I was fortunate enough to take my first yoga class when I was 10 years old. My mom and I went together to classes at a community center in our town. I wasn’t an athletic kid-didn’t run fast, wasn’t good at sports-but my body loved yoga. I remember being on the rather dusty floor with my feet over my head in plow pose, my equally non-athletic Mom beside me doing the same. I think that doing the class with my mom was part of why I loved it.
For many years I worked in stressful, action-packed corporate environments where multi-tasking was the name of the game. Now I try to multi-task as little as possible! Yoga has helped me learn to do things more mindfully. Now I try to give whatever I’m doing my full attention while I’m doing it. I do everything more slowly too-eating, dressing, making the bed, making a meal. I try to be with it and enjoy it, rather than to rush through it and onto something else.
My other passion, besides yoga, is writing. I’m the author of a middle-grade novel, The Christmas Village, which came out in 2011. I’ve also written on a variety of topics for national magazines and children’s magazines for about 15 years. As a result of having the book out, I’ve been visiting schools to talk with kids about writing and creativity. I didn’t know that I would love doing that so much!
I’ve become very interested in promoting children’s literacy and a high standard of literacy in general. When I meet with kids, they are so enthusiastic and get so excited, and that excites me. It’s an especially wonderful feeling when there are kids who say they don’t like to read, but by the time we’re done you can see a change in their attitudes. A similar excitement happens for me in yoga when I’m working with a student, and they are able to come into a pose they thought they could never do or have struggled with for a long time. Sharing in their excitement is a big part of what makes teaching so rewarding.
I wanted to deepen my own practice, so I took teacher training, not knowing for sure if I would teach. So many “light bulbs” went off when I took the training-insights about the poses and how to be in them. Someone told me, “The best way to learn something is to teach it.” That’s definitely true, because if you have to teach yoga poses, you not only have to know how they feel in your body and how to move through them yourself, you have to be able to find clear words to explain that out loud to other people.
A number of people encouraged me to teach, and I found that it brought my practice and my understanding of yoga to a far deeper level than even the teacher training did.
I think that early on, it can be intimidating to see what very advanced yoga practitioners can do. The truth is that no one can do every pose really well-for everyone, there are poses that are challenging and humbling. My belief now is that being a teacher is not about showing students what I can do; it’s about showing them what they can do.
For me, the community of yoga is the greatest gift. I love being with people who share a love of the practice, and I feel a deep sense of belonging when I’m in yoga class, whether I am taking it or teaching it. From teaching specifically, the greatest gift is the mutual sharing-we share what we know, and in return, our students constantly show us what works and what doesn’t, how to improve, and how what they need on a given day may be different from what we had in mind. They teach us to be open and flexible-not physically, but mentally and spiritually.
A Few of my Favorites:
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Food: A piece of fresh French or Italian bread with a slice of tomato, mozzarella, a little olive oil, and a sprinkle of basil
Yoga pose: Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
Most Challenging Yoga Pose: Any twisted standing pose is challenging for me-Twisted Triangle and, especially, Twisted Half Moon.