A: I’m relatively new to Portland having moved here from Virginia in the beginning of 2014. I had just retired from my first job and wanted to pursue a master’s degree full time at PSU. After moving to Portland, I decided to delay graduate school and take a year off to travel and study yoga. I set my sights on completing a Yoga Alliance certified 200-hour YTT program within a year. I’m happy to say I achieved my goal this past March!
Q: How long have you been practicing yoga?
A: I took my first yoga class my freshman year of college back in 2008. Being tall, lanky, and the opposite of flexible, I immediately enjoyed the physical challenges that yoga had to offer.
Q: Why did you start?
A: A girl I was interested in at the time practiced yoga, and I started attending classes to have an excuse to talk with her.
Q: How has your practice changed over time?
A: At first, I practiced yoga purely for the physical benefits. I liked the way a regular yoga practice allowed for a better quality of sleep, increased my energy during the day and gave me an all around feeling of well being. As my practice progressed, I began noticing other benefits as well. I was better able to cope with stress and began observing tendencies about myself that I had never noticed before.
Q: What brings you back to your mat day after day?
A: Yoga lets me concentrate on what’s important. I always leave the studio feeling more centered and optimistic about life than when I first walked in the door. Whatever is going on in my life I know that when I come to my mat I’ll be able to focus on enjoying the present.
Q: How long have you been coming to People’s?
A: I have been coming to People’s since first moving to Portland in March 2014. I feel very fortunate to have found such a wonderful studio with even more wonderful teachers.
Q: What is your favorite thing about People’s?
A: The teachers. After attending classes on a daily basis for almost six months, I felt prepared physically and mentally to begin a 200-hour YTT program.
Q: Tell us something about any projects you have outside of the studio, or any traveling stories you’d like to share.
A: I recently completed my 200-hour RYT certification in India. It was an incredibly challenging but rewarding month long journey. I spent the month studying at the Rishikul Yogshala Ashram in the northern town of Rishikesh. Aside from being picturesquely located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is unique in that alcohol and non-vegetarian food has been outlawed. Life at the ashram was exhausting; up every day at 5am with classes lasting until 8pm. The daily schedule included four hours of asana classes (Hatha and Ashtanga) as well as anatomy, philosophy, pranayama, meditation, and mantra chanting. I learned a tremendous amount about the history of yoga as well as about myself as a person. I left India more confident, centered and happy to be living life.