The People of People’s :: Maggie Jane Cech

maggieQ: How long have you been practicing yoga?
A: I first began my yoga practice about 10 years ago in high school with a Bikram yoga practice. From that point on, I practiced on and off in spurts until I started coming to People’s in April this year, which is when I started my current consistent practice.

Q: Why did you start?
A: I don’t remember very specifically, but honestly, thinking back to where my mind was in high school, the stories I told myself and my motivations behind doing things, it had to have been an ego-driven reason. It was probably me wanting to lose weight, thinking “this would be a nice supplement to all the sports I play and will help me lose weight and look a certain way.” My acceptance of self exactly as I am, all of me, all facets of who I am, not just the light, has been the longest journey of my life thus far, and one that I still work with daily on many levels.

Q: How has your practice changed over time?
A: My understanding of yoga, my relationship with myself, and my understanding of how I work in and relate to the world have all changed over time from being almost entirely externally driven to aiming to be internally-driven. My practice has changed from existing for externally-driven reasons mentioned above to being a practice driven by my inner compass finally getting through to me, saying that it’s ready for me to befriend myself and my body, calling me home to myself for healing to take place.

Q: What brings you back to your mat day after day?
A: Yoga is my main spiritual food. It’s my way of learning how to listen to my body, to relate to my body, and to feel the intersection between mind and body as it presents itself in my landscape. It’s my breathing practice, reminding me to be mindful and present. It is my classroom where I can ask questions of myself and breathe into them, practicing allowing the answers come to me in time and dancing + sitting with impatience and discipline and discomfort in the meantime. It is how I have learned to listen to my body in an intimate way, or at least start to learn to listen, how I have learned to start to get to know myself and know that I am my greatest teacher. It is medicine for me, and a practice in which I am drawn back to the reminder that I always know what is best for me, that I always know what my medicine is and what I need most for my healing.

Q: How long have you been coming to People’s?

A: Not very long – since April 2015! I moved into a house in May 2014 about 1 1/2 blocks away from TPY NE Killingsworth studio, but it took me just about a year to get to the studio for my first class!

Q: What is your favorite thing about People’s?
A: The community and sense of belonging and ease I feel when I step into the studio – it’s a safe space, it’s home.

Q: Tell us something about any projects you have outside of the studio, or any traveling stories you’d like to share.
A: I lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico for two years post-graduating from college, then spent two weeks walking across part of Spain on the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, then moved back to Portland (my hometown!) about two years ago and started working for a Portland-based filmmaker who made a documentary about the pilgrimage. I’m currently working on getting settled into my room and house (despite the fact that I’ve lived in the same place since May 2014) and am looking forward to spending more time this Autumn and Winter with my creativity, writing, and art.

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