Teacher Feature | Chris Shewchuk

All photos featured in this blog were taken by Jenn Clara Photography

All photos featured in this blog were taken by Jenn Clara Photography

Don't be fooled by his calm demeanour or his gentle voice in class - when Chris teaches at our studios, you're guaranteed to walk away feeling worked, but refreshed and blissed out. While Chris is a relatively new face on our roster, given Yogalife's long 7 year history of being open, he has already amassed a following amongst our students who seek out his strong, balanced yoga style. Chris continues to contribute his positive energy to both our north and south studios, so we thought now is as good a time as any to fully introduce him to our community! 

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HOW DID YOU GET YOUR YOGIC START?  WHO BROUGHT YOU TO YOUR FIRST CLASS, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE, AND WHERE WAS IT?

The first class I ever went to was at Moksha West Edmonton. At the time I fought wildfire with Alberta Forestry and I had a bit of time off, and one of my fire buddies convinced me to go. To be honest I barely remember anything other than struggling like crazy in the heat and feeling totally lost. I kept looking around to see what other people were doing, and knew that what I was doing wasn’t even close. Very humbling. I hated it and decided yoga wasn’t for me.

Of course a few years later I dropped in on a gentler hatha class in an unheated studio, and decided maybe there was something to all this yoga business after all.

SHARE A FAVOURITE QUOTE, LESSON, OR TEACHING THAT INSPIRES YOU.

My favourite teaching was dropped in a north side hot flow by Cole Williston a few years ago. He had brought up the topic of work, and my attitude toward work at the time was to either avoid it as much as possible (in private), or to overwork and be a martyr about it (in public). I couldn’t understand why life was so hard! Anyway, Cole said something to the effect of “your attitude toward the work that life gives you determines how that work will go”. It was an ah-ha moment, and in an instant I saw how much of the suffering in my life stemmed directly from my resistance to doing the unglamorous work life gave me while seeking the glamorous stuff. Ever since, my relationship with work has been very different.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC TO PRACTICE TO (OR DO YOU PREFER SILENCE!?)

Depends on how I’m feeling… silence is golden, but sometimes you gotta get your jam on. Sometimes the practice is just to dance!

YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS, YOGI-INSPIRED AND FICTION.

I don’t read very many books these days, but I used to love Isaac Asimov. It might sound boring, but all of my yoga books at this point are reference books — if you really want to know, my favourite reference book for yoga is Hatha Yoga Illustrated.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST TEACHER TRAINING.

Ah, it was at Noorish with Jana Derges (Roemer). Things were very weird. I was going through a lot of depressing stuff and trying to figure out if life was worth living. There was very little stability in my life. I sold almost everything (and all of my musical gear) to afford the teacher training, and was bouncing between living in a tiny wood-heated cabin on a farm outside of Edmonton and living with my parents. And I wasn’t even sure I wanted to teach yoga!

In the end the whole process was hugely transformational, and was exactly what I had needed at the time.

WHERE'S YOUR FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT?

That’s a secret. But my second favourite vacation spot is here in Edmonton. There is so much to do! Bike trails, the valley, river swimming, acro jams, festivals, live music, and of course yoga. Plus no packing or expensive tickets required!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL TO MAKE AND SHARE WITH FRIENDS?

Curry stir-fry. Yum!

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

So many people have inspired me along my journey that it’s impossible to list them all. There’s a quality to a person who is living their truth, and it shines through every action and word. These are the people who inspire me.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FESTIVAL TO ATTEND?

There are a couple wonderful electronic festivals at Metis Crossing near Smoky Lake. The land out there is beautiful, and I love returning there to celebrate life and party!

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IF YOU COULD STUDY WITH ONE PERSON WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

There’s no one teacher I feel drawn to. I’m ever grateful for the dedication and knowledge of teachers like Ricky and Melissa, who pour their passion into what they do.

WHAT IS THE BEST CONCERT YOU'VE EVER BEEN TO?

Tough choice. It’s tied between Emancipator and the Cat Empire.

WHERE'S THE NEXT PLACE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL?

I don’t have too much of a travel bug at this moment. The last few trips I’ve taken were painful in profound ways, and I’ve really come to appreciate Canada.

SHARE YOUR FAVOURITE SELF-HEALING PRACTICE.

Of my two favourite self-healing practices, one isn’t family friendly, but the other is getting into nature. The patterns in nature are infinitely more complex than anything we’ve created as humans. They inspire the soul and free the mind of restriction. There is space to think, to be, to breathe. I’ve always felt that cathedrals have tried to emulate the spacious feeling of an old-growth forest, and there is a reason people are drawn to cathedrals to pray.

SHARE ONE OF YOUR LIFE GOALS.

To be free.


Find Chris on our schedule!