Tell us about the first time you stepped onto a yoga mat.
The first time I stepped on a yoga mat, I did so with an intention to heal. I had recently gone through many drastic changes in my life. I was struggling with my mental health, and I wanted to find something I could lean on—something that could help me find balance in my mind and body. I was seeking change, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
What does “the power of a yoga mat” mean to you personally?
It means a lot to me personally; it makes me think of giving a level of calm and peace to those who need it. I have dear family members and friends who are currently incarcerated, as well as others who were and are home now. To me, the power of a yoga mat lies in the opportunity it offers the practitioner to heal, learn, and grow. It represents a chance to learn to respect your body and self, while growing into a stronger human.
How have you witnessed the impact of a yoga mat on the lives of your students and/or fellow practitioners?
The yoga mat has been a life-changing experience for me, as well as those I get the pleasure of introducing to it. I have been honored to witness transformation in many people. For those people, having a yoga mat they could use changed their practice forever. The mat became a space where they could carve out time for themselves, where they could continue their healing. Over and over again, I have seen a yoga mat become a symbol of community, family, love, growth, and generational cycles being broken. There is nothing better than that.
You recently led a donation class for Give Back Yoga, as part of our end-of-year initiative, The Power of a Yoga Mat. What inspired you to fundraise for our nonprofit?
I was inspired by everything that Give Back Yoga is! When I began my business, they were an amazing resource to me on many levels. Getting the mats from them, and being able to give back to my community was all-in-all a heartwarming experience—for both myself and those served.
We are so grateful for your fundraising efforts! Tell us more about your donation class.
I held a fundraiser at the Environmental Education Center in Iowa City, IA. There were a total of seven of us there. I taught a restorative yoga session, along with a guided meditation and journaling session. My co-facilitator, Adrian Long, offered a DIY oracle reading. I included surprises and gifts for those who attended, as well as catered food from Dunn Brothers Coffee in Coralville, IA.
I felt so grateful for everyone who came, and donated. It also gave me a lot of self confidence, as it was my first fundraising event. I recommend the opportunity to others, as it was truly a fantastic experience!