1. How would you define your personal practice?
Mmmm… Well, I’d say it’s very much yoga-informed, even if a lot of what I do is tangential to what I’ve encountered in yoga classes or trainings. I teach vinyasa yoga classes, which have a somewhat free-form approach, but are grounded in the vocabulary of common yoga shapes and transitions. I keep my own practice pretty general in my mind, usually centered on developing challenging skills and then working on the necessary strength and mobility. I suppose I could label some or all of it — “bodyweight fitness”, “movement”, “hand balancing”, “calisthenics” — I don’t worry about it too much. I pursue what I’m interested in, and cycle toward and then away from specific skills, to let them develop over time without being manic about it. Unfortunately, I can’t just work on everything all the time.
2. What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey?
Finding yoga was a big deal, just before I turned 40. And then through yoga, discovering hand balancing and the more dynamic transitions. Also, finding the Budokon approach soon after, to relate yoga to something more fluid without getting too hung up on the particulars of static shapes. The “mindfulness” people talk about is a cliche, but whatever. It’s still the most valuable aspect of yoga, for me. A big part of this is coming into it as an older person, having a different attitude about time. My practice is about self-regulation and self-management first, and then exploring from that basis to find out what’s possible, can I do more, can I be more? The answers are humbling and surprising and real. When I was a teenager, I had an older friend with Parkinson’s, and I’d watch him cycle through his dopamine levels as we talked, his body going from hyper-fidgety to frozen within a few hours. It made me decide that the idea of a mind / body separation was a lie, or a delusion — when your body fails you, where else is your experience or thinking going to be grounded? And it will fail everyone, eventually. I’ve always taken care of my body, even when the rest of my life was chaotic, and I’m more grateful for that now than I’d ever have understood when I was younger.
3. What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche?
Being older, the possibility of injury (and the length of time it can take to heal) motivates my attention. I don’t pursue goals recklessly, and I pay attention to how my body responds as I practice. It doesn’t make me paranoid or risk-averse, but it keeps me honest in evaluating what’s appropriate for me. I have constant little injuries, aches, pains and strains, but rarely anything that persists for more than 4-6 weeks. I’ll take that over major trauma.
4. Do you consider yourself a teacher? Why or why not?
Yes, I’m a teacher. It’s how I make my living. It affects how I approach what I learn, as I digest it, test it, and constantly try to figure out how I can explain new things to someone else.
5. What has been your experience with physical education, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere?
I’ve always been pretty physical and active, though not particularly mindful about it. Aside from swimming, I never really approached any sort of movement technically until I came across yoga. In the past few years, most of my education has been from my own online research, then from practicing with others, then from teaching others, and then through some more specialized workshops.
6. How do you involve your mind/ emotions into your physical routines?
The main reason I stayed active as an adult, is that it’s helped keep my emotions under control and clear my mind. When I was younger, it was more just effort for the sake of effort, to burn energy, but it worked well especially through difficult and unstable living situations. Moving and focusing the way I do now as I’m older, that keeps me present and grounded.
7. What are your personal aspirations regarding movement? How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built?
I always want to do the things that look like magic, which is what drew me to hand-balancing. Aside from that, I want to move freely and age gracefully. I have many interests I would like to pursue, and where I end up is sadly limited by time and circumstance. I want to do everything all the time, and I wish I didn’t have to sleep and let my body recover.
8. How can people find/ contact you? Do you have a site or social media handle to share?
I’m online. Instagram is best, and I list my email in my profile. My website is www.hellotoallthefishes.com.