IMG_4559How long have you been practicing?
I’m new to yoga! I’ve been practicing for about 7 months.

Why did you start?
I have had a lot of physical trauma, hip surgery and am on the mend and wanted to continue to work towards healing in my body through yoga.

How has your practice changed over time?
I have seen a huge amount of change! SO much change. I cry easier, I bend in new ways and am stronger than ever.

What brings you back to your mat day after day?
I love Audra and her gentle but challenging approach. I am also brought back by the changes I see in my body.

What do you love about the studio?
I love that it’s accessible and that it’s so open and affirming.


Where are you found when you’re not on your mat?
I am a writer, and teach creative writing all over town and am also a writing coach. I also work for a literary arts non-profit, called the Independent Publishing Resource Center ( 



How long have you been practicing?

I started practicing 10 years ago when there was a yoga studio literally across the street from my apartment. I rolled out of bed and into the studio 4 mornings a week (read: no kids, single).  I liked the challenge of the asana practice, but I loved that yoga gave me a neutral space to quietly find a more neutral, less pressured way for me to be with myself.


Why did you start?

I started at a time in my life that was expanding and deepening, and yoga helped me hold space for that. I was self-employed as a therapist, and I was starting my business, Be Nourished ( I didn’t exactly know what I was doing except following my heart. Yoga provided such an amazing metaphor and practice space for that journey.

How has your practice changed over time?

It’s always in flux with my life. Since I started, I fell in love and got married, had kids, bought houses, lost a parent to cancer & lost a baby. My practice was sometimes committed and deep during the tough times, and sometimes felt like not the right thing. Life changes how much I show up for yoga formally (in the studio and on the mat) but there is a piece of yoga that lives in me now. Like a part of my anatomy. The cultivated curiosity, patience with self, learning to roll with the unknown is a part of how I show up for myself now most days.

What brings you back to your mat day after day?

The need live more from my body than my head. A desire to know love and to open my heart to myself, especially when I do that so easily for others. The sense of the limitless space in the moment when I am able to tune in.

How long have you been coming to TPY?

I’m not exactly sure…at least since 2011. It’s become such an important place to me, it feels like I’ve been there longer.

What do you love about the studio?

I love the gentle sense of community and the reverence for the individuals that come there. I love that one of my first moments in the studio was Rachel Stern coming to each student in her class and asking what they need. So touching. I loved Kelly Conner leading the class in saying “I’m f-ing doing it right”, a message that we delivered straight to our critical minds. My experience has been one of fun, respect and inclusion. I recommend it to everyone who asks!

Tell the community more about your projects off the mat.

I co-founded a remarkable place called Be Nourished( Our passion is helping people explore how an enjoyable relationship with food happens naturally when the focus is more on nurturing the body and mind and less on dieting.   We believe body trust is your birthright.  Our Body Trust Wellness approach to food, body and health is deeply nourishing and counter to conventional paradigms. We offer programs, workshops, retreats and online courses ( to support your shift into body respect and trust.



mollie-guillemetteThis month we’re featuring Mollie Guillemette, a regular on her mat, and at People’s Yoga.

How long have you been practicing? 
I started practicing yoga almost 20 years ago, when I was 13!

Why did you start?
There was an article in a magazine that showed how to do 5 poses and that was how I started. It was really simple, and for a while that was the extent of my practice: 5 poses on the floor of the bedroom I shared with my sisters. It was something that was just for me and I would find time when no one else was there to practice. Even in its simplicity, it was really nurturing to me, more than I even realized at the time.

How has your practice changed over time?
It has changed a lot, ebbing and flowing depending on where I was in my life. I’ve had some times when my practice was regular and intense, and others when it was something I picked up when I had time or the right mood. 
It’s looked different depending on what I’ve needed it to be in my life and that’s actually one of the things I really love about it.  Yoga is a way I care for myself and has served me greatly in its ability to meet my needs to the extent I need it to.  It can be a simple, nourishing place and I can also immerse myself in its depth and complexity.

What brings you back to your mat day after day?
In addition to what I said in the previous question, it’s a place of quiet and a place of acceptance.

How long have you been coming to People’s?
My family and I moved to Portland from an island up North just last autumn.  I had not been able to practice at a studio for a couple of years and was really looking forward to finding a place.  It was so great to find one in walking distance from my home.  I stopped into the studio in January to check it out and got a membership almost immediately.

What is your favorite thing about the People’s Yoga?
I love that it is so close to my house and that I see folks from my classes when I am out and about in the neighborhood.  It’s a lovely way to feel connected.  The teachers are also really great–they are knowledgable, passionate, and varied in what they bring to their classes.  I also really appreciate that it’s affordable.

Tell us something about your projects outside of the studio.
My husband and I publish an online quarterly for parents called Grounded Magazine (  It is about inspiring and nurturing parents.  I really love the space we are creating and I am excited about the community that is developing there. Getting to work creatively with people willing to invest and give to parents from their passions is enriching and a refreshing view of humanity.  Kelly Connor, one of the regular teachers at People’s, has put together meditations for two of our issues, further connecting my digital and yoga communities.




TBurkholderFor August, we just walked across the hall to meet one of the People of People’s Yoga–meet Tracy Burkholder, one of the massage therapists that shares the SE studio space.
How long have you been practicing?

I’ve been practicing regularly since 2011. In total cliche fashion, I turned 40 and realized that my minimalist approach to fitness wasn’t going to cut it anymore. As a massage therapist, I’ve always encouraged my clients to find an activity that they enjoyed so that exercising was a pleasure rather than a chore. I took my own advice for once and found yoga.

How has your practice changed over time?
When I first started, I was only interested in the physical aspects of yoga. I wanted a good workout and was uninterested, maybe even a little resistant to any lessons it had for my life off the mat. But one can’t really isolate one from the other and the physical practice has opened me up to the rest.

How long have you been coming to the People’s Yoga?
I’ve been coming to the SE studio since 2012. I just fell in love with the teachers right away. They made me feel so welcome, as did the rest of the community. When the SE studio moved down the block to its current location, I knew right away that I wanted to move my massage practice there. For 13 years, I worked out of a small office in my house so it’s been wonderful to have more space and be surrounded by such a wonderful community.

What do you love about the studio?
Between my yoga practice, my massage practice, and my workstudy cleaning duties, the SE studio has become my home away from home and I couldn’t be happier about that. One of my favorite things is when the chanting of a class filters across the hall while I’m working with a client–there’s something so very lovely and unifying about it.

Everyone who enters the SE studio passes the door to your massage studio (it’s the one with the great literary quotes on it). Tell us a little about what happens behind that door.
If the door to my space is open, I invite people to stop in, say hello and ask any questions they may have. There’s also lots of info about my massage practice at Bodywork and yoga are a great combination, so even if I’m not the right LMT for someone, there are three other talented therapists at the studio that I encourage people to check out.

EONeillHow long have you been practicing?
I’ve been athletic my whole life, and found my way into various yoga classes in that time. A decade ago, I got really committed to my practice, including a 6-month Ashtanga training intensive. Injuries ended up side-tracking me for a long spell, but I kept returning to yoga—and finally in 2011 or so, I found my way into Kate’s class at the People’s Yoga. Non-intimidating classes and a supportive community—my heart just blew up!

What brings you back to your mat day after day?
Yoga has been with me five days/week every week through some tough times over the past three years. I keep coming back for the stillness, to meet myself with grace and calm in the midst of the sh*tstorm of life.

How has your practice changed over time?
Over the years, my practice has evolved from a hyper-athletic, asana-focussed practice. I still love the intensely physical classes and am a regular at may Vinyasa classes in the NE studio, but I find my practice taking on a more spiritual tone and delving further into self-exploration as I move my body.

What do you love about the People’s Yoga?
There’s so much to love! All of the teachers leads inspiring and joyful classes. The NE studio is such a sweet sanctuary with the tall windows looking out on the tree across the street. That tree has become a part of my practice as I watch the seasons come and go. And then there’s the community. There’s something so powerful about practicing among a group of people day after day. There’s a connection there, even if you don’t talk to each other all the time. Recently I injured myself in class and the caring and concern of my fellow yogis was so amazing and supportive.

How does your practice influence your professional life?
I am a realtor and the service I bring my clients is very much in line with the presence that I cultivate on my mat. Finding a home is quite a journey and I guide clients with clear communication, integrity, and skillful knowledge of the market. The goal is to find a place where they can truly dwell in wellness, hence the name of my business, Dwellness. For more, look me up online at


How long have you been practicing?
Initially, early on in the ’00s, I endured Bikram for 3 or 4 months, then again about 7 or 8 years ago for 3 months or so, until my skin rebelled from the heat. I tried another studio about a year after that for maybe 10 classes, and then found The People’s Yoga in NE. That must have been about 2010. I practiced there for about 6 to 8 months. I have now been practicing steadily at the SE studio for close to the last 1.5 years, 3 to 4 times per week.
Why did you start?
Pain relief. I fell and slid a long way down Mt. Hood back in 1994 and the aches and pains began to catch up with me.

What brings you back to your mat day after day?
There is always something new in every class. I am constantly learning.
I now deal with stress much more effectively now compared to my pre-yoga days. I just spent a good part of the afternoon in the ER waiting room because someone I am pretty close to was injured. I realized I was longing to sit somewhere quiet and meditate. That sounded so good at that moment that I gave it a shot 10 feet from a TV blaring America’s Funniest Home Videos. Helped a little, but with all the people coming and going, kids crying etc. it was very difficult. Also the sense of peace I feel after practicing is palpable.

What do you love about the studio?
I love the teachers! The level of expertise,wisdom, insight, and knowledge is very high. The caring and giving nature of the teachers also score very high marks.

Where are you when you’re not on your mat?
I ride my bike almost everywhere! Another thing I can’t see myself ever giving up.

People of People’s–May Edition

by anna on May 9, 2014

in Blog

This month we’re featuring Nick Caleb, a relative newcomer to People’s Yoga, who is taking his practice off of the mat and, hopefully, all the way to City Hall as he’s running for City Council in this month’s election.

How long have you been practicing?
I’ve been practicing for about 4 months, since I found People’s Yoga.

How/why did you start doing yoga?
Friends of mine had told me for years about the benefits of yoga, but I remained skeptical. During the fall and winter of last year, I was very stressed, and decided to finally try yoga as a way of helping with focus and memory. The practice is physically and mentally challenging, but it relaxes me, my body feels fantastic, and my focus has improved.Caleb_Portrait_1-300x225

What’s your favorite thing about People’s?
I love the instructors and the people I’ve met in the last few months. People’s has been extremely welcoming and helpful. Both locations are safe spaces and have served as sanctuaries to me.

You’re running for City Council. In what way does your practice inform your politics?
Yoga helps me approach politics with more calm and empathy. It helps to hone the intuitive and contemplative skills that all human beings need to live in a highly complex and fast-paced world.  After a recent class, Audra Carmine joked that government would be a lot more reasonable if our elected officials were doing yoga regularly. I think that this was a very astute observation. Since I’ve been practicing, my ability to endure highly stressful situations has improved while I have become a more grounded and compassionate person. These sorts of positive character developments are extremely important because of the nature of American politics.

Since I’ve been involved in politics, I’ve always been turned off by the fast-paced, aggressive, overly argumentative, reductive, exploitative, and often times inhuman nature of our system. Though I studied law and policy, I’ve been lucky enough to have life experiences out of the political mainstream (working for Vandana Shiva in India, living and earning a Masters in the Netherlands, and being an environmental and social justice activist) that convinced me that our whole way of doing politics has to change if we are to care for the material and emotional needs of working people and the poor (I gave a TEDx talk about this in the Spring of 2011, if you want to hear more). I really do think that yoga shows the way to a more caring and inclusive form of politics.

Yoga is also keeping me sane during the campaign by giving me an activity that calms my mind and allows for the space for meditation when things get overwhelming. I don’t think I could have worked full time, moved, and run for office at the same time if I weren’t exploring yoga.

We’re bringing back the People of People’s Yoga feature in which we do short interviews
with those who regularly find their way onto their mats at our Studios.
Follow along to learn more about our extended community of yogis!
First up is Kevin LaChapelle, a regular at the SE Studio as well as a LKLaChapelleMT who practices
out of one of the massage rooms in the new SE space.

How long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing yoga since Winter Solstice 2012.
I visited the People’s Yoga on a 10-day pass during a 10-day winter
cleanse. I guess I enjoyed TPY so much that I became a membah!
I enjoy all the instructors and find TPY to be warm, inviting,
and accepting.

What brings you back to your mat day after day?
An Accident – knowing that we are never assured of the next
moment or the next breath.
An Idea – that we give ourselves a gift each time we snuggle
up onto our mat and make the effort to be fully present.
An Article – about the venerable Gao Fu.

What’s your favorite thing about the People’s Yoga?
I am inspired by and grateful for the other practitioners at TPY for making me smile, laugh,
and for sharing in the experience of “eating bitter” from time to time. I am quite grateful
for all the instruction and care that I have received. TPY is wicked awesome!

What are you up to off your mat?
Yoga helps keep me limbah and flexible for my co-ed softball team, indoor/outdoor basketball,
hiking, and cycling. I have been a practicing Licensed Massage Therapist in Portland since 2007,
working both with acute/chronic injuries and simply for relaxation. I love yoga, massage therapy,
and smelling summer roses after they have been perched under the sun for hours.

I walked into my first yoga class in an inner-city YWCA about a year and a half ago. The instructor sprinted in two minutes after 6AM, breathless from the spinning class she’d just taught. Her voice had the harsh twang of a hopeful Liz Phair impersonator as she intoned, “Circle sweeping the arms up; swan diving down.” Up, down, up, down, and then we’d get to the push-ups. 55 minutes of something resembling sun salutations, then we’d spend the last five minutes of class laying “in our safe happy place” while she ran out to unlock the cycling studio again.
After about three classes of that, we had our first sub. She made us connect each movement of that mad caper to a breath—inhale up, exhale down. Like the difference between being hooked on phonics and real reading, the jerky motions acquired a cadence as they came into focus on the movement of the breath. My curiosity was piqued: with approximately 30 years experience holding my breath in stressful situations, I wondered what would happen if I cultivated the habit of breathing. And so I kept showing up, day after day, 5-6 days a week.

I first showed up at a yoga class because it was a cheap, conveniently located antidote to grueling Minnesota winters and sedentary 60-hour work weeks. My expectations were pretty low: do something that didn’t involve those treadmills under the blaring TVs, but didn’t exceed the boundaries of my Y membership, so handily subsidized by my health insurance at the time.
A motley assortment of seniors, a few dudes in baggy jeans, and the occasional marathoner visiting for a quick stretch, it was the perfect group for me. After we’d rushed through our day’s sequence, we bowed to the mirrors, the teacher in front of them, and the impatient crowd queuing up at the door for 7AM Zumba class. Everyone would intone the requisite “namaste”–except for me.
Raised in Eugene, I was skeptical of anything that smacked of the loose new age-Eastern-self-help-feelgood spirituality that was proclaimed from bumper stickers and dangling prayer flags. I’m one of those people who actually reads things before I sign them and I couldn’t bring myself to recite a word I only understood another slogan. And so I’d incline my head, silent but full of a wordless gratitude.

I didn’t expect that my yoga habit would follow me when I moved to Portland, especially when I discovered that the only place I could afford on my meager freelancer’s budget would be a 5-mile bike ride away. Perhaps it was my favourite spot under the sky light, perhaps the lovely teachers, but once I found it, I kept making that trek across town to People’s.

It’s too soon to tell what sort of a difference yoga makes in my life, or at least to make a statement that sounds impressive. For me, it’s the small things: Slowly I’ve been working on the habit of breathing, in, out, up, down. Some days, I’m completely bowled over by trying to stand on all four quadrants of each foot. A new angle of a hip reveals some nuance of posture that engrosses my attention for a week, on and off my mat. This week it’s been my index fingers: those slightly stumpy digits can change the sensations of a pose all the way back to somewhere around the waistline. I hold out hope that some day my elbows will get with the program, or at least give me a few hints about their program might be.

And yes, I did eventually come round—if you end up practicing next to me, I’ll be saying namaste along with the rest of the group. There wasn’t a grand conversion moment, just one day at the end of class, Suniti offered one of her simple glosses of the term. Oh, that? That’s one of the things I believe. Check.

The People’s community is a great group of people. Where else can I find a sympathetic group of mostly strangers to laugh along with me as I fall flat on my face, or otherwise teeter about? As a confirmed perfectionist, that’s the sort of thing that nightmares are made of, but, regardless of the class, this group makes it pleasant.

When not at the studio, I keep myself occupied by biking all about and doing a range of things for love and money. I’ve worked in fair trade coffee for nearly a decade, most recently doing freelance communications, copy writing, etc. Between 8 and 5, you can find me at Equal Exchange, one of the pioneers of the fair trade movement, working on making international trade more fair, transparent, and equitable for everyone involved.
When not at work, I put words together for fun and money. On the side, I generally comport myself like a granny: gardening, preserving things, sewing, and knitting in public places.

People of People’s July Edition: Janelle Grant

by michelle on July 15, 2012

in Blog

I first came in to People’s on Alberta in 2008. I think it had opened not long before that. I had been to a bunch of other studios (mostly on “intro special” deals …still have never been to a $12+ class!) and rec center/community college classes, but was on the verge of being convinced that, despite feeling the benefits of the practice, this was really…not my scene. People’s changed that, by representing accessibility, DIY attitude, diverse community, a sense of humor. When the studio moved and started offering scholarships I was so excited. Getting a scholarship to help maintain a steady yoga practice was like having a little bit of health insurance, for real, because having this available meant making healthier choices and taking better care of myself. As classes started getting bigger I started seeing folks from the studio around town or friends from elsewhere in class (a shout out to all the secret punk rock yogis!). More recently my mom even started coming to classes with me. The scholarship got me thinking of how to give back and I started doing various sorts of work trade…painting, flyering, and mostly cleaning. It was so nice to know that those times when I especially couldn’t afford yoga classes (which often happened to be when I needed them most) I never had to go without.

I think I’m slowly learning to name the differences the yoga practice has made in my life. There are big life changes coincide almost exactly with beginning this practice that I did not immediately believe were related. Around that time I quit smoking, stopped having panic attacks. There are probably connections I still haven’t made. I’ve become a little more bold, a little less cynical, and less of an introvert. Even my friends and family have noticed I seemed more comfortable in my own skin. And I’m still working on this one but, I used to deal with hard times by running away whenever possible. I’d convince myself I wouldn’t have problems with depression if I didn’t live under such gray skies all year, so I could probably fix it by taking off for Mexico til winter was long gone. I traveled a bunch and turns out people are feeling a bit doomy and desperate about the state of the world pretty much everywhere. Being conscious of so much suffering is hard to deal with, but how do you begin to change anything without facing it for what it is, even when it’s super fucked up. I think this is true for both personal/internal and social/global struggles. So this piece about learning to sit with what troubles you is a pretty relevant teaching when you have grown up being taught to pretend everything’s okay, or to look for a quick fix.

Outside of my time as the studio, I work at a day center in Old Town for folks who are mostly house-less or in need of some basic needs sort of stuff or other help finding resources. I also work on-call in an emergency shelter for survivors of domestic violence. I’m going on tour this summer with some friends in a Portland punk band…I’ve been sort of their go-to roadie for years and this time we’re going back to Mexico City! It’s been pretty much the only sort of traveling I’ve done lately since I went and became a student again…and I’m starting nursing school in the fall. I recently got back in to making art after years of having no real such outlet…this happened by accident, started by being gifted a bunch of materials and getting friends together to crank out protest art, props and banners for political street actions and demonstrations. I’ve been genuinely excited over the last year or two about what seems like a big shift in the local/global social climate, getting a sense that some sort of real change could be on the horizon and may be inevitable. I’m equally excited for what looks like it might be a real summer in Portland with a healthy dose of cold river swimming.