Yogi Spotlight: Clare Levijoki

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What is your yoga story?

When I was younger, I was the least athletic person you’ve ever met. To some extent, I still am. Running? Nope. Team sports? Nope. Nothing like that. I was happy to pretend that my body didn’t exist and focus on books and computers.

But then I was introduced to yoga, through a required speech class at my high school, of all things. The teacher had us do yoga as a warm up, telling us that your physical state was important to emotional expression (which is obviously part of acting, and a part that I struggled with).

I found that I really liked the way yoga made me feel. I started pursuing it further and ended up practicing Hatha yoga on and off throughout high school. I stopped in college, but a few years after stopping yoga I injured my back. The physical therapy I was prescribed didn’t feel as though it was doing much for me – but when I was invited to Amandla Energy Works’ Vinyasa class, that felt like it was doing something. I subsequently found that vinyasa yoga was better for my back, which we now believe may have some congenital muscle and nerve issues, than the physical therapy was!

Practicing yoga in a class regularly has also helped me to get many benefits that I probably would have gotten from team sports if I’d done them when I was younger. I am bolder and more adventurous; having seen people at all levels practicing together, I am no longer afraid to try things I if I am not sure I will succeed. I now consider regular yoga practice to be one of my “medications,” because it’s good for my body and my mind!

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Yogi Spotlight: Me!

And a little #tbt two summers ago when my dear friend Blake Mackie became my official yoga photographer.

This month marks my two year teaching anniversary! Both my personal practice and teaching practice have been amazing gifts that have guided me to more fully experience love and embody my true and highest self. The journey has not always been pleasant, but it has certainly been full of joy. I have such gratitude for the family, friends, teachers and students who have put up with me along the way. I am energized and open to all that is in my future!

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Yogi Spotlight: Erica Bloom

If you could tell non-yogis one thing about yoga what would it be?
“To be patient with yourself. It’s not about perfecting the pose. It’s more about understanding yourself in the pose, and understanding thoughts that come up, and sitting with those thoughts and the pose, and allowing yourself frustration and all of the emotions that come up with it without judging yourself. That to me is really what yoga is about and less so getting it all right.”
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