Get to know the teachers leading your favorite classes! This month we’re talking with Glenna Bedoya. This warm and loving lady teaches Expanding and Aligned Flow classes at our studio. This July she will also lead a 4-week beginner series for those looking to get started or to work on the foundation of their practice. Read on to learn more about how Glenna began her yoga practice and what she likes to do in her free time outside of the studio.
Thanks to Alexandra Katsarelis for interview and writing this section of our blog.
My name is Glenna Bedoya, I’ve been teaching here [at STY] since January of 2015.
How did you first begin to practice yoga?
Probably the first [was] there was a show on PBS called “Yoga with Lilias” [Note: the show is called “Lilias, Yoga, and You”], it would play at like 6 a.m. in the morning before school. I remember being a kid and playing around [along with the show], trying to do a headstand. But I didn’t actually take a proper yoga class until my first year of college. It was something that I’d heard about and was curious about and when I asked people about what it was no one could really give me an answer and then I saw that it was offered at school and I was like alright let’s see what this stuff is really about. I fell in love.
What brought you to Southtown Yoga specifically?
[When I was living in New York] I studied a lot of Anusara yoga and when I would come back home to St. Louis to visit I wanted to find some local classes. I looked up [previous Southtown Yoga owner] Brigette who was an Anusara-inspired teacher so that’s how I really found the studio. I took my first class in the old space on Kingshighway, I don’t even know what year.
Where were you living then when you came home to visit?
I was living in New York. In Queens, then in downtown.
Did you teach in New York?
I did. I finished my training in 2011 and just started subbing whenever I could and it just grew from there, just one or two classes from there. I was not teaching full time by then by any means.
So how did it grow into full-time?
When I moved back [to St. Louis] was when I decided to take the plunge. It was a big transition and it just made sense, it was just a good time to give it a go and see what it would look like. It’s a scary leap to take, absolutely. I was lucky it seems to have worked.
Describe what your current yoga practice is like.
Lately it’s been a lot of yin yoga, a lot of more mellow [asana]. The winter has not been easy on me, I’ve been sick a lot. My nervous system has needed a little extra love so it’s been a lot of yin, getting into things to open the lungs, the kidneys, the adrenal system. It’s not easy for me to be still like that but it’s important. My body keeps telling me that’s what it wants so I’m doing my best to listen.
What inspires you to continue your yoga practice?
There’s just so much to learn. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. The teachers that have inspired me the most are the ones who have such a depth of knowledge about all aspects of the practice, not just the body and asana, but also the philosophy and more subtle anatomy.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’ve always loved film, lately I’ve been kind of quiet so it’s been a lot of movies, a lot of music. I’ve been reading a lot. I like to read, I like my films, and I like to cook. It’s been a lot of those wintertime activities—cozy, nurturing, grounding. My body’s been asking me for lots of grounding.
Any book recommendations? I’m a huge bookworm too.
I was so hesitant to get into the Outlander series but that’s actually what I’ve been reading, and then I always have like 5 nonfiction yoga books that I’m poking my nose in here and there.
Tell us about a defining experience here at STY.
The summer  before I moved back to St. Louis, Darren did a 9-day Yogahour teacher training intensive [in St. Louis] and that was really my introduction to Southtown. It was such a great way to get to know the teachers here, to get to know the local community. What’s been really cool [is that current owner] Candace and I have been friends for I think 15 years now, since we met both waiting tables at a wine bar. When I did decide to move back to St. Louis, Southtown was the first studio I reached out to.
How would you describe the style of your classes?
It’s a mix of stuff. Most of my training is in Anusara yoga, which is a very alignment based yoga. I also love Kundalini yoga, the breath work in it has been so powerful in my own practice. One of the things I like about Anusara is that it’s alignment-based but there’s still that flexibility, that flow to it. It’s such a good balance between the physical practice and the intellectual, the philosophical [practice]. I remember practicing yoga for almost 10 years and still trying to figure out what yoga was because at the time teachers were still not bringing a lot of the philosophy to it. It was a long time before I finally found a teacher who could really dive in and [help me] realize, wow this is what it’s all about. For the longest time I thought the whole point of yoga was to learn the aspects of the sun salutation—that’s how different the classes were, how basic they were. I try to give people snippets into how much there really is.
A final question: could you describe your classes in three words?
[Hearty laugh] Alignment. Heart. Play.
Want to practice with Glenna? Check her out on Wednesdays at 7, Thursdays at 6, and Fridays at 5:30.