As we near the start of our first ever Yoga Teacher Training at Bryony Body in Exeter, we thought we’d take a step back to properly introduce you to the yogi behind the training: instructor, Gail Picillo.
Tell me a little about your background – how did you find yoga and eventually teaching yoga?
All my life, I have been a competitive athlete. In my adult years, I was a semi-pro beach volleyball player. I was encouraged to do yoga, but was resistant to it. I had my stereotypes about yoga (oh the growth since then). But my trainers would not let up, so I started doing yoga. I had a hard time with it as I was competitive, and yoga was non-competitive. I only knew how to push myself by being hard on myself. Yoga is about being gentle and loving with yourself. Everything about yoga was the antithesis of who I was…or so I thought. I started to notice something about yoga: not only did my body start to feel better, but I noticed I was more calm and self-assured. I didn’t feel the need to try to prove myself anymore. I found a sense of humor with myself. By trade, I am a psychotherapist, so I was curious: what was yoga doing that talk therapy doesn’t reach? I chose to do a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training that specifically focuses on the philosophy of yoga, as well as the physical postures. I wanted to know more about yoga, to deepen my practice, but never to become a teacher. Well, at the end of my teacher training, the yoga studio selected me to teach there. I didn’t know what to say – I didn’t plan to teach. But with humble acceptance, I started teaching. This led me to later complete my 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, go to India to help serve and learn more, and of course to continue to teach yoga wherever I go.
Trust me, if you asked me when I was a volleyball player that later in life, I would leave the world of competitive sports behind and be a yoga instructor, I would have laughed. You never know where life is going to take you!
What do you love most about teaching yoga? How has it changed your life?
I love yoga. Let me repeat that, I LOVE yoga! What I love most about yoga is that it teaches us how to truly love and accept ourselves as we are. We begin to embody the practice of “ahimsa,” which is non-harming behavior and thoughts through gentle awareness. We learn how to breathe. Now, my guess is that you are thinking, “I don’t know how to breathe?” Of course you do, but we learn how to breathe that works in a way that calms the body and mind, so that we can connect to our higher Self. The question about how yoga has changed my life is a tricky one.
I think what yoga has done for me is to bring me back to my life. I was caught up in the busyness of life, that I was losing my way without even realizing it. Yoga continues to remind me to slow down and assess what really is important in life, as well as to truly live my life.
What do you love most about the Seacoast community?
I love that people in this community are committed to embodying all the aspects of yoga, not simply just the asanas. They are open to getting the benefits of all that which yoga offers.
What are you doing when you’re not practicing yoga?
Walking my cats, hiking, reading philosophy/theology/psychology, writing in my journal, meditating by the ocean.
Join Gail at Yoga Teacher Training in Exeter this Fall
Beginning September 8th (so soon!) you can deepen your practice alongside Gail at our first ever 200-hour Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training. The training program will occur during the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each month, September through January.
Have questions about what to expect? We wrote a post on that too: Yoga Teacher Training FAQs
Last chance to sign up: Friday, September 7th
We welcome sign ups up to the very start of the programming. You can sign up for Yoga Teacher Training at Bryony Body in Exeter here on our site. We have multiple payment plan options available to fit your needs. We’re excited to get started and hope to see you there!