Catching Up With Brigid Korce, 2014 Yoga Alliance Foundation Scholarship Recipient
January 11, 2016
In 2014, the Yoga Alliance Foundation awarded one of the two Aspiring Yoga Teacher scholarships to Brigid Korce. Brigid has over 18 years of experience working in the field of social welfare. Her vibrant community in Durango, Colo., sees her as a voice for those who “fall between the cracks,” including the mentally ill, the homeless and victims of domestic violence.
We recently sat down with Brigid, RYT 200, to hear how her scholarship impacted her ability to take her service to a new level.
Yoga Alliance: What was the most memorable part of your training, Brigid?
Brigid Korce: My memories in the class are still being made. I am blessed to be studying with my teachers for many years, Sheryl McGourty and Michele Lawrence, E-RYT 500. They have also been very cognizant of bringing in experts to help deepen our training. We have studied with Nicolai Bachman, E-RYT 500; Baxter Bell, E-RYT 500; and Nischala Joy Devi, E-RYT 500, among others. Because my training was spread out over one year, I found it very easy to integrate the teachings into my daily life. I have three children, a job, a husband; I am blessed with a very full life. I think if I went away to an intensive class, many of the teachings would have been lost upon my return to bills, stress and responsibility. This schedule has allowed me to maintain my daily practice, supplemental study and service work. Our class took a weekend residential retreat in November and it was a very powerful experience where all of us became very close. Over the course of a year, you can really see how a person changes. I feel that these relationships and experiences have been such a significant part of my personal development.
YA: Of the lessons you learned in your training, what helps you most today?
BK: There are so many important lessons, I don’t think I could pick just one. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that asana, while important, is but one part of yoga. I've always known this, but after this training it resonates with me even more. We studied the sutras with Nischala Joy Devi during one powerful weekend in the spring of 2015. What I took away from that weekend is the divine nature of each person and the power that our yoga practice has to reconnect us with our true nature. As B.K.S. Iyengar once said, "My body is a temple, asana my prayer." For me, asana has become a prayer, an offering to my true nature and an intention that affects all who I come into contact with in this world. Practicing yoga is a way to help people uncover their true nature. All people are on their own personal path in this life. There is not one practice for anyone, yet yoga is a proven opportunity for anyone’s self-discovery. My role as a teacher is to hold a sacred space, provide compassion and love and give to students what I have been so lucky to obtain through my teachers.
YA: How have the skills you learned in your training allowed you to serve others?
BK: I spent my summer teaching yoga at the Southwest Safehouse in Durango, Colo.. It was a series of classes for women who were living in a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. While my professional work experience has been with this population, the experience of sharing yoga with them was new and beautiful. I loved the opportunity to help these women go below the layers of trauma, despair and anxiety. For just a few moments at the end of class, they were able to let go of everything they were carrying and go to bed with a clearer mind. I also co-taught an eight-week class called "Housing to Wholeness" with transitioning homeless families in our community. I was able to integrate many yoga-based lessons into the course. I am working to implement yoga classes at other nonprofit agencies helping those at risk. My work is very rewarding and fulfilling. Luckily, more people in my community are seeing the clear benefits of making yoga accessible to people who typically do not have the means to pay for classes.
YA: So Brigid, what’s next for you on your yoga journey?
BK: I will continue to do my work with people that are unable to access yoga through traditional channels. I believe that my work in this world is to try and give hope to the suffering (including me) and to bring more feminine yogi energy into the workplaces that serve people. Each person has their own samskaras to work through in this life; compassion is the only way to change this world. I would like to help nonprofits develop a more human approach to service delivery that reduces burnout rates for their workers. I will also continue my professional community work that seeks to build housing for the homeless. I bring yogic principles into my everyday work as it already impacts my work and my communication with others positively.
YA: What did winning the Yoga Alliance Foundation scholarship mean to you?
BK: This scholarship means so very much. This scholarship has offered me the ability to give yoga to students who would not otherwise seek it out. With my solid foundation of yoga knowledge, I can locate funding for my projects in partnership with nonprofits. I truly believe that this will have an impact that ripples out into the world. Without this scholarship, I would have had to reconsider the feasibility of this training. Thank you, Yoga Alliance.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Brigid! We're excited to see where your yoga journey will take you next.