Interview: LA yoga teacher & somatic psychotherapist Meredith Hines

alignyo Los Angeles yoga interview with yoga teacher Meredith Hines
Meredith Hines

Meredith Hines offers depth, wit, and healing to her class at Yogis Anonymous in Santa Monica and at treatment centers throughout LA. Due to her training as a somatic psychotherapist, Meredith is less about teaching acrobatic poses, and more about being attuned to the emotional needs of her students. In our Q&A, find out her yogically incorrect favorite food and why she’s not afraid of the dark. 

What makes your style of teaching unique? 

I am not afraid of the dark. I love the light and bliss of yoga, but I also am very clear to students that I view yoga as a science of suffering – how to move through inevitable suffering, how to accept the present moment without dissociating, and how to develop resilience and greater capacity for love. 

I synthesize my knowledge as a depth somatic psychotherapist into every class I teach, focusing on the physical practice as an exercise in nourishing mental health and embodied presence. I hold a space for authentic healing to occur and am sensitive and attuned to the needs of clients with trauma or mental illness. I love the grace and possibility of the asana practice, but I am not focused on nor impressed with acrobatic practices. I want to invite students to come out of hiding, take up space, love their bodies, and discover and claim their place in the world.  

What's the most frequently asked question you get being a yoga teacher? 

“Do you need to be flexible to do yoga?” My answer is always yes, but in no way does that mean limber. True flexibility has to do with willingness, acceptance, and adaptation. It’s about your ego, not your hamstrings. Yoga requires this flexibility and cultivates it.

What's the strangest thing a student of yours did, said or wore in your class? 

I teach in psychiatric treatment centers so I have had a number of clients hallucinate, dissociate and have manic episodes during class. However, the oddest incident occurred in a public class at a local studio – the student did her own practice the whole time and chanted, “Om namah shivaya” to the tune of Elton John’s "Rocket Man." 

What's the most yogically incorrect, or stereotypical thing you do as a yoga teacher? 

I love churros with ice cream.

Which profession would your alter ego choose and why? 

Let’s just say my spirit animal is “Beyoncé.” 

Who or what inspires your practice and your teaching?

Human beings. We are extraordinary. 

The wounds and healing of my patients, students, and self inspire my practice and teaching. I am profoundly privileged to witness healing everyday. It’s a beautiful thing how our psyches and nervous systems are always striving to self correct and heal – getting to hold a space to support that process inspires me beyond words.  

Comments

yoga and somatic psychotherapy

Fortunate are the yoga students and psychotherapy clients who find teachers/therapists with the skills Meredith possesses--especially those with unexamined trauma. More and more trauma therapists are encouraging clients to do yoga with a qualified yoga teacher. It's also helpful when yoga teachers can recognize that a student might benefit from seeing a therapist, specifically a somatic psychotherapist. Looks like Meredith has it covered! - Jay, Psychotherapist, Yoga Student.

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