1. How would you describe yoga?
I’m at a point in my life where I have been moving around a lot for work, and yoga helps me to deal with the issues that come with being unsettled. My mat has become a little piece of home that I carry with me wherever I go. As I have been searching for a place to put down roots, yoga has been the ground under me when I feel ungrounded.
2. How did you find your way to yoga?
When I was in college, I had a dance teacher for a choreography class who led us through a set of sun salutations every day before rehearsal so that we could get moving and get to our piece as quickly as possible. I actually hated it at first, but one day, I found something poetic about that practice–the way that it contained so many movements, the way it seemed to warm every muscle in my body at once. I took some yoga classes after that. It became more deeply integrated into my life a few years later, in graduate school, when I was studying for my qualifying exams. At that time, I had let go of my movement practice, and I was reading and writing all day, every day. I was alone with my stack of books most of the time, and I started noticing that it was hard for me to drop down enough to be engaged in a conversation even when I was with my friends and family. I brought myself back to the yoga studio because I was beginning to feel like I was disconnected from my body and floating above myself. The transition was slow at first, but soon I was on my mat every day after I was done working, and all that sweat started to bring me back into contact with who I was. Yoga carried me through that summer and those exams, and it has been a central part of my life ever since.
3. What are the ways your asana practice serves your everyday life, your family, your work, your community?
Yoga helps me in my ongoing practice–struggle, really–to stay centered when I am overwhelmed. It helps me to break cycles in my thinking so that I can be more creative in my writing, more present in my relationships, and of better service to my students.
4. What draws you to the Lila community?
I moved back to Maine this summer to take a postdoctoral fellowship in the art history department at Bowdoin, which in one of those incredible full-circle moments, is actually the place where I started my journey both into yoga and into my academic work. I always find a yoga studio immediately when I move to a new city because I have a hard time with transitions, and I walked into Lila before I even began to unpack. I had heard about the studio through connections I had in the yoga communities of Austin and Flagstaff.
5. What inspires you to keep practicing?
I have friends who get irritated by the way that they have to plan social events around my yoga schedule, but I always joke with them that they wouldn’t want to be friends with me in the first place if I didn’t practice. I’m not always inspired to keep going–sometimes I have to drag myself to my mat–but I know that it keeps me sane, and I know that I always eventually end up back in a place where I begin to love it again.
6. What would your ideal yoga class look like, feel like, and be like?
My favorite classes are the flowing-constantly-dancing-on-my-mat-almost-flying-wiping-sweat-out-of-my-eyes-heart-pounding ones. But as I have been moving from place to place, I have also come to believe in finding ways to take in the most I can from wherever I am and whoever I am working with. I have gotten better at sitting still over the years, and I have found my way into the type of practice that moves slowly and focuses on the details of muscles and bones. Mostly, I just want to keep learning. And I love that yoga is so endless in that way–the more I learn, the more I understand how much I don’t know.