Michelle Bouvier, a lifelong dancer-scientist-yogini-mystic is part of Yoga Garden SF’s team as a weekly teacher, and Teacher Training Instructor.
Aside from yoga, Michelle is a leading teacher in the still- growing hoop community, uniquely weaving in yoga, biomechanics and philosophy while offering the hoop as a personal sādhana (spiritual practice).
For today’s Featured Teacher, join us as we dive a little deeper into Michelle Bouvier’s world of yoga, movement, and dance!
(YGSF) Tell us about yourself! What was your first job?
(Michelle) I grew up in California, and my first love was the ocean. Always active, I danced my whole life, swam competitively through my teens, and spent my summers in the Los Angeles junior lifeguard program or roller skating along the bike path with friends. In classic California style, my first job was at a bikini store just up the street from Manhattan Beach Pier. I loved being outside, and I believe growing up along the beach influenced my love of nature. I’ve also been a home herbalist since I was a teen.
Tell us about your yoga journey.
I discovered yoga when I was 15, after winning a raffle for a year-long membership to an all-women’s gym. I took yoga twice a week, in a dark, candlelit room. It was all about relaxation until I discovered Iyengar Yoga in college, and then Ashtanga Vinyasa in 1997. Ashtanga got me hooked, and I spent seven years in daily and deep practice with my first root teacher, Tim Miller.
I actually started teaching (Ashtanga) before I had even taken a teacher training! There weren’t many studios around me at the time, and I didn’t think teaching yoga was an actual career path… so I made a promise to the Universe that I would keep my focus working as an Ecological Researcher, but if yoga ‘chose me,’ then I would accept the path of a teacher. It took years for me to realize that I was teaching full time, and it was working out!
What else are you truly passionate about?
I’ve spent alot time in deep study of different styles of yoga, somatics and dance. I consider myself an investigator and general body nerd, as there’s really no end to learning! My Maha teacher now is Shiva Rea in the realms of yoga, and Frey Faust of the Axis Syllabus Research Community, for all things nerdy about movement science.
One of the biggest influences in my life has been falling in love with hoopdance, and being part of its evolution as a movement art form. It has been a main practice of mine for over a decade – there’s really nothing else like it to transform emotional energy through rhythm and play, plus expand awareness via the infinite possibilities inherent in circular movement.
What is next for you? Any exciting ventures ahead? Intentions?
I’m excited to be offering more opportunity for people to explore embodiment practices off the mat, and into the nonlinear reality of our bodies. This August I am offering Hoop Vinyasa at the Eclipse Gathering in Oregon, and soon filming another series of Hoop Vinyasa to follow my online course on Shiva Rea’s Yoga Alchemy.
In March 2018 I’m leading a dream retreat in Costa Rica with my friend (and the Godmother of modern hoopdance), Anah Reichenbach
, called Movement Medicine & Magic ~ or MMM Retreat
for short 😉 ~ where we will be investigating the power and palate of embodiment practices and self-reflection to keep us all centered within the craziness of the world these days!
Of course, along the way, I continue studying! I recently completed training in the Gyrokinesis Method, which I LOVE, and will be immersed in Axis Syllabus study as much as possible.
My intention? To give permission for our practices to be personal, unique, and to encourage us all to move beyond thinking and moving in straight lines toward a more sustainable and fluid embodiment for all!
Also, to encourage more dancing in general, for everyone, everywhere!
You can keep up with me here:
We hope you’re inspired by Michelle’s journey! You can catch her upcoming workshop below:
Fascia, or connective tissue, is the conductor of force & fluidity in our bodies. It is what gives us the feelings of either stiffness or freedom in movement.
• Transforming our fascia directly by individual patterns of movement
• Anatomy and energetic alignment
• The power of spiraling and wave motion to speak the language of our tissues
• Cultivating breath and body awareness
• Best practices for daily self-care
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