Interview with Yoga Teacher Dylan Noebels

Dylan Noebels is a fellow teacher at Taj Yoga. Last week, I sat down and interviewed him on how he became a yoga teacher, and his new Immersion series at the Taj, which starts Monday March 1st. You can reach him at dylann @ gmail.com

Also check out a short clip of the interview of me and Dylan.

Nikki: When did yoga first come into your life? Like, the first time you ever knew that yoga existed.

Dylan: It was during my sophomore year of college in 1998 at Longwood University in Farmville Virginia. I was looking for a workout book and checked out a Power Yoga book from the library. I flipped through it and didn’t like it. It didn’t make sense, it seemed too stretchy, and not what I wanted. I returned the book and never thought of it again. I forgot about it for a long time.

Nikki: Okay, so it wasn’t love at first pose. Then what happened?

Dylan: I moved to Seattle in 2001 and didn’t want to pay for the gym anymore and was doing this calisthenic exercise with eccentric contraction and using breath with it, and I would make up these poses. My ex-wife told me that I should do yoga, and I said, “No, I’m not joining your cult.”

(Nikki: I was glad I didn’t have any coffee in my mouth at this point, because I totally laughed out loud.)

Dylan: There was an empty room in a house that I had moved in and the roommate had a Yoga for Dummies DVD. One day the house was empty, and I thought, “Hmm, I’ll see what this is all about”. I was hooked from the first time. It wasn’t so hard that it frustrated me and I felt taller and better and better doing it, so I did the yoga for dummies DVD for a while.

(Nikki’s note: it turned out the DVD was Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies by Sarah Ivanhoe.)

Dylan: I found out that it was from India, and I wanted to learn more and find book written by Indian guy. So I found a used book called The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnu-Devananda. He talked about other things besides the physical side of yoga, and the philosophy was appealing.

And then, I just thought I’d teach yoga! I knew that I wanted to teach yoga before ever taking a class, because I had gained so much from it.

I was waiting table in Fremont when I heard about a Teacher Training from a fellow waitress who was also a yoga teacher. So, in 2005 I took the 200-hour Pacific Yoga teacher training at The Yoga Tree in Seattle with Kathryn and Theresa.

I met the owner of Three Tree Yoga in the training, who opened a studio during the training, and they asked me to come teach there. I said yes right away, even though it was a 2-hour bus ride away because the studio is in Federal Way. That was 4 years ago. I started teaching at Taj a year later.

Nikki: What are some interesting memories of you teaching yoga in the early years?
Dylan: I’ve taught yoga to teenagers in Spanish, and I had to learn how to say all the body parts in Spanish. That was really fun.

Nikki: Besides Spanish, what might one experience in a yoga class with Dylan Noebels?
Dylan:  The mental benefit of a physical practice.

Nikki: What keeps you going?
Dylan: You’re always learning something new and the learning curve is a spiral, it keeps curving.

Nikki: What else is interesting to you besides yoga?
Dylan: Acting and writing. I wrote a feature film, filmed it and it’s in a couple people’s closet (both of us laughing). It was about two guys who wait tables and want to get rich quick. I also make short films. I’m part a group called Raw Stock Media. We have 6 short films will be shown at ACT theater. I’m currently doing a film that’s a spoof on yoga.

Nikki: Okay, let’s talk about the Immersion. What can one expect during and after the class?

Dylan: You’ll find that when you do yoga first thing in the morning, other things get to you less over the course of the day, you might feel that there is more energy overall. You’ll be more awake for work. If you haven’t had a regular yoga practice in the morning, you’ll discover the benefits of that can be life changing. You’ll be getting the outside eyes. I will talk about alignment and techniques and some flow, philosophy and meditation will also be discussed.

Nikki: Should I eat anything before class?

Dylan: I’d wait till after to eat, juice is okay, coffee will not be provided but caffeine is okay. There’s a tea pot in the studio and I’ll also be available after class for tea and talk on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Nikki: How much should I expect to pay for the Immersion classes?
Dylan: It’s $150 for for 20 classes for a whole month. If you can only come 3 days a week, it’s $100. There’s a discount of $140 if you sign up before February the 20th. And it’s $250 for 2 people.

Nikki: People sometimes say, oh I don’t have money for yoga, but then they’d spend just as much money, if not more, on other things, like alcohol. As a bartender, what’s the most expensive drink you’ve ever made?
Dylan: There’s a drink at the bar where I work now that’s $20.

Nikki: $20! That’s like, almost three yoga classes! With 20 classes for $150, that’s $7.5 a class.
Dylan: Yup, people spend money on funny things.

Nikki: Okay, speaking of funny. What’s the funniest word or thing you’ve encountered recently?
Dylan: When Andra Devoght (a Physical Therapist and Yoga Teacher) came to talk to us about Therapeutic Yoga and she mentioned a foot condition called “forefoot valgus”, I was snickering when I wrote it down.

Nikki: Haha, that… makes me snicker too. Alright, if you had to come up with some sort of slogan for your yoga teaching, what would it be?
Dylan: Yoga for Americans. (We’re both laughing a lot). Because it would un-American for you to have tight hamstrings.
Nikki: I love it! Yoga with Dylan, because it would un-American for you to have tight hamstrings!

Seattle Yoga Teacher Dylan Noebels at Kuan Yin Tea House in Wallingford

Seattle Yoga Teacher Dylan Noebels at Kuan Yin Tea House in Wallingford