Name & Hometown: Charlene D Vukonich, Farmington Hills MI.
Who or what inspired you to be a yoga instructor: I think I was most influenced by Katherine Schaefer. I have always practiced yoga off and on since my 20’s, but never thought about teaching. I figured I loved my job so much I would work forever and did not have the time. I approached yoga as another tool in my fitness bag for understanding and working with my scoliosis. Since my mother suffered from severe scoliosis I never wanted to end up in her situation. Yoga, strength training, palettes and any kind of workout were, in my mind the way to freedom. Then as I approached my late 50’s I got more inspired thinking I could teach other people how to understand their bodies better to have a better quality of life. I started seriously studying the Anusara approach, which at the time was Kathy’s passion. After that Doug Keller and Arthur Kilmurray have been great
teachers to inspire a better approach to teaching and movement.
Describe your style of yoga: Hatha Yoga based but with more focus on alignment, ease of flow and the therapeutic science behind the yoga. I love the mechanics of yoga, the sheer science of it. Also knowing how much there is yet to learn and understand…it’s wonderful. I feel like the sky is the limit.
What’s your favorite yoga pose? I love the Warrior poses because they personify what I think we need to be as we get older…WARRIORS!
What brings you to the mat? My body and mental state of mind are the drivers here. I can feel it in my body when I need to go to the mat. It may be just to use the roller to be Seaweed, or the balls to message the feet, back or lunges..
Do you work for a yoga studio or have a private practice? List your locations & class schedule:
I sub at MidAmerican Studio in Farmington Hills. I teach a morning class from 9:30-10:30 at the Redford Community Center in Redford Twp. I also teach two classes at Schoolcraft College. Thursdays 9:30-10:50 Slow flow Hatha Yoga with Kundalini influence and Friday mornings…same time Light weights with yoga.
Discuss how being a member of YAGD has helped you in your yoga career?
The community of yoga is more available to me, having been involved with the YAGD. I was amazed I never heard of it until about 2010 after all the years I had been doing it….It’s like it was a secret society no one talked about. Mimi Horowitz I think was the first one to ever mention the name to me. I learn something new every time I get together with the members. Its great…such kind thoughtful people.
Do you have a favorite story, from your teaching experience? Nothing specific other than the gratitude that comes from my students when they get something they have been struggling with or like a particular class I’ve done.
Anything else you would like to add like family, hobbies, karma yoga or other professions?
I love being outdoors and active. I struggle with sitting still. As such I do a lot of kayaking, hiking, cross country skiing, camping and whatever else takes me outside. The light of my life right now are my two wonderful grandchildren Nicky 4 and Sofia 2 who live in Royal Oak with my son Chris and his wife Mindy….They too are great! My other son, Alex lives in Oregon and comes home several times a year. He like myself is all about the outdoors. Bill, my husband is Santa Claus personified and a great companion. I feel very blessed in my life.