Q: Tell us about yourself! (Where are you from? What do you do? Do you have any kids? Whatever you feel is your story)
A: I grew from babyhood to high schooler in Davis, California (where cows and bikes and privilege are the main currency), graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where I studied Environmental Humanities and Politics, and am now a fresh resident of Portland. Nine to five, I am an Open Meadow Student Success Advocate at Roosevelt High School where I facilitate an extended academic day program advocating for 20 High School students in a small group, one-on-one, and classroom setting.
Q: How long have you been practicing yoga?
A: In theory, I began my yogic career as a gymnast at the prime age of three. A body person from my pinky toe to the crown of my head, I fell in love with the tension that gymnastics and yoga hold between containing and expanding, pulling in and pushing out, failing and succeeding. As in the study of gymnastics, my yogic practice has helped me sift through these constant paradoxes within the studio and beyond.
Q: Why did you start?
A: I formally began practicing yoga in junior high after quitting gymnastics because my body needed healing and was wrought with tension as a result of competitive soccer, puberty, and life itself. Although I have practiced yoga on and off since that time, I didn’t start a more involved yogic practice until I began a work trade at People’s Yoga last fall, making it possible for me to afford the teaching that propels my practice forward, backwards, up, or down?
Q: How has your practice changed over time?
A: Since beginning my work trade, I have come to see that yoga, exercise, and meditation previously served as an escape. Able to easily disconnect from my thoughts when moving or sitting in peace, I had used these as tunnels to other worlds in which I could enter another more quiet reality. However, I have recently found that these escapes are of little worth if I cannot learn to integrate breath into my daily life. The past year has brought on strong drafts of adult responsibility that make it ever more challenging for me to relax and be present, which is why yoga serves as a constant reminder of how to be, how to watch myself, how to slow down, breath deep, and forgive myself outside the studio.
Q: What brings you back to your mat day after day?
A: Hope that one day I will learn to better grieve in the present, breathe with calm in all contexts, and accept fear without letting it hold me back. And, when I am too tired for those profound hopes to push me out the door, I am grateful to have a work trade that pulls on strings of responsibility.
Q: How long have you been coming to People’s?
A: My work trade brought me to People’s last October, and my duty to the studio floors, disheveled rugs, and dusty sinks kept me coming back until it too became a meditation, for which I am now grateful.
Q: What is your favorite thing about People’s?
A: The plants that dangle above the window sill, dripping down, just waiting to drape over us as we lay prostrate and open on the mat.
Q: Tell us something about any projects you have outside of the studio, or any traveling stories you’d like to share.
A: I have relatively few possessions and value knowing the difference between what I need and what I want, but my attachment to books is growing ever stronger. My vision involves hoarding enough books to begin my own library one day so that at least 75% of what I own by the time I’m 50 is a book collection. So, my current project, if there is one, is to read and listen to as many stories as possible. I spend the majority of my free time reading novels and then a little podcast story absorption on the side. But really, everything is a project, endless, and endlessly paradoxical.