We are delighted to share with you studio owner Susannah Herring and her popular yoga spot Hot Yoga Nashville, Plank's Inspired Instructor for the Month. These knowledgeable, creative, real-world class facilitators and teachers are the qualified, energized and Plank "yogis of the moment." These dedicated individuals are body aware, mentally engaged with your experience, socially conscious and just plain GOOD at what they do. Take a sec, read all about it in our Q&A and of course...

Inhale. Exhale. Enjoy. It's our way to always be a part of the Plank experience in being inspired, informed and in action.

Plank Featured Instructor Q&A:

1) How is it you became a yoga instructor?

I wanted to teach yoga almost from my very first class. After about 5 years of practicing various types of yoga and 3 years of practicing Hot Yoga, I decided to take the plunge! I trained to become a Hot Yoga instructor at Vail Valley Hot Yoga, in Vail, Colorado. It was an amazing time of self reflection and growth in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

2) How is it you have chosen the style and core practice that you have chosen?

I chose to get certified in Hot Yoga because it was the type of yoga I enjoyed the most and practiced most regularly. I love all types of yoga and have done a good bit of kundalini and vinyasa, but the Hot Yoga series has always been my favorite because of the combination of stretching, strengthening, meditation and an amazing workout. I feel absolutely amazing every time I walk out of a Hot Yoga class.

3) What do you treasure most about the exchange and experiences you've shared with your students?

There is NOTHING more amazing than seeing your students work hard and give everything they have when they are tired, sweaty and overwhelmed. It is so inspiring and encouraging because it feels like they are working hard for me! It makes my job so satisfying. I have had some really difficult days when I have thought – I just can’t teach – but it never fails that I walk out of a class with my heart and spirit lifted. It doesn’t feel like work or a job when you know you are helping people grow and heal mentally, physically and spiritually.

4) How has practicing yoga changed your life in any specific way and if so, what have the changes been? 

Yoga has changed and continues to change my life in more ways than I have room to describe. But to give specific examples, I think I’ve grown in grace both physically and emotionally through yoga. I’m not sure I look it, but I certainly feel more graceful as I’ve improved and been able to work deeper into postures. And emotionally, I’m much more patient and compassionate than I was before I practiced. I’ve got a LONG way to go, but once I learned to manage the intensity of the heated classroom and to be compassionate to myself, I was able to carry that with me outside of the classroom into my life and my interactions with others.

5) As an instructor you are with students regularly, but how often do you practice yourself? 

I practice anywhere from 3 – 6 times a week, depending on my schedule. I’m a runner too, so I try to balance the time required to train for races with practicing yoga, ESPECIALLY because the yoga really improves my running. What’s amazing about yoga, though, is that you slowly start to take what you practice and learn on the mat into your daily life, and you become much more aware generally of life and how you are living and interacting with others. In some ways, you begin to “practice” all the time.

6) If there was anything you could personally share or change about the idea and perception of a yoga practice, what would that be? 

It kills me when people say “Oh – I can’t do yoga, I would be terrible at it!” There is no such thing as good at yoga! That is why we call it a practice – you can never be “good,” because there is no perfect. You can only improve, and improvement in yoga usually happens in millimeters. It is absolutely 100% OK to come into a yoga class as a beginner – it doesn’t matter what your history, weight, issue is. As Bikram says, ““It’s never too late, you’re never too old, you’re never too sick to start all over again.”

7) Humor and being OK with making mistakes and not being "perfect" in class is something Plank wants to impart with followers; have you had any funny or imperfect moments you'd like to share? 

Oh my goodness – I absolutely struggle with this! I’m wired to push myself to perfection, and I get upset when I don’t achieve it. At least I did until Ame Onofrey, my teacher in Vail Valley, got a hold of me. She showed me so much compassion when I couldn’t show it to myself, and her compassion finally allowed me to believe me exactly what I said above – there is no such thing as perfect, and kindness is a beautiful gift you can give yourself each time you step on the mat. Ame made a rule in teacher training that I wasn’t allowed to look down when I fell out of standing bow. She told me that it was more difficult to be mad when I looked myself in the eyes in the mirror than when I looked at the floor when I fell. To this day, you won’t see me look down when I fall out of that posture. And if you do, jump all over me!

8) If you had the opportunity to walk up to a complete stranger and knew you had only one minute to share with them your philosophy on your preferred yoga, what would you tell them? 

If you want an amazing, all-around workout, incorporating cardio work, resistance training, strength training and stretching, hot yoga is your class. Oh – and I forgot to mention the increased mental stamina, discipline, stillness and compassion that come as added benefits. I can’t think of another workout on the planet that offers that much.

9) Where can a student find you this spring and summer? Any upcoming retreats or workshops? 

Hot Yoga Nashville! www.hotyoganashville.com We have an upcoming Foundations workshop on June 3, which is perfect for beginners or those who just want to understand Hot Yoga and the asanas better (plus you get the added benefit of 20% off all retail and packages that night!). We are also working on a late summer 100-hour yoga alliance vinyasa training and a fall 200-hour yoga alliance hot yoga training. Details will be on our website soon!

Check out my website www.hotyoganashville.com for more about my teaching schedule.

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