What is your favourite pose?
I don’t think I could possibly pick a favourite pose; they all have their beauty and their challenges. However, one pose for which I have a special affection is one that I cannot do very well at all but continue to progress in over time. It is Hanumanasana: full splits. I find this pose to be joyful and liberating. The story behind the pose tells of the monkey god, Hanuman, taking a “leap of faith” across the ocean from the south of India to the Himalayas in order to find an herb to cure Rama’s brother. Hanuman makes another great leap from India to Sri Lanka to reunite Rama and his beloved Sita. The pose, combined with the mythology behind it, brings a smile to my face. Should I ever actually attain the full expression of this pose, I will certainly feel as though I have leaped to the Himalayas myself!
What is your biggest challenge in yoga?
My biggest challenge in yoga is self-acceptance. In a world that can sometimes seem to define success in a very limited way, yoga helps to broaden that definition and allow space for everyone.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is considering starting yoga?
I would say to definitely do it. Remember that yoga is not the competitive “no pain, no gain” form of exercise that many people subscribe to. It is exercise for the body and the mind and to find the connection between the two. Most of all, I would tell someone that it is just plain FUN! I am constantly amazed at the things our bodies can do - bend, balance, and make seemingly impossible angles - when we just play and don’t impose limitations on ourselves.
What interests do you have outside of yoga?
Outside of yoga, I enjoy reading, teaching, tennis, playing with my cats, and spending time with family and friends.
What has been your most inspiring yoga moment?
There are many moments of inspiration during yoga both while practicing and while teaching. One moment that stands out was teaching yoga to those with various mental health challenges. The students varied in age from 18 to 80. For one hour, once a week, for eight months, we all came together as a community, let labels and limitations fall away, and had fun being ourselves.
What first drew you to yoga and what keeps you coming back?
Honestly, I was first drawn to yoga because it wasn’t a gym. I have always felt self-conscious and out-of-place in a gym. Yoga gave me a place where I felt welcome and had all the equipment I needed: a mat and my body. I keep coming back to yoga because of the way it makes me feel. I feel at home on my mat and in the studio. It is because of yoga that I also feel more at home in my body. And again, it really is just so much fun!
How has yoga helped you off the mat?
Yoga has helped me feel more connected to others by appreciating the humanity and vulnerability in us all. It continues to help me learn to accept myself and to see the beauty of what is.