Becky Clifford started practicing yoga nine years ago after a cancer diagnosis. A friend invited her to a class at Easton Yoga in Pennsylvania, USA, and it was love at first breath! Without knowing what to expect, Becky was willing to try anything that could help her destress and heal. Becky started to notice how through her continuous practice on the mat, the changes resonated off the mat. Her body became more flexible, her mind clearer, her heart more open, and her health and vitality soared.
Becky had a healthy baby girl in 2013. She continued her education to include level 2 Reiki certification, a certified health coach via IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition), and a 200 hr Yoga Teacher Certification. She then moved to Zug, Switzerland with her family where she started BYouYoga. There she taught both private and group classes helping people feel more mobile and at peace inside their bodies. She is back in the US after 3.5 years abroad and is continuing her teaching journey as well as some blog writing and a yoga newsletter to keep people in the knows and in the flow.
Thank you for joining us Becky can you tell us a little bit about your background story as the founder of BYouYoga?
Sure, I’d love to. Growing up I was a nice, smart, hard-working, and pretty shy kid and didn’t really open up and branch out until I went away to college.
I’m a Hokie and graduate of Virginia Tech and after college, I worked for companies such as America Online, XM Satellite Radio, Bed Bath and Beyond, and then Labcorp. I’ve lived in VA, PA, NJ, and Switzerland for 3.5 years. After having survived cancer and had my daughter (who is the light of my life) – I went back to work but felt empty, really stressed, and having a difficult time finding a balance. I had fallen in love with yoga when a friend took me to a class after my cancer diagnosis and I had no idea of how my steady practice would change my world for the better and help me to heal. Yoga allowed me this sense of peace and balance and strength within that I had never felt before. I fell in love with my breath and my body. I eventually went on to do my teacher training and received my health coach certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I knew I wanted to help people. My husband had the opportunity to venture abroad so I was totally on board with taking that adventure. When I arrived in Switzerland- the land of cheese and chocolate – it was amazing to spend time with my daughter and explore but eventually, I was called back to teach.
I started a website and remember being so scared when my first class had people from all over the world and of many different levels so I actually quit. But somehow – someone found my website and contacted me to teach private lessons and I thought this is great – one body that I can really see the changes in and focus on them. Through this relationship, I gained more confidence to eventually start teaching group classes and grew my private client business and went on my first retreat. In July of this past year – we moved back to the US and I am currently teaching online classes, group classes, private classes & adding the health coaching piece back in! BYouYoga is also creating a monthly newsletter to share interviews with other yoga teachers, ideas on healthy eating, posture breakdown, and funny stories as well! I want nothing more than to help people feel comfortable in their bodies so that they can go out there and achieve their goals while ageing gracefully and gratefully.
You began practising yoga nine years ago after a cancer diagnosis, can you explore how this helped you to destress, heal and inevitably how has this helped shape the person you are today?
Sure – when I attended my first class I had no idea what to expect. But I remember something shifting in that one class. I jokingly told myself maybe it was the effects of chemo, but it left me wanting more. So I enrolled in my first 101 – which was an 8 week series at Easton Yoga, that teaches you the foundation of the most commonly used beginner postures so that one can feel comfy then taking themselves to a group class. I had an amazing teacher whose breath sounded like that of an ocean. In my twenties – I suffered panic attacks, eating disorders, and was drinking pretty heavily. As I started to connect to my breath and embody my body – lots of things opened up for me. Sleep, digestion, anxiety – it all improved and my weight was stable. I wanted to take care of my body. It was coming from within. Yoga helped me find peace inside that I know I can access given the time and the right conditions. As I fill myself up – I am able to better take care of those around me & I am a better overall person.
How are you guiding others throughout their unique journey whilst empowering each student to find what works for their body at each particular time?
During group classes – I check around often and when I feel the class getting disconnected to the breath – I guide them back to it. I also offer variations in poses. If someone has a lot of stress or physical restrictions – I highly recommend working with someone privately at first or taking something similar to a 101 so that you can be your own advocate on the mat during a group class. I think I am a highly intuitive person so I am always watching and saying things that I believe hit the right people at the right times.
Can you talk us through the many workshops and further education courses such as the Sadie Nardini’s HIIT yoga and Seane Corn’s the Yoga of Awakening that you have studied in order to successfully teach both privately and group sessions for your clients?
Sure – Seane Corn’s The Yoga of Awakening guided me through each chakra individually and then combined them all. It was a deep dive into the chakras, their alignment, and the postures designed for each one.
There was both a theoretical and experiential piece. With Sadie’s – I took this one after I had done yoga for about 5 years and wanted to see how to incorporate some higher intensity training into my own practice. Her training had individual modules to complete using yoga alignment and faster-paced sequencing. I also trained with a personal trainer and we did all sorts of exercise from burpees to weight training to jump roping.
The more I cross-trained – the more knowledge of my own muscular system I received as well as recovery times and nourishment needed. It was a lot of trial and error. I find that for my body – I love yoga the most! Yoga works best about 2-3 times a week with 1-2 higher intensity cardio sessions and a really amazing diet.
How does yoga help you to balance the work/life strife?
Well, the breath. The breath makes one more mindful so with practice, you start to notice when you are becoming more robotic (stressed, go go go) and I stop myself and do something more grounding.
What platforms are you using as marketing tools to promote BYouYoga?
I absolutely adore Instagram & I also post on Facebook. I am super excited to share the new monthly newsletter and expand my reader audience. The newsletter is FREE!
Do you currently use any apps or tools to help the functionality of your business practice?
Wordpress and my online training is through Eligthenment.com
If you could tell your 18-year old self a solid piece of advice, what would it be?
Love yourself and don’t be afraid to be you, even in the vulnerable moments and when your truth may not match someone else’s.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
I firmly believe that as women, we need to band together more and pick each other up. #together we rise. I think it is awesome that BEYOUROWN showcases women doing amazing things to help share themselves and their passions.
You have now relocated back to Easton to continue your teaching journey, so what does 2020 look like for you and how are you looking to expand BYouYoga?
I am currently teaching group classes at 2 locations and I plan to grow my private client yoga and health coaching business this year. I am super excited to share the monthly newsletter to keep people in the know and in the flow. I also plan to expand my online community through both elightenment.com & the Om Institute.
Image taken by Frederic Vanhecke
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