We love our Manager, Taylor Hudson so very much. She is one of the most kind, thoughtful, caring, engaged and creative women you will ever meet. If you have ever taken one of Taylor’s classes and visited with her in the lobby, you know exactly what we are talking about. She is so motivated to help you achieve what you seek in your yoga practice and your experience here at Union Yoga Co that it is hard not to get swept up by her enthusiasm. And if you haven’t taken one of Taylor’s classes…what are you waiting for?! You will love her carefully-crafted classes, her specially-curated playlists and her sweet, yet strong instructor style. She is a powerful person on and off the mat and we are so grateful to have her as a member of our yoga family.
We asked her to be our Instructor Spotlight this month. Read on to learn more about the one and only, Taylor Hudson.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
So many titles came to my mind, similar to when I am naming my paintings it is hard to pin down so many feelings and experiences in one word or sentence. Something along the lines of "Observations" or "I'm trying my best."
How long have you been practicing yoga? What made you want to become a yoga instructor?
I started practicing yoga around the age of 16, I was a moody teenager and my mother used to drag me 3 times a week to Donna Hutchinson's basement to practice yoga. I consider Donna Hutchinson to be my first teacher and a huge mentor in who I have become today through instruction and yoga practice. Dance was a large part of my life in my childhood, I danced for 11 years and left in my teens. After leaving dance I felt a piece of myself was missing and did not understand how deeply yoga would be the practice that completed me. After studying with Donna in semi private classes for a couple years, I joined a few studios in my neighbourhood. Around the age of 21, I had an opportunity to take a Yoga teacher training under my mentor Donna's teacher Kim Sheridan. This was her last teacher training she had intended to offer and I knew I had to pursue. I always wanted to be a teacher, I taught art classes to children as my first job when I was 14. I never realized that it would manifest into yoga instruction. When things are right they fall into place, I trusted in myself and my teachers and took my training.
In my childhood, movement and dance was my outlet for me to process my emotions. When I quit I felt a tremendous loss, yoga healed this. I admired how my mentors/teachers held space for me and I would observe how they did the same for others. We all approach our mats carrying so many weights, pain in our bodies, pain in our emotions and the constant constraints of our day to day life. I care very deeply for all beings, I always wanted to be the vessel to help and nurture others. As a student I am fascinated by anatomy and our body mechanics when we are within asana practice, It took me years to understand pranayama. I finally felt that ah ha moment! I am truly breathing! I can feel my body calming down! Through exploration of this powerful practice I knew I wanted to share and be a part of it. Through authenticity and compassion I hope to continue to create space for others to practice self acceptance, mindfulness, and above all gratitude.
Soooo, we heard you are an artist! Can you tell us about your art?
Yes I can! I am a multidisciplinary artist focused on the mediums of large scale oil painting. For the past few years my primary subject matter has been fragmenting the body; specifically images of surgery and viscera. I am fascinated by the balance between beauty and ugly. Often my work is abstracted to the point where subject matter is unrecognizable but transcends into a state where the aura of a body is represented. There is a dysphoric quality to my work, I used bright saturated colours to soften the dysphoria. My work intends to ask "What does it mean to be in my body? Does my soul connect to the physical vessel I reside in?" Formally these paintings repurpose physical trauma and suffering into something that is pleasing to the eye. Yoga has deeply influenced my artwork through body exploration during asana practice. Even more so movement as a meditation, I used my entire body in my paintings. I cut the lumber, build the canvas frames, stretch and gesso the "body" of the painting. Could we consider the frame of a canvas the bones and the canvas itself the skin? What is left is the artwork that rests on top, the image and colour is the soul of the piece. As I use and labour my body into these paintings, the message I hope to convey is the meditation of the entire creation process.
What yoga pose(s) makes you happy?
There is a place for all poses, even when certain poses I feel frustrated in sometimes, there will be other times I can celebrate them. A few of my absolutely favourite poses for starters would be supported bridge! I love it so much! Nearing the end of practice often some final backbends are offered such as bridge and wheel, I get a kick out of always grabbing my block and resting. A few other poses I love would definitely be Janu sirsasana and ustrasana. I am a big fan of any postures that focus on external rotation of the hips. It is a comfortable place for me to be in my body. Strong hip openers and also preparatory shapes that create complex openings within the body I am always happy and excited to see where it goes.
If you could go anywhere in the world for an all-expenses paid vacation, where would you go and what would you do?
I want to drink wine in Italy in the hot sun thinking about art.
What is the funniest place you have ever fallen asleep?
It's really easy for me to fall asleep anywhere, probably on the skytrain many times after spending the day in Vancouver with my friends. Always wake up before the station though!
If your pet could talk, what would be his catch phrase?
My dog Rusty absolutely loves Steely Dan, so most likely "Can we play Steely Dan's Do It Again, one more time?"
What's a pet peeve that you would make illegal if you could?
I have a few haha, I feel it all wraps up into manners. I really can't stand when people are openly impolite. Just say please and thank you, be gracious, show up on time and be kind. Anything less should be illegal!
Anything else? Is there a surprising fun fact you'd like to share?
I take a lot of pride in curating playlists for my classes almost as much as creative sequencing. I am a big music person, I met my husband 10 years ago at a Japanese industrial noise concert. I love sprinkling fun songs and artists I like into my classes, hoping people will like them too.
I am really grateful for the community at Union Yoga Co and anyone who enters our door. When I joined the studio after moving from Canada, I felt like I could really be myself and it means the world to me to get to practice and teach alongside everyone.