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Teacher Feature: Dd Swan

1. How would you describe yoga?

Yoga is YES—an open invitation to travel on a journey with twists and turns, stops and starts, discovery, renewal, reimagining, time alone, with friends and teachers along the way, respites and contemplation, opportunities to receive, give and welcome yourself home, trusting that where you are is the exact right place in time for you—just keep breathing! The body, mind and spirit seek balance and alignment.

2. How did you find your way to yoga?

The Beatles! I hopped on board the yoga train and it’s a ride I’m still on.

3. Who is your primary teacher right now?

On the mat or off the mat? I believe every person we cross on our paths offers the opportunity of a lesson; I am grateful for the many teachers along the way, including some very fleeting encounters. I often think that the people who challenge me the most present the greatest opportunity to clarify places where I am stuck. Many times it is those I love most, although at times it may be people I do not like. This can be true on the mat as well. I have been practicing for almost a decade with Genell, generally five days a week—that’s my definition of a primary yoga teacher.

4. What inspires you to keep teaching?

Yoga is a transformational experience for me personally. I want to be an open door for anyone and every body who cross the yoga threshold and an inspiration and support for those who find benefit in a practice.

5. What is your practice life off the mat? How would you say you live your yoga?

Yoga is my way of life. I strive to mirror Light, Life, Love and Gratitude in my daily actions and deeds. It is a constant practice and one I will continue.

6. Do you have a routine or ritualistic way to starting each day? If so, please describe.

When I wake up in the morning, I move in to some bed yin yoga and fascia flossing. From there, I focus on a few breaths, a few items of gratitude and contemplate an intention for the day. Next, I scrape my tongue, wash my face, have a cup of black espresso and spend some time with my husband over a bowl of homemade yogurt, granola and fresh fruit followed by meditation that transitions me in to the activities of the day. I love morning time!

7. What are some non-negotiables you have in your life right now to maintain balance and health in everyday living?

It’s all about conscious choices to support my well-being.

7. What draws you to the Lila community?

The Lila community is my home away from home. Lila is a beautiful, inviting, welcoming sacred space that resonates with palpable, heartfelt, positive energy. I love the mix of ages who come together to practice in community, the people who pass through the studio, regulars and visitors. I am grateful for the array of “away teacher workshops” that Lila hosts. Lila embodies and aligns with the vision and values that guide me.

8. If you would suggest one book to the community to read as an opportunity to deepen their learning on life, yoga, and all things, what would it be?

That’s a tough one! I have a shelf of yoga books that I browse through on just about a daily basis. As a visual thinker, I am especially drawn to anatomy, and I like the study of YIN YOGA, finding the balance between functional and aesthetic alignment. To that end, Bernie Clark’s YOUR BODY, YOUR YOGA has been a constant companion of late in conjunction with ASANA PRANAYAMA MUDRA BANDHA by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

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