An interview conducted by One Yoga & Ryan Leier's 'Living Yoga' mission:
1. What does living yoga mean to you?
Yoga for me is to live as collectively as possible within difference, primarily through companionship and intimacy. Each of us are unique beings with distinct needs that must be met and honoured to invoke more compatibility and richness in our connections with others AND the various aspects of ourself.
There is a yearning within each of us, which is coded upon our essence (we have no choice in this deep desire), to create sincere relationships. If we ignore or neglect this innate calling of companionship, then I believe we will meet a great deal of discomfort in our lives. My teacher, Dr. Douglas Brooks, once said ‘Intimacy’s aim is cohabitation’. In other words, the objective is to live within a collective of diversity through meaningful and mindful experiences.
There is more than one kind of intimacy: friendship, family, neighbourly, beloveds, professional, introspection, etc. Yoga invites me to create specific terms (i.e. roles, responsibilities, ritual) within these different types of relationship. Yoga also calls me to respect these delineations and to remain open to reshape the terms when conditions signal me to do so. Outlining a clear sense of boundaries generate more meaningful connections, with ourselves and with others. Living my yoga requires me to consciously move in and out of these unique connections, serving each of them with a loving-kindness and encouraging a communal environment amongst it all.
Yes, many of us need the tools and courage to create intimate connections and boundaries in our relationships. Yoga provides us with so many of these practical tools, such as mental strength, discernment, listening skills, mindfulness, sensitivity, focused attention and gentleness.
2. What are 3 of your primary values, and how do these impact how you operate, on and off the mat?
Three of my primary values are integrity, humility and curiosity. These are qualities in which I pray to embody, but often circumstances don’t allow or encourage me to do so. These values were imprinted on me at a very young age from my parents and family, and they provide a sense of ‘excellence’ for me…something for me to strive towards.
For me, integrity is alignment, follow-through and connection. Humility is the process of celebrating and recognizing the gifts and contributions that other human beings provide on this planet. Curiosity is the expression of our inner flame…i.e., we are innately programmed to grow and expand as human beings. Curiosity is one of the coded building blocks within us that when exposed will serve us with a compelling desire (i.e., flame) to grow closer to our own fullness.
Anything of ‘excellence’, or what we consider to be important, will demand a set of arduous tasks. The journey of integrating values into our life commands a challenge, friction and heat. In order for me to consistently show up in an integral, humble and curious manner, I must foster a disciplined effort, summon a set of precise energies and create focal-points of attention, commitment and vow….on and off the mat.
3. In what area of your life do you live your yoga most fully? (i.e. relationship, parenting, service projects, teaching)
I live my yoga most fully through my family: my husband, Tai, two children (Tenzin- 6 years old & Indira-4 years old), our new babe due to arrive in 4-weeks and our 15-year old malamute husky, Kiska. Each of us, individually, serve into and feed off of the collective ecosystem we have constructed together as a family. Our little mini ecosystem is continuously shapeshifting and beating. In order to maintain a healthy pulse or a survival mode, the family dynamic demands selflessness, unconditional love, perseverance, sacrifice, negotiation, humour, imagination and creativity. Our little biosphere embodies a foundation of values and trust in the Oneness which Tai and I spent numerous years contemplating, adapting, revamping and churning in deep and heated conversations. This mini ecosystem is my centre - my focal point.
4. What elements of your practice help you to live your yoga?
My daily meditation, pranayama & contemplative practices seem to reach down deep into the aspects of myself that whisper and sometimes even ‘scream’ to be seen or heard . The set of practices I am currently harnessing tend to invite a fluidity within my internal landscape. The freedom that these practices create within my subtle body impart a deeply grounded, relaxed and light-hearted experience for me mentally, emotionally and physically. These are essential qualities for me to dive into creating sincere relationships.
I have a daily asana practice which targets specific parts of the physical body that tend to develop stiffness and density due to stagnation in my subtle body. Ahhh… how I love my thigh & hamstring opening and my handstands (when I am not so pregnant.
5. Who are some of your inspirations, and how have they inspired you to live their yoga?
My mother is an absolute Angel. Her ability to serve others and emanate compassion in a reliable manner is extraordinary. Her energetic system must be incredibly strong in order to hold and direct the amount of light that she does so gracefully. Light is a refined force which vibrates at a high frequency, and my mother exudes this medium as her primary pulse. Yes – she oscillates, as all humans do, but she never grasps on to any of the various energies moving through her. She always traverses back to the middle path, serving out abundant amount of light.