Lisa’s road to yoga was a slow, gradual process beginning when she was very young. As a child and into young adulthood, she spent most of her evenings at the dance studio; deepening grand pliées at the barre, tapping cool rhythms with her feet and learning her part in beautiful choreography in front of a large mirror. In University, her classical dance training grew to include tai chi sequences, creative movement and voice techniques for the theatre, and the use of creative arts in therapy. It was when she was studying to become an elementary school teacher that she took her first yoga class. She loved it: the feeling of being in her body, the constant challenge of asanas, the use of breath, and the spirituality of the practice. She also appreciated the freedom and expectation in the yoga practice to listen to her body, rather than just focusing on technique. One of her favourite ways to practice yoga is to flow postures together to music, creating a yoga-dance.
Having been a student and teacher of many disciplines, she naturally gravitated to learning more and wanting to share her love of yoga with others. She completed her yoga-teacher-training in 2009, just after becoming pregnant with her daughter, Taylor. She was so excited to share yoga with others. In some ways, it was hard to separate becoming a yoga teacher with becoming a mom. After giving birth, she delighted in sharing the benefits of pre-natal yoga and yoga for childbirth with other women. So many aspects of yogic philosophy apply to giving birth and becoming a parent, such as letting go of expectations, living in the moment and breathing. The practice of surrender has been particularly helpful to her.
Lisa most enjoys helping people to be present with themselves – to discover more about their bodies – to find joy in movement and in stillness – to be at peace.
Her go-to pose is cat-cow; bidalasana. This posture offers many variations and opportunities for creating a ‘flow’. It’s a great way to connect to abdominal muscles, stretch the back, lubricate knees, strengthen arms, stretch out the toes, etc. She also laboured in this position with both of her children. Her body moved into cat during contractions, and then came down into a variation of cow and child’s pose during rest periods.
Right now she is staying away from deep abdominal strengthening poses such as ‘little boat’, unless supported with a scarf or tie. She has some separation in her upper abs. (rectus diastasis) from her pregnancies. She finds it challenging to hold back on moving in a certain way, but she knows she will benefit in the long run if she gives herself time to heal.
Lisa has a three-month old baby named Oliver. She is so enjoying her time getting to know him and learning from him. He has just started discovering his feet, and she loves watching him move. Babies are such an inspiration for yoga postures, so she tries to let Oliver lead her practice from time to time; lovely to experience such freedom and discovery in one’s body. Oliver also exudes so much joy! He’s been smiling since he was about a month old, and anyone who’s seen him smile, can’t help but smile back.
Enjoy your breath – Thich Nhat Hanh