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What your yoga teacher's really thinking: Q&A with Maddie Norris

Kate Foster

Maddie is our first Badd Karma Baddassador yoga teacher, and we couldn't be happier to have her onboard. She rocks Somerset's village halls with her own brand of mindful, vibe-y yoga and, we hope, will be cooking up some challenges and other special treats with us soon. But first of all, let's be nosy and find out wtf a yoga teacher is really thinking...

What’s the story behind becoming a yoga teacher, anyway? 

After I left university my combined interest in sports therapy, coaching and sports psychology led me to teaching yoga. I’d been a keen yogi all through university and I thought teacher training would give me more knowledge and options of what to do after uni. Little did I know how much I would fall in love with teaching—it was exactly what I wanted to do. My passion for yoga and everything about it inspired me and I wanted to spread it around and tell everyone about it!

What are your classes like?

I like to think of my classes as very welcoming and open for all and the people who come to my classes demonstrate this perfectly: I see all ages, abilities, sizes and genders and that creates such a warm and friendly environment. As yoga is such a personal thing, I am always careful with the way I word certain instruction and guidance. I want to make sure my clients know that they know what is best for them and what they should and should not be doing (and not that I know better than them).

How do you keep it fresh when it comes to planning what to teach each week?

I get inspired by the people that come to my classes—I vibe off their vibes! I read a lot and this gives me ideas on different themes for each class and different flows. I love seasonal themes, too. Halloween yoga to Michael Jackson’s Thriller is a must! I find reflective planning very helpful, writing up notes after class to help me plan for future sessions. 

Do you go to classes yourself? Or is that weird?

I do! I get so much out of attending classes, but I don’t do it enough. I love to go and be told what to do for a change; I feel like I can really switch off my teacher head in those moments and practice what I preach!

Tell us honestly, what’s it like to be at the front of the room, leading a lesson? What’s going through your head?

Being at the front of the room with all eyes on me is an absolute privilege. People choose to sit in front of me and allow me to guide them through their yoga practice, which means I have a responsibility to help them reach their potential. I constantly remind my classes that it’s all about their journey and I use the ethos of what I teach to help me to stay calm and focussed. I want my clients to be able to see that I am a good role model and that they can immerse themselves in the atmosphere within the room. What’s going on in my head at those moments? It's all about the experience I'm delivering, staying calm and clear my head and very present with my thoughts. 

What’s your favourite teaching moment?

I’m lucky to have had so many. One would have to be teaching in Ibiza. I was on retreat and was assisting the most amazing yoga teacher; after two days of assisting I was asked to take some of the sessions, I immediately said yes! The classes were held on a sun deck and were three hours long. I taught people from all over the world and it felt amazing. I experienced some of the best ‘post yoga highs’ after teaching these classes and so grateful I had the chance to do it.

Are there other things you want to do with yoga?

The thing about yoga is you can take it into so many different environments and so many people can benefit from it in some way or another. I would love to be able to spread yoga to the teens and provide our younger generations with tools they can use to help them through life. I’d also love to venture into yoga for mental health and learn about the impact and benefits it is having on so many suffering people’s lives. That’s only the start, so watch this space.

What do you wish people knew about yoga lessons, that they might not otherwise know?

That yoga is different for everyone and people experience a multitude of benefits. Also that yoga can be as ‘hard’ or ‘challenging’ as you want it to be, that coming to a yoga class is not about doing exactly what the person next to you is doing or even what the teacher is doing, it’s about finding out what you want and need to be doing for yourself. Oh, and also that you really, really don’t have to be flexible!

Find out more about Maddie's classes here.

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