Executive Director, Founder
My hope is that my sharing may inspire and invite you to explore the journey of your yoga practice – a lifestyle of wellness, self-care as health care, a practice of self-awareness, inner knowing, learning and unlearning, without judgment or harm, and with patience and love…to and for yourself first…
LYW: How/why did you come to Yoga? And when did you join the LiveYoga Wellness community?
Teri: I took my first yoga class in the mid-80’s at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico. That led to an occasional class, and years later to a weekly semi-private with a few friends. Yoga became a lifeline during a very stressful period in my life that included the death of my father, a diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, and the unraveling of a 10-year relationship. I turned to my yoga practice to keep balanced and grounded. The congruence of these significant life-changing events was the impetus to make the changes necessary for overall health and wellbeing. The more I deepened my practice and began teacher trainings, the more yoga brought me clarity.
After a 20+ year career in the corporate world, I returned to school in 2008 to become certified as a yoga therapist, and opened LiveYoga Wellness in May of 2010, during the second year of the four-year Yoga Therapy Rx program at Loyola Marymount University.
As “yoga” becomes more and more popularized and westernized, it’s important to note the distinction between “yoga teacher” and “yoga therapist”. There are an estimated 15,000 yoga schools and 150,000-300,000 “yoga teachers” with a minimum of 200 hours of required training. There are only 25 accredited Yoga Therapy schools and 3,500 (C-IAYT) “yoga therapists,” certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists with over 1,000 hours of required training.
LYW: How has yoga changed your life?
Teri: There are so many ways for me to answer this question… The overriding answer is completely — in small, subtle, and sustainable ways that became significant over time.
My entry into yoga was as “exercise” through the practice of asana (physical poses – movement with breath). I was in my mid-40’s, stressed, out of shape, and not flexible or bendy when I became a serious practitioner. It was extraordinary to witness the physical changes in a relatively short period of time, including weight loss, increased stamina, flexibility and strength, and a much healthier sleep cycle. In addition I found I was calmer overall and found it easier to deal with the everyday stresses of life.
I became aware that when particularly stressed, I had developed the habit of holding my breath out. It was transformational to learn about the energetics of breath and connections to emotions and body mind. I learned to recognize and become aware of patterns and began to use my breath as a tool.
Notice in your own body, when you hold your breath, is it “held in”, or “held out”. Let’s talk more about it…
Through my practice of yoga I began to make small, subtle changes that collectively over time have morphed into a much healthier lifestyle. Slowly I began to eliminate chemical toxins from cleaning and beauty products. This led me into the world of Young Living Essential Oils. Today I make most of my household cleaning products. I also host monthly gatherings to teach others about the benefits of incorporating essential oils into everyday life. Sign up for the next gathering, Monday, April 9th to learn more.
My eating habits began to shift, trading processed foods for a more plant-based diet. While not vegan, I have shifted my food choices dramatically over the years, subscribing to more of an Ayurvedvic (sister science to Yoga) approach for my food choices. Sign up for the Ayurveda and Yoga for Allergies workshop with Jeff Perlman coming up on Saturday, April 14th to learn more.
Yoga is now woven into the fabric of my lifestyle and is the underlying principle upon which everything else is built.
LYW: Why do you love teaching yoga?
Teri: I realize that while I am teaching, I’m learning, researching, testing, sharing and being present in community. There is a saying, teacher is student, student is teacher. Teaching energizes me. I always feel better after teaching, it is a gift in which I share and receive in the same experience.
As a Yoga Therapist I am privileged to serve, teach and share in many ways, including: group classes; one-on-one private and semi-private yoga therapy sessions; workshops, teacher training programs; customized programs for businesses, private groups and organizations. Being a part of an integrative healthcare team is a big part of what I do as a yoga therapist. Working with the conventional western medical healthcare system is imperative to bringing yoga therapy as a healing modality into the mainstream.
Stress and lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer are among the top causes of death today. More than anything else, research has shown a direct correlation of reduced stress as a result of a yoga practice.
Imagine having a toolbox of stress reducing tools that are unique and specific to where you are – right now. And that same toolbox can easily be accessible for any circumstance you find yourself in. That’s the power of yoga and specifically the essence of yoga therapy, an individually prescribed practice for the whole of you.
Interested in making a positive change in your life? Yoga therapy addresses the whole person as complete, not a set of diseases or symptoms that are wrong or need fixing. Think of overall wellness and healing, not specifically “curing”.
Are any one or more of the following issues in your life? Many health care providers recognize and recommend the benefits of yoga and yoga therapy to their patients. Contact me to schedule a Yoga Therapy consultation to address your specific need.
- Stamina, flexibility and strength
- Sleep issues
- Anxiety and depression
- Chronic disease
- Chronic pain
- Weight issues
- Digestive issues
- Heart disease
- Immune disorders
- Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- and more…
Examples include, but not limited to:
- Cancer Support Retreats
- Breathing techniques
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Relaxation and stress reductions techniques
- Day retreats
- Healthy Eating/Cooking
- Lifestyle choices
- Ergonomic awareness
- Overall health and wellbeing
- Balancing the energy systems of the body
- “Back Care” (or other customized yoga experience) Techniques for “surfers” (or other demographic or group)
LYW: How do you take your yoga into the world?
Teri: This is a question I ask myself everyday. How best can I further the awareness and benefits and value of yoga and yoga therapy on a broader level, and at the same time maintaining my understanding that “small is big.”
I take my yoga into the world by practicing and abiding by the basic principles of the yamas (5 principles for interacting with others) and niyamas (5 practices for relating to ourselves) and being conscious of the present moment.
I take my yoga into the world primarily by having created and established LiveYoga Wellness. Also, I am a part of the Loyola Marymount Univiersity (LMU) faculty, teaching the LMU Yoga Therapy Rx clinic internship at Simms Mann/Venice Family Clinic. And I encourage the conversation about yoga and yoga therapy at every opportunity.
I have been asked to speak at health and wellness related conferences about Yoga Therapy. Last month we presented the use of Yoga Therapy in Managing Chronic Pain and Substance Use Disorder, at a Summit of healthcare professionals hosted by Superior Health in Texas. The conversations around holistic health care centering on the overall wellness of the person are beginning to happen, and I am fortunate to be a part of them through the burgeoning field of Yoga Therapy.
LYW: What is your current practice or a recommendation and why?
Teri: My personal practice includes some combination of pranayama, meditation, asana, and journaling daily. It may be as simple as a few minutes of being aware in the moment–that’s a yoga practice–to hours of asana, meditation and pranayama.
One of my favorite practices is todasana – mountain pose, while standing in line at Trader Joe’s. Takes my mind off of the waiting, and no one knows I’m enjoying a “yoga snack” in the middle of the day!
My invitation to you is to find your yoga practice, as one of my teachers says often, ”in everything you do, everything you say and everything you think.” Be aware and open and trust yourself. You have the answers.
People come to yoga for a variety of reasons, and often stay for many more. I invite you to step inside and see for yourself…