How would you describe yoga?
Yoga is a way of life that is centered around the cultivation of presence, heart, the evolution of consciousness,
the commitment to ethical living, and being in right relationship with nature and her rhythms. Yoga is absolutely
about what is happening under the surface. It is about paradox, perspective, and allowing the pulsation of life’s
current to move through us with as much ease as possible.
I was first introduced to yoga in a theatre course at college in 1991 yet it wasn’t until several years later in a dark period of my life that I came to appreciate the power of a regular yoga practice to heal and bring balance to the disparate aspects of myself and my life. It has been clear since that time, I would have a life long relationship and commitment to yoga. To this day, the practice has never let me down.
What is your practice like off the mat?
Yoga infuses all aspects of my life from self care to how I perceive and interact in the world. The physical practice cultivates balance, flexibility, courage, discernment, and insight that strengthens and informs how I show up in life off the mat. My practice off the mat is about being as present as possible. It is about being a thoughtful parent, a friend who shows up, a connected-to-my-heart human being. And, when I don’t show up in ways that I am proud of, yoga teaches me to be accountable, compassionate, and forgiving. I have a regular vipassana meditation practice so off the mat also means on the cushion. My practice is about observing the often laughable tendencies of the mind. My practice fosters deep listening, observation, and paying attention to subtlety. I recently opened a private psychotherapy practice in Portland where offering compassionate presence to clients is essential to the therapeutic relationship. Maybe most importantly, yoga affords me a spiritual experience – a felt sense of being connected to and intimately a part of something far greater than myself. The benefits of yoga off the mat is that I feel at home in my skin and right with the world.
I also recently joined the board of SeaChange Yoga, a local non-profit organization and growing community action movement dedicated to bringing the transformative tools of yoga and meditation to those who have experienced trauma, and who are underserved & marginalized. Currently, Sea Change Yoga is mobilizing teachers in residential treatment facilities, community recovery centers, and correctional institutions. Our first public training is Sunday, October 23rd. Please check out our website to learn more and to support the mission of increasing access to trauma sensitive yoga to people in our local communities who may benefit most.
What draws me to the Lila community is the quality and dedication of the teachers and the earnestness of our students. Lila is a place where
teachers and students alike take practice seriously and yet celebrate the importance of levity and play. I love that Genell draws internationally acclaimed master teachers to Portland, and I am a big fan of the Lila aesthetic.
Currently, my primary teacher is life itself. When I pay attention, there is never a dull moment and life affords ample opportunity for challenge and growth. I find that by applying the teachings of yoga to my own struggles, answers most often fall into place. The teachings remind us that the moment is now. Take a breath, find perspective, set intention, engage in action, surrender. Rinse and repeat.
However, if I could study regularly with a teacher it would be Desi Springer of Denver, Colorado. I am most intrigued and inspired by the radical and unconventional teachings of Bowspring alignment which leave me feeling uplifted, joyful, grounded, and strong.
What inspires you to keep teaching?
The inspiration comes from seeing the positive impact on students lives and the deep experience teaching brings to my own life. There is something incredibly inspiring to watch students become embodied, present, and consequently more confident, and less stressed.
If I would suggest one book to the community it would be “Threads of Yoga” by Matthew Remski.