Spotlight On...Corrin McAlarney

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This month we are shining our spotlight on another local Jaya teacher.  Corrin McAlarney led an active life growing up in Dickson City.  While she spent years involved in baton twirling and cheerleader, she also enjoyed being outdoors ice skating and swimming.   

Throughout her life Corrin has been guided by a passion to help others, and after high school she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing at Misericordia University in Dallas, PA.  Since then she has worked in various areas of the medical field, all focused on patient care.

It wasn't until 2013 that she first tried yoga.  There came a point where Corrin felt stress was significantly effecting her daily life, both personally and professionally.  When she saw a notice on Facebook for the Beginner’s Series at Jaya, she made plans to attend with a co-worker.  And, as they say, the rest is history.  When asked what made her stick with yoga, Corrin responded, “From the moment I entered the studio, I felt like this was where I was supposed to be at that point in my life.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt different - - in a positive way.”

After she completed the Beginner’s Series, Corrin began to attend class at least three to four times a week.  With each class she saw an internal shift within herself.  “Though life will always be stressful, I found a release through yoga.”

In 2016 Corrin decided to enroll in the Teacher Training program.  The impetus for this had nothing to do with becoming a teacher, and this is something I hear often when interviewing for this series; much more than I expected.  Like others, Corrin was looking to “dive deeper” into her own practice.  She didn’t want the expectations of being a teacher; she just wanted to dig deep.  And dig deep she did.  Also, similar to our other teachers, Corrin lists the relationships that were developed as being a major benefit of the experience.  “The fellow trainees were really supportive, and we each brought our own personal experience and love for yoga, which made it so special.”

Corrin was the first in her group to teach outside of the program.  Half way through the training, she decided to plan a class as a fundraiser in support of a friend who was participating in Ryan’s Run.  In the lead up to that class, Corrin said the support of her co-trainees proved invaluable.  While she was nervous about the undertaking, everything went off as planned.  The day of the class Corrin faced over 30 faces, and all of her fellow trainees were in attendance.  “Having the other trainees there eased my nerves and let me enjoy how special the experience was.”  When it was over she realized that “guiding students through this moving meditation was a gift.”

When asked her favorite way to unwind, Corrin responded without hesitation, “Yoga.  If I am not on my mat regularly, it shows.  And those who know and love me can see it.”  All of our teachers I’ve spoken to thus far have told me something similar, and the longer I am involved in yoga the more I understand this.

Outside of yoga and work, Corrin and her husband spend their free time being active outdoors - riding bikes and hiking - or traveling.  “We are always up for an adventure!”

Dishonesty is her biggest pet peeve.  “In the world today, I feel we need to hold ourselves accountable, which creates self confidence and builds strong relationships within our work place and with those who are closest to us.”  And, as they say, “honesty is the best policy.” 

Corrin’s overall health and wellness philosophy?  “Be grateful for the body you inhabit today.  Each day our body shows up differently.  So, instead of being hard on ourselves, we need to listen to our body and give it what it needs - - whether that is rest, exercise, nutrition, etc.”  Corrin’s reminder to “be kind to your body because it is the only one you get” really hit home for me, and it certainly reflects the practice and philosophy of yoga.

When asked where she saw herself in five years, Corrin responded,  “Happy and in a good place.  I have no expectations.  I just try to live every day to the fullest.”

In reference to her favorite pose, Corrin had a great visual to share:  “I love reverse warrior.  I always think - reach forward and grab whatever it is that is holding you back that day …. then just throw it over your shoulder.  Release it and let it go.”  Sounds good to me!  Corrin continued: “Much like life, our yoga practice is a continual practice of working towards the best version of ourselves, which we do each time our feet hit our mats.”  Very wise words.

Corrin told me she doesn’t really have a least favorite pose, and that did not surprise me.  “I have held back on arm balances and inversions, but recently in my home practice I’ve been focusing more on them and seeing that they are a possibility.”

The best aspect of Teacher Training?  It remains the same for everyone I’ve interviewed - the relationships forged.  And many add to that the experience of sharing.  “We all brought a different dynamic, which is what made the experience so special” Corrin told me.  “Everyone there had a shared, mutual love of yoga.  To move and breathe on your mat with people who have the same appreciation and love of yoga was inspiring.”

The worst aspect? “When it was over.  That was hard.  Everyone has their own life and we’re all busy.  I love the days when I come to class and am able to practice in a room full of fellow yogis.”

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My favorite question to ask is about the influences a teacher feels they bring to the classes they teach.  It’s so interesting when I’m talking to someone whose class I take, because I am never surprised by their answer.  “I like to think I offer a space to move and breathe with challenges along the way.  Sometimes we find ourselves in our heads.  We might be thinking, ‘I can’t.  This is too hard,’ and maybe we compare ourselves to the person on the mat next to us.  But we have to remember: we are all strong.  Some things may come easier, but others we have to work harder for.  Usually the poses we shy away from the most are the ones our bodies need the most.  When you roll out your mat, I encourage you to be present for those moments you are on it, to listen to your body, and to give it what it needs, what it deserves.”

I closed the interview by asking what was her favorite yoga class to take.  “It depends on how I am feeling that day.  Sometimes I seek an open level class to challenge myself, other days Yin or Restorative call to me.  Every day I look forward to getting on my mat, tapping into my breathe, and finding that moving meditation.”

Thank you Corrin.  It was a pleasure!