Meet Charlotte Messervy (Hatha and Yin Yoga teacher)

Birthplace?  
Boston, Massachusetts in the USA.  Known equally for their amazing universities and Irish crime movies. 

When did you move to OZ?
Two and a half years ago.  My father is Australian so I am blessed with dual citizenship. 

What’s your signature dish?
Probably a burrito with barramundi, avocado, roasted corn and black beans, cheese, and all the other fixings.  I am very sophisticated like that.

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee all the way.

Favourite café?
Albert & Moore in Freshwater, where I live.  Great food and coffee.
In the city, I love the Papermill.  It’s a beautiful old building with excellent food and coffee and a lovely staff.

Cat or Dog?
I grew up with two cats and two dogs – very egalitarian!  My fiancé, Mike, and I want to get a dog though.  We are just struggling to decide on what kind we would both agree on!

Star Sign?
Libra – this is me to a T.  I strive for harmony and a life filled with beauty.

What quote do you live by?
Life is to be enjoyed.  Mike’s mum said it to be three years ago and I think about it almost every day.  What are we doing if we aren’t enjoying life?  Responsibilities cannot overshadow our potential for joy.

What Yoga style do you practice?
A total mix – I love yin, hatha and ashtanga.  It is dependent on my mood, the weather, and how my body is feeling that day.  I tend towards slower practices more often because, up until a few weeks ago, I worked in the city in a stressful environment. 

Our yoga practice has to balance our daily life and, for me, that often means allowing myself to slow down, to find stillness and peace. 

How did you start yoga?
I started out doing Bikram Yoga in Harvard Square.  It was my escape from the stress of the corporate world.  I found that, unlike other forms of physical exercise (which is what I thought of it as then), I had this endless well of energy to put towards it. 

I did that for three years and then found myself more interested in the philosophy and tradition behind yoga so I kept moving towards more and more traditional forms.  I remember being terrified at my first meditation class and then loved it. Eventually I landed in Freshie and signed up for YTT at Qi. 

What does Yoga give you in a few words?
Peace and perspective.  I was a chronic over-thinker with insomnia and anxiety until a couple of years ago.  Yoga (which, for me, includes a regular meditation practice) has helped me to find space in situations which feel stuck.  It has allowed me to find a way to be both honest and loving at the same time.  It has quietened the childish voice of my ego and, instead, enabled me to trust in my ability to handle anything that comes my way. 
(That was more than a few words…but I wasn’t over-thinking it!)

When and where did you do your first Teacher Training?
In 2016, one month after moving to Australia.  Fate put me in Freshwater and there was a spot left at Qi.  I had no friends and no job!  It meant I studied constantly.  One of my classmates asked me if I had a photographic memory.  I said “No I just don’t have any friends.”  Haha! Thankfully I have a great friend-family here now.

I’ve also done Reiki I and II and meditation facilitator training.  I am about to start yin training and I can’t wait!


Favourite pose?
I’m not allowed to have one!  (Cravings cause suffering, as we know from yoga 🙂 )

But I love Viparita Karani (when you put your legs up the wall and lie your torso flat to the ground).  I used to sneak into empty conference rooms in my office to do it in times of stress.  It is so grounding and, literally and figuratively, changes your perspective. 

Least favourite pose?
Honestly? Plank. Am I allowed to admit that?  It’s a necessary evil but I still don’t enjoy it.

If you could study with any teacher, who would it be and why?
Donna Farhi’s books have been hugely influential to me and I come back to them time after time.  I hope to study with her on one of her future trips.

Best in-class blooper?
Nothing too bad yet except making up words when my mind goes blank.  “Bring your top body to your bottom body” that kind of thing.  I’m sure I’ll have worse soon enough.

Lululemon or Dharmabums?
I have both and love both for different reasons.  But Lulu’s Align Pants are like wearing a cloud and I have yet to find anything more comfortable.

Where would be your ultimate Yoga retreat destination?

My dream is to someday build a retreat centre at treetop height on my mother’s property in Vermont.  She lives in a heavily forested area with a beaver pond on it.  I think it is the most beautiful place on Earth – one where I have so many happy memories including the wedding of my sister.  I’d like to host a retreat there – we’ll just need to start building that centre first…

 

What do you love most about your job?
Giving people the time & space to explore & accept themselves. 

The experience of a yoga practice will be different for everyone – for some it may be physical, others it may be mental, emotional or spiritual.  I love having the ability to offer each person the space to experience whatever they need to that day and to give them full license to explore that in a safe and supportive environment. 

What have you given up to teach yoga?
Trying to be someone else.  As a relatively new teacher, I’ve gone through many stages of what I want my classes to be.  In the beginning, I thought they had to be fancy and intense.  Then I wanted them to be super foundational.  Now I am loving a more exploratory style class. 

It keeps coming back to teaching what you yourself have experienced.  You can tell when someone is playing the role of a teacher and when they are actually speaking from an authentic place.  I keep having to pull my ego back to make sure my classes are truly from the heart rather than just trying to please people.  This is when a teacher can become great.

What have you gained by teaching yoga?
Trust.  One of my teachers, Joan Miller, taught me the importance of trust and surrender and it’s something you can spend a lifetime working on.  I’m in the thick of it! 

I am taking lots of leaps of faith lately, but they all come from an intuitive place of trust and a belief that things happen at the perfect time.  My belief is strong enough to allow me to give up my steady job to try to follow my own destiny and stop operating from a place of lack (a lack of trust in my own abilities, in having enough money or opportunities to sustain me, etc).  When we operate this way, we will never find abundance!  I’m giving the opposite a shot and I’ll report back.

If you could talk to your pre-yoga self, what would you tell her?
Stop looking externally for the answers – everything you need to know is already inside you.

What hobbies/activities do you have outside yoga?
I’ve just left my full-time career coaching role to work on my own business (sankalpa.co).  This is all about marrying yogic principles into the business world and bringing some coaching concepts into the yoga world.  I love creating immersive experiences so that people can see other ways of thinking or doing things – this is why I love holding events, workshops, and retreats. I am running my first day retreat at Qi on April 8th and would love to have you!

I’ve also been doing abstract painting for the last year.  It started completely out of the blue. It is perhaps the only activity in my entire life where I can do something with no expectations or analysis and just be present in the process.  Weirdly enough, I’ve sold a few paintings.  It’s amazing to see people want something you did purely out of love.  How incredible!

I also love to write and process things through writing.  I chronicled a solo round the world trip back in 2015 through writing. Mark has posted a few of my pieces on the Qi blog.

How long have you taught at Qi?
A bit more than a year now.  I picked up some cover classes before finishing my teacher training and have been lucky enough to get some regular classes and foundational workshop series.  Qi is my home and I am incredibly proud to be a part of its incredible staff.

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