Teacher Feature - Betsy Mayotte

In the early 1970's I attended my first yoga class at the YMCA in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. I was surprised to find in the practice a deep sense of peace, health, and contentment in my body. I was eager to share this new passion with others, even way back then. At the time, I was an English teacher in a high school located near a Jesuit seminary – now the home of Kripalu. Each spring teachers in my school were invited to offer a mini-session class on a subject of personal interest. I taught yoga and I vividly remember encouraging my students to hear, trust, and use their own voices in life.

To this day, I believe this inner knowing is perhaps the greatest gift of yoga. Our practice helps us explore our true nature, to find that we already have within us the seeds of goodness we need to flourish in this life. As my dear teacher, Kathy Donnelly, often says: we just need to water the seeds we want to grow!

Since those early years in high school classrooms, I have had the good fortune to serve in many roles in education. My work has been rewarding, exhilarating, and often stressful. I had imagined in a perfect world I would eventually leave my "day job" and become a full-time yoga teacher. Through my practice and my teaching, however, I have found yoga is my path of engagement with the world and my calling is education. Once again, surprised by yoga! So I remain professionally active, in my 23rd year with JHU, while also teaching yoga to students of all ages and levels of ability. For two years I taught yoga to junior tennis players in the regional USTA training center at College Park and continue to teach adult players there. I've taught aqua yoga, incorporating my love of swimming and the water environment. I teach yoga to children and young adults with autism through the Howard County Autism Society and at the Hussman Institute for Autism at UMBC. I love variety in my teaching and seek to expand access to yoga where it is most needed.

Over the years I've experienced how yoga meets us where we are, sustaining health and well-being from our youth, through our years as "householders," to our later years as "empty-nesters," and into retirement. Students in my classes are encouraged to hear their inner wisdom, the teacher within, and acknowledge what the body, mind, and spirit need in the moment.

In my classes, students focus on good alignment as a foundation for safe practice. I am certified as a fitness trainer and exercise specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medication (NASM), so students also hear evidence-based instruction on the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems and how they contribute to healthy movement. They learn various breathing and meditation techniques to calm the nervous system, smooth the fluctuations of the mind, and open the door to new levels of awareness. Most important, students are encouraged to take their practice off the mat and into their daily activities, with the intention to be fully present in every moment - for themselves and for others.

I am registered with the Yoga Alliance as an RYT500 and am privileged to offer the following classes at the Yoga Center of Columbia:

Wednesdays, 11am-12:30pm GENTLE/LEVEL 1 YOGA
Sundays, 10:45am – 12:15pm, GENTLE YOGA
Saturdays, 3:30-4:30pm (semi-monthly), YOGA FOR AUTISM

Find me on FaceBook, Elizabeth Kling Mayotte; on LinkedIn, Betsy Mayotte; or by email, ekmayotte@gmail.com.