#ODDLight Teacher Feature: Courtney Sauls
Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class.
Name: Courtney Sauls
Nick Name: Court, Courtie, CoCo, CoCo Chanel (my rap name…seriously, I drop bars), Co, and C.Sauls
Hometown: H-Town (Houston, TX)
Favorite Place: My bed. Sleep. Dreams.
Favorite color: Yellow (mustard is my fav tone but I like all yellows)
What’s your sign? LEO!
Most embarrassing moment?
Ok, I’ll probably regret sharing this but there’s been a handful of times in my adult life that I have peed in the bed. Yeah. The only reasonable explanation is extreme stress and anxiety (something I’ve dealt with my entire life). When my boyfriend and I started dating I had one of those incredibly humiliating occurrences while he was sleeping over. Mortifying. He stuck around. That’s compassion.
Most empowering moment?
Breaking up with my ex and living alone for the first time ever. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Being independent provided such a huge growth spurt for me.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
- I changed the spelling of my name in the 4th grade to COURTNIE cause I saw it in a magazine and spelled it that way until a few years ago. I got into college and did other very official things under that spelling. It took my mom years to remember to spell it that way and one day I decided I wasn’t “IE” anymore. I’m back to the original spelling on my birth certificate. I have friends since childhood that still spell my name Courtnie.
- My playlists match my themes for class. I check the lyrics for EVERY song I play to make sure it fits into my teachings for that week/day/class. It might be a stretch sometimes but it always makes sense. I believe playlists are a subconscious layer to the practice. Listen a little closer next time 🙂
- I’ve watched every episode of SEX AND THE CITY so many times I can quote the entire series! My best friend and I would watch it incessantly while living in NY. It’s a go-to background for cleaning, cooking, or really anything. I hate Carrie’s scream though!
Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something hat you love to tell.
I don’t know if this is something that I LOVE to tell but it was definitely life changing. I was living in New York City during 9/11. Actually I lived a few blocks away in an NYU dorm. That morning my roommate and I were getting ready for class and the building shook when the first plane hit. We went onto the balcony to see what was happening (earthquakes are not usually a thought on the East Coast). Unable to see anything we boarded the bus to campus. Driving by the towers we could see the gaping hole in the building. Phones weren’t working. There was chaos. I watched the second plane hit surrounded by others at Washington Square. The hospitals were turning people away because of all the volunteers for blood donations. I ended up sleeping on a friend’s floor for days since I was not allowed back to my dorm (it was too close to ground zero). The city was changed after that day. People oozed with compassion and kindness. I’ve never felt more a part of something than I did after the tragedy of that day. I will never forget.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
Acting. I’ve been acting my entire life. I went to a performing arts high school and graduated from NYU with a BFA. I’m still acting and I still love it!
How do you define yoga?
I believe yoga is a lifestyle. It is the constant quest for light, love, and freedom. It is the understanding that challenging times are opportunities for expansion. It’s fucking up and moving on. It’s grace. It’s connection. It’s anything and everything that is mindful and from the heart.
Why do you teach?
Yoga changed my life. It has made me more loving to myself and others. It has given me tools to calm my anxiety. It has helped me love my body which I hated for so long. It has given me the strength to live my dreams. It’s a daily reminder to live fully. I’ll share it with anyone who’ll listen. If you’ve taken one of my classes, you know.
What brought you to become an instructor?
I was in a class once with a teacher I loved and trusted and afterwards she came up to me and said another student randomly asked if I was a teacher. Both of these ladies claimed gifts of special vision. A teacher training was starting soon and every time my teacher saw me she would hand me a flyer about the training. I knew I couldn’t afford it but I was incredibly interested. I ended up taking the training the next year originally just to deepen my practice but after a few weeks the bug bit. I knew I was called to teach others what had changed my life in such a remarkable way.
What is your favorite song to play in class?
Anything Erykah Badu or Radiohead. You will hear at least one of their songs on almost every playlist.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
Backbends hands down. Love opening that heart thang. (WORKSHOP MAY 7th and MAY21st!)
Memorable yoga moment?
The first time I did crow into headstand I was in a class of about 7. The teacher is my main teacher now, my mentor, my friend. Everyone in the class was fairly advanced practitioners. She cued the transition and I hesitated because I had never done it before. Because the class was small and all of the students her regulars she said we would all go together. I just remember hearing her say “Courtney, we’re waiting on you”. I was so caught off guard and slightly embarrassed but I joined them immediately! She knew I could do it. It was the moment I stopped being afraid on my mat. Well, mostly.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc)
A towel! I sweat like a beast. Seriously dripping no matter what. I hate when I forget a towel. It makes it harder to focus when sweat is burning my eyes and tickling my ears. Ha!
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
Donate to Flint, Michigan or Bullies and Buddies
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to connect with you on or tell people about?
My 2 part backbending series! Put Your Back Into It – Saturday May 7th and Saturday May 21st – 2-4pm do one or both!
@court_mcgee (my IG)