Beloved Brooke Cline
A Favorite Teacher’s Transformational Inner Journey
(Brooke in Urdhva Dhanurasana with her daughter Dylan)
Interview by Julia Jonson
What first brought you to the practice of yoga?
I tried yoga for the first time in my mid 20s but I don’t think I was ready for the practice. I preferred more adrenaline based exercise outlets like spinning and running and ultimately I had a hard time slowing down my body …. and mind. It wasn’t until I was desperate to find pain relief for a herniated disc while pregnant with my daughter just over 11 years ago that I connected more deeply to the practice. Not only did I find pain relief where other methods failed, but I started to find that much needed connection between mind, body and spirit.
You’re a huge music fan. Music is the epitome of being in the flow, which is what yoga teaches us. How does music help keep you centered?
My first (nonconventional) meditation experiences were through music. I’ve just always found that I can become so engrossed in music I love that I am totally in the moment …. unconcerned about anything else but the notes I’m hearing. Even as a child, I remember crying while listening to Les Miserables or a beautiful classical song. It was, for a long time, one of the only ways for me to be totally present.
You’re a business owner, a mom, and a talented yoga teacher … How does your own yoga practice spill into, and inspire these other areas of your life?
I thrive on chaos and crazy schedules, and almost feel guilty when I’m not doing something. I have a hard time slowing down, but inevitably I burn out or get too stressed or anxious. Yoga seems to be one of the only ways to slow down and take time for myself and reconnect. With it, I truly feel that I’m a better business owner, mom and person. It teaches patience, compassion and humility (among MANY other things!).
Every year you teach a workshop on how yoga can help with anxiety and depression. Tell us a bit about your own journey through this.
In my late 20s I struggled quite significantly with anxiety and panic disorder. I turned to medication for help, but was determined to find a natural way of managing. When I started practicing yoga, and really more specifically pranayama techniques, I started to realize I can shift not only my mind but the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic. The combination of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques I learned, in addition to yoga, keep the anxiety and panic manageable.
One of the things I love about your classes is they feel like a journey through my own human anatomy. As a yoga teacher, how do you think this anatomical awareness and alignment in postures helps us to stay present?
I have become an anatomy “nerd.” Our bodies are AMAZING and I love learning all about it. I personally find that the acute awareness of what’s going on in our bodies in any particular pose keeps you present and focused on the moment .… and ultimately safe. And the more aligned our body is, the easier our breath flows and the more therapeutic our experience becomes.
Who are some yoga teachers who inspire you and why?
I have had the privilege of studying with a lot of amazing teachers. My most transformative experiences have been with Tiffany Cruikshank, Jason Crandell and Matthew Sanford. I love Tiffany Cruikshank because she is the ultimate anatomy “geek” and truly is a health and wellness expert (I just committed to her 500-hour training through Yoga Medicine!). Jason Crandell has such an intelligent way of sequencing and I love his humor. And Matthew Sanford reminds me that yoga is so much more than the asanas. He is a paraplegic yoga teacher that understands the mind/body connection better than most.
Seems like everyone has a favorite pose. What’s one of yours and what’s one of your favorites to teach?
I love pretty much any hip opener. Handstand has always been a favorite …. to shift our perspective is always fun. I also love teaching hip openers because as a teacher, you usually find the class is more connected to their breath than usual! And there is nothing prettier than looking at a room full of yogis in Trikonasana (Triangle) or Camatkarasana (Wild Thing) and nothing more fulfilling than the total surrender of Savasana (Corpse Pose).
At the end of each class you say “each breath is a reminder that life is a gift.” I love that, and I remember that when I’m “out there in life.” Tell us more about what that means to you.
An intense answer but true .… I started saying this after I was with my father when he died after a short, but courageous, battle with cancer. Once you hear someone take their last breaths, you have never been more aware of the gift of life.
Brookes teaching schedule:
Sunday 7:45am Level 2
Sunday 9:15am Level 1
Tuesday 5:15pm Restorative
Wednesday 6:20pm Level 1