereafter yoga. Together the two disciplines felt like a perfect balance: hard & soft.
When I became a mother just a year or so after graduation and my world was transformed and with much less time for self-care, I felt that I needed to choose one of my two movement disciplines. The sweetness of yoga felt like the obvious choice at that stage of my life and I began teaching yoga soon after. Once my high needs oldest child hit double digits, I began incorporating other forms of movement back into my life and haven’t looked back.
What is the definition of a yoga teacher for you?
A yoga teacher is a person who courageously commits to self-awareness and presence and shares their practice with others on the same path.
How can a yoga teacher improve its teaching skills during its lifetime?
Commit to practicing what you teach and teaching what you practice. Seek deep mentorship from a few people who you trust and respect while remaining open to other perspectives. Look outside the insular yoga culture to learn from people in other disciplines who will provide different angles to your understanding.
When and why did you want to create a podcast?
In January of 2018 I started a project of having 100 conversations with yoga teachers. Each conversation was different, but I felt a kinship with each person who I spoke with and relished the connection. In part, I started the podcast in order to continue connecting with yoga teachers from around the world. I also had a vision to offer the type of continuing education resource that I wish was around when I first started teaching.
What special aspects of yoga do you like to talk about?
I love talking about how the mind influences the body and the body influences the mind.
How do you choose the people you are interviewing?
Usually I think of a topic that I want to learn more about myself and find someone I’d like to learn from. Then if they are open to an interview I put myself in the role of student and also ask myself what my listeners might like to hear about.
What did you learn from this experience?
Well, one of the surprising insights was a greater understanding of my own brain. By listening to recordings of myself for editing, I started to put together a bunch of puzzle pieces that also include my older daughter’s autism spectrum diagnosis. The aspergers diagnosis was not yet used when I was a child, but looking back I’m convinced that I either would have met the diagnostic criteria or would have come very close. It’s been really fascinating to add such a significant layer to my self-identity at the age of 40!
Can you describe us one day in your life?
I get up at 5:30 and make myself a small cup of coffee with cream. I head down to my office in the basement to meditate and then do a bit of movement. Once my younger daughter Raina gets up, I snuggle with her on the couch for 10-15 minutes. Then there is the morning routine of getting Raina ready for school.
Raina’s school is right across the street from my gym, so I work out for an hour after I drop her off and then go home and head back to my office where I will meet virtually with clients, record & edit podcast episodes, and write the curriculum for my online courses. I tend to get really absorbed with working and forget to eat lunch. At around 3, I finally hit a wall and take a break that includes a small meal and a 20 minute nap.
After the nap, I head back downstairs for a couple more hours of work – usually less creative stuff such as admin, emails, etc. By the end of the day my shoulders and neck feel super tight, so I will do a quick upper body mobility routine and then it’s time to pick Raina up from school and make dinner.
Once dinner is over, I’m pretty beat so I’ll play with Raina for a bit and then put her to bed. My husband and I have a ritual of checking in with each other once Raina is down for the night and sometimes that turns into a longer conversation. Once my husband heads downstairs to watch some late night comedy, I put my headphones in and fall sleep while listening to an audiobook.
How did you decide to help other yoga teachers evolve by working with them?
A few years ago I worked with a business coach who told me I needed to choose a niche. She asked me to reflect on which teaching situations I enjoyed the most and felt the most excited about. Through my work with her, I came to realize that I love working with yoga teachers more than any other kind of student and I committed myself to focus on serving them exclusively.
How has your life evolved since then?
Before I committed to serving teachers, I used to teach a lot more public classes and workshops. I also spent more time on in person teaching within my community. I was a lot more scattered with what I was doing with my time and had less discipline to do the things that are harder for me such as showing up consistently on social media. Committing to a niche wasn’t an easy decision and I resisted it for a long time. The moment I committed fully, things started to flow more easily and momentum continues to build in a way that feels natural and fulfilling. I am way more focused and clear about what to spend my time on and have found a deep wellspring of creativity that never seems to run dry. My primary source of inspiration are my podcast listeners and coaching clients whose questions, challenges, and aspirations are the basis for most of the content I create.
Can you share with us one book about yoga that you liked?
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography by David Gordon White and in the spirit of learning from other fields, A Guide to Better Movement by Todd Hargrove.
And also one yoga training you really loved?
Yoga Tune Up level one teacher training
What rituals do you hold onto to feel balanced everyday?
Meditation, vigorous exercise, connection with my husband
What are your other favorite podcasts?
Tara Brach, The Life Coach School, and Online Marketing Made Easy
And finally, how do you want to expand yourself in 2020?
I want to scale my services to help more yoga teachers at once in a bigger way through online courses. I also want to get more comfortable on video and expand my capacity for presence during times of heightened excitement. I want to be more patient and grounded as a parent and more appreciative as a partner.
Did you like this interview? Share it with people around you! And tell me in the comments if you related to Mado’s experience and who you would like to see interviewed in the next weeks!