The People of People’s :: Denise

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am an artist with a background in furniture making and jewelry design, and I make my living from using my creative energy as an Interior Designer. I love being an artist, it is very freeing. I can be myself. I own more tools than clothes. I like to say I’m the girliest tomboy you’ll ever meet.


Q: How long have you been practicing yoga?

A: I started practicing yoga in 1990 as a young adult. I was a lost soul, having lost my mother as a teenager, and I needed to bring more meaning into my life. I joined a meditation group called Ananda Marga, with whom I traveled all over the world; Taiwan, England, India, Sweden, and then to Portland, teaching yoga and meditation to preschool age children and kindergartners. I think it’s a blast to watch small children trying out yoga postures and sitting in meditation. I was recently reunited with one of my kindergartner students, all grown up and now practicing yoga at The People’s Yoga. That was a really amazing class for me, looking over and seeing one of my kids practicing with me.


Q: How has your practice changed over time?

A: When I first started doing yoga and meditation, I thought of them as two separate practices. Now, I think of yoga as moving meditation.


Q: What brings you back to you mat day after day?

A: I think of my yoga mat as my magic carpet. When I am on it, I feel whole and completely at peace. All I have to do is concentrate on my breath and listen to the instructor’s voice. When I first started, I was struck by the power of a single word. I am often transported through emotions by the words used in class.


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

A: I started attending classes at People’s last summer when my life fell apart. I moved twice in one month. I landed in a wonderful, peaceful house seven miles from my job. I’m now a serious bike commuter, and I need to do yoga so I can bike the 12-20 miles I log daily. The People’s Yoga and my bike were ultimately the best thing that has happened to me. I fell back in love with cycling, and I am about to buy a new road bike to start riding centuries. My goal this year is to meet up with my brother, nephew, and cousin for a family reunion on bikes.


Q: What is your favorite thing about People’s?

A: I love all the teachers at People’s. All of them are so amazingly dedicated to their own practice and their teaching, and they are all very unique. I only wish I could take more classes. I also love the fact I earn points for riding my bike. I am grateful that I found People’s, it is my second home. I feel part of a community. Practicing yoga daily for the last nine months has given me the strength and courage to work on other goals.


Q: Tell us something about any projects you have outside of the studio.

A: Food is my passion. I eat food free of corn, wheat, dairy, soy, and sugar, so I spend most of my free time with my nose in cookbooks figuring out new ways to cook cauliflower and other veggies. I changed my diet three years ago with the help of Dr. Tony at Mountain Spring Health Clinic. I lost 60 lbs. and have never felt better. In the process, I have learned more than I really wanted to know about what’s in our food and how it’s made. My goal is to become a clean food advocate.


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