How would you describe yoga?
My professional training is nursing, and as a nurse and educator of future nurses, I emphasize the holistic aspect of the profession which emphasizes patient response to something. The word “something” could be in the category of wellness, illness, movement, environment, society, medication, diet, etc. Yoga mirrors (for me) that same holistic approach to being as a “whole”
How did you find your way to yoga?
My initial pathway to yoga started about 33 years ago, I dabbled in practice but became more committed upon learning I was pregnant with my first (and only) child. I was practicing as an OB nurse at the time and felt that the practice of yoga would provide many benefits to the pregnancy: breath work, strength through asana practice, mindfulness through meditation and inner connectedness. I took care of many patients who did practice yoga (of some ilk) and witnessed a sense of “ease” during the labor and delivery process. Note, I did not say “easy”!
Since that time, I have been an inconsistent practitioner- always doing some sort of asana practice daily, but never truly in the holistic sense until the past 5 years. It is during this time that I sought out professional practitioners of yoga where I could commit to a more fulfilling practice.
What are the ways your asana practice serves your everyday life, your family, your work, your community?
In my everyday life my asana practice serves my physical body to keep it strong, to keep the joints fluid and to address physical issues that may be ailing me. When I walk my puppy each morning, we stop in a particular park where I toss a ball for her and she runs like the wind, while I do morning sun salutations (sometime with the aid of a park bench when the ground is wet). This is how I greet the day!
This greeting then translates to my ability to embrace the day ahead: usually work, where I mentioned that I teach nursing students to become nurses- I often involve the practice of yoga by encouraging some standing and stretching asana poses with them so not to endure stiffness that comes from sitting too long or from poor posture.
My practice restores light and aligns with my faith which helps both in my home and my community. When I cantor at church, I use my standing asana and breath work to send forth my voice into the parish and encourage singing.
What draws you to the Lila community?
I have visited many other studios in the Portland area when I moved here almost three years now. When I stepped into Lila I felt an immediate sense of place, presence and belonging. I knew that this is where I wanted to practice and grow in my practice. All of the instructors I have encountered have inspired me and my practice in different ways which I enjoy. I tell my students, there is not one teacher that helps your learning, there are many. This is what I experience at Lila.
What inspires you to keep practicing?
Actually, my answer may surprise you, but my inspiration is my mother. She died a year ago July and I witnessed her health transformation both when she was practicing “armchair” yoga between the ages of 80-85, and when she stopped and the physical toll placed on her body. As I watched her strength deteriorate, my conviction to stay strong in my physical body heightened. Additionally, I already knew of the benefits to my meditative and spiritual practice. My mother is always included as one of my intentions when I practice.
What would your ideal yoga class look like, feel like, and be like?
My ideal class gathers those that want to be in practice together, feels both exhilarating and restorative and it would be like the classes I experience at Lila