How did you find your way to yoga?
I had a dear friend who kept encouraging me to try it. This was almost 17 years ago. I finally tried a local class and can distinctly remember feeling amazing in a way I have tried for years to describe. I called my friend and he asked how it was. “I feel amazing!” Is what I said. To which he said, “Yeah, that’s the way you should ALWAYS feel.”
It was like ding. ding ding. After hearing that I realized that I didn’t want to reserve that feeling for vacations and time off from work – that I wanted to find amazing in all aspects of my life.
The next week I signed up to go on a retreat in Mexico and I have not stopped practicing since.
What does your asana practice look like? What inspires you to practice?
My asana practice is more and more about allowing. Allowing space for me to deeply listen to how my body is calling me to move. To really slow down and enjoy the miracle of movement, to tune into subtleties and transitions and to find a gorgeousness and elegance in those moments that I am stepping forward or stepping back as much as I let the arrival of the pose embrace me.
I like to think of the asana beginning from the very first thought I feed my body and allowing the shape to reflect a truth and a love for the way my body teaches me about myself.
The spaciousness I feel, the willingness to honor and take care of my needs, the silence, the music, the pulse, the listening, the community, the way practice can remind me of my best me — these are what keep inspiring me to get on my mat. Embodiment is a miracle.
Which pose is your “asana nemesis,” the one that you loathe, but should probably be doing more?
I don’t think I have an asana nemesis that does not mean I don’t have poses that challenge me or make me uncomfortable. But if I had to say one pose it would be any pose that has to do with putting my leg behind my head.
What is your practice like off the mat? How do you live your yoga?
Every day I am learning to listen and I try to parlay that level of hearing to my family, my husband, my three sons, my pets, my students, my family. Eye contact. I slow down in all things. I indulge more in things that help me feel alive and calm and no longer believe there is an expiration date to that feeling. I forgive. I initiate conversations that need to happen. I stop thinking so much about what I have no idea about.
As a mama, teacher, and dedicated partner, (etc please add in;) what non-negotiable habits have you created for yourself to stay balanced and steady?
I never stop looking for where I can learn more. I set real boundaries with my time so I am not exhausted for my family or my students. Which means I take rest when my body tells me I need it. I make space to do things I love.
As a teacher, what unique gifts do you bring to your students?
I create a space where students feel safe to really hear themselves. I believe that there is no system in the world no matter how much integrity and beauty, that trumps the inner authority of students.
How would your students describeyour teaching?
Sweaty:) Feel good. Poetic. Fluid. A collective journey.
Who currently is inspiring you and your teaching? Who and how?
Parker Palmer is my all time go-to when I need reminders about meaningful teaching which is no different than living a meaningful life. The great voices in literature like Joan Didion, Anne Lamott, and Virginia Wolf. Poets Elizabeth Alexander, David Whyte. Meditation teacher and writer Lorin Roche.
People who are living their innate gifts and creating from that place.