Meet the Exotic Yoga Retreats Team: Sylvia Ferguson
At Exotic Yoga Retreats, our goal is to make luxury travel accessible and unique. One of the most wonderful aspects of joining an Exotic Yoga Retreat is the personal interactions you will have with our outstanding team of experts.
From the moment of your first inquiry, until you say goodbye to the new friends you’ve met on a retreat, we hope that every interaction you have with all of us at Exotic Yoga Retreats to be a reflection of our values.
Meet Sylvia Ferguson, Exotic Yoga Retreats yoga teacher and retreat leader. Sylvia will be leading our Budapest and Holiday 2019 yoga retreats this year. This week, we had an opportunity to chat with Sylvia about her beautiful yoga practice and what inspires her on and off the mat.
Exotic Yoga Retreats (EYR): Hi, Sylvia! You have been a part of Exotic Yoga Retreats for some time, and it’s always fun to have our clients, new and returning, get to know you a little bit better. First, tell us about how you got started with yoga. What inspired you to begin practicing?
Sylvia: Yoga happened upon me just when I needed it most. I was feeling broken, in body and in mind. In my local neighbourhood I saw that my childhood ballet teacher was teaching yoga classes. I loved my ballet teacher, her beautiful garden, and the little studio she had there. So, instead of going to the gym one night I cautiously entered the garden of my childhood memories and the world of yoga. From that night on yoga became an integral part of my weekly routine, as the love grew, an integral part of my life. I still value practicing yoga in beautiful locations and immerse myself in nature while teaching and practising whenever I can.
EYR: Our clients are so excited to experience your teaching this year, starting with our retreat in Budapest! As they prepare to meet you, many are curious: which traditions and practices influence your teaching?
Sylvia: As a former Ashtangi I love the discipline and quieting of the primary series with Ujayi breath. Anusara cultivated a love of exploration, alignment shifts, and subtle changes that offer profound freedom. As life goes on I am increasingly drawn to the quiet whispers that manifest when I follow the motions of a simple classic hatha yoga flow. My academic mind is currently intrigued by the study of Mindfulness and how it dances with classic yoga philosophy.
EYR: What a perfect balance of styles and inspiration! How do you put this all together as you prepare to teach on a yoga retreat?
Sylvia: Each yoga retreat is unique to the participants and our opening circle often puts the final touches to our journey together. Being a tutor on yoga teacher trainings I always have an eye on solid learning that is progressive and embodied, so students learn life-long skills they can turn to again and again. Happily, I often hear back from our retreat guests that their practices with me stay with them long beyond the retreat. Underlying everything I do is the influence of my school-teacher mother who always taught with a very kind, loving heart.
EYR: And one of our favorite questions to ask: what yoga pose can you not live without?
Sylvia: Ardha chadrasana, half-moon pose! When I’m shaky it grounds me, when I’m sad it uplifts me, when I’m balanced and happy I fly in the pose. For me, it’s the perfect expression of strength and expansion infused in joy!
EYR: Love this! Half-moon is such a great pose! As we all get excited about your instruction, what are the energetic effects of your classes?
Sylvia: I love this question as it’s changing all the time! I used to be all about high energy, uplifting flows with peak poses that take us beyond our perceived limitations, thank you Anusara! Now I play a little throughout the flow with poses that bring quietness and introspection in short quiet doses. My students have noticed this subtle change and some report a few happy, quiet, tears. So I suppose you could say I make people cry! In a good way!
EYR: This balance of energy and introspection sounds just wonderful on retreat. Ok, now to get to know you a little bit better off of the mat! We like to ask questions from the Proust Questionnaire, which was popularized by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist. Proust believed that through answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Are you ready for some of life’s big questions?
Sylvia: Of course!
EYR: First off, what is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sylvia: An early rise on a sunny day, followed by a forest walk alone or with a loved one, furry or human.
EYR: That sounds pretty perfect to us! What is your greatest extravagance?
Sylvia: My skincare and my essential oils. Not necessarily an extravagance in financial terms but an extravagance of time for sure! I cannot start my daily meditation without an elaborate choosing of appropriate essential oils and a few carefully selected layers of skincare soaking in for a multi-tasking mediation session.
EYR: Ah, essential oils are so wonderful indeed! Tell us about your current state of mind.
Sylvia: Peaceful, enthusiastic, balanced. I feel quite mature, in a good way!
EYR: That’s a wonderful state of mind to welcome guests on retreat and enjoy the best that a yoga holiday has to offer. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Sylvia: Right now it’s my 10-month-old German Shepherd puppy who has taught me that the love hormone is just as strong for furry loved ones as it is for human loved ones. Tell me you love your dog as much as you love humans and we have bonded for life!
EYR: We have lots of dog lovers here at Exotic Yoga Retreats so this makes perfect sense to us! Is there a particular talent you really wish you had?
Sylvia: I would love to be able to sing. I can, of course, sing, but I’d love to be the one that moves you to tears rather than moves you to the other side of the room!
EYR: We forgot to mention how funny you also are! Good one! And what do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sylvia: I am very proud of my three incredible children. They are, without a doubt, my greatest gift to the world. Second to that, I am very proud of the life-changing work I do every week as a humble yoga teacher showing up for my incredibly committed students.
EYR: Those are two pretty incredible achievements. Where would you most like to live?
Sylvia: I love where I live, in the Dublin Mountains overlooking the Irish Sea just on the outskirts of our beautiful city centre. I have lived in many places all over the world, I am so grateful to have found a home and settled here.
EYR: Dublin is such a wonderful place, and what a great balance of sea, mountains, and city. We can’t wait to visit you soon. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Sylvia: To be trapped with golden handcuffs to a life that is financially rewarding but soul-destroying. I escaped this life by the skin of my teeth.
EYR: So appreciate your candor, and so happy you’ve found a life that is rewarding! And, what is your most marked characteristic?
Sylvia: My children say I’m positive, my friends say I’m funny, my students say I’m kind. I think I’m pretty solid and dependable.
EYR: All such wonderful characteristics, that is a great combination! Who is your hero of fiction?
Sylvia: Ferris Bueller. He helped me find balance in life.
EYR: And finally, when and where were you happiest?
Sylvia: I am getting happier and happier as I move through life so this question will be redundant by the time it’s published.
EYR: And that is the perfect way to end our time together. Thank you so much, Sylvia, for sharing a part of yourself with our Exotic Yoga Retreats Family. We are so excited to see you on retreat and know our clients will enjoy getting to know you better!