1. HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR WAY TO YOGA?
When I moved to Portland ten years ago, a friend at work started doing yoga during the lunch hour. At that time, I was jogging about four mornings a week for exercise and I knew I needed to be better about stretching. I decided to do yoga during lunch 1-2 days a week to increase my flexibility.
It wasn’t long before I realized yoga was giving me much more than flexibility. It was an hour to sink into my body, to play and “dance,” and to make shapes that felt like little sculptures of art. I remember my first yoga teacher saying, “Smile into your toes,” and there was something about that small cue that clicked for me. I realized that I could loosen myself in tiny ways that would make an enormous difference for my mental state. I thought about the idea that I could smile into my fingers, into my arms, into my heart.
After a few months of yoga, I began to realize that the way I was approaching life was different. Before yoga, much of my thought patterns centered around what was coming next, rather than right now. I rarely sat to soak up the moment. I know that “Be here now” has become a bit of a cliché, but yoga helped me to practice that concept at a pivotal time in my life.
2. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I’m a writer. I write creatively and teach writing at the University of New England and University of Southern Maine. I have also taught Birth Stories Writing classes at Birth Roots and have a deep interest in Narrative Medicine.
3. ARE YOU ABLE TO INCORPORATE YOUR YOGA PRACTICE INTO YOUR CAREER OR INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE OFF THE MAT?
YES. When I sink into my body, moving further away from my rational brain and closer to my animal or “mammalian brain,” I almost always come to some conclusion or make some discovery about my writing or my teaching that I wouldn’t have been able to come to if I had been sitting in a chair and working on it in my mind.
I also use the concept of breath to work through discomfort in my life. I remember the year following the birth of each of my children (I have three) was particularly difficult for me. Breastfeeding took a lot out of me, but I remember thinking of holding chair pose and how it hurts and it’s uncomfortable, but how I feel strong and powerful holding the shape and that eventually it would be over.
4. WHAT IS THE BETS THING ABOUT THE LILA COMMUNITY?
I have been to a few other yoga studios, but I always come back to Lila. First of all, the teachers are so well trained and have wonderful energy. I feel lucky to be in the room with them. There is also something about the sacred space, the wood, the plants, and the light that comes in the window that restores me. I remember one day about four or five years ago, during a noon class, the door was open on a late spring day and there was an old-school red bicycle with a wicker basket parked outside the door. The way it looked next to the dark bike post and the newly budding tree all framed in the wood of the studio door just took my breath away. I thought, If I could paint, I would paint this picture.