When I was studying to become a mental health counselor, we talked a lot about “self-care.” Indeed, when we’re busy with daily responsibilities and taking care of other people, it’s critical to remember to get our own needs met in order to have the strength to continue serving. This line of thinking caused me to feel sad for the many people who have overextended themselves in life, and now feel “stuck” and unable to draw back and practice self-care. Learning to say “No” to additional demands is critical.
Young people: Be careful about taking on too many responsibilities and becoming burned out, stressed out. Many of your elders have made this mistake and are now suffering the consequences. Take your time learning about yourself and being honest about your capacities. This is not a recommendation to become lazy or complacent, but rather an invitation to be authentic about who you are, and what you can handle.
May we all remember to care for our own continuum of body/mind/spirit, to nurture ourselves with time in nature and in silence, to recharge our own inner batteries – and THEN move out joyfully into our service of others and the world.
People are sometimes curious about what makes my yoga sessions (group or private) so different from what’s typically offered at gyms or yoga studios. I guess the easy answer boils down to my extensive training and experience. Here’s a run-down:
1985 – Began teaching aerobics classes at recreation centers and gyms. This involved training in choreographing routines and perfecting the art of cueing for students to be able to follow along easily.
1987 – Earned my first national certification as a group exercise instructor from the National Dance-Exercise Instructors’ Training Association (NDEITA). This involved physical practice as well as studying and passing a written exam on anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology as related to exercise classes.
1995 – Earned national certification as a group fitness instructor from the Aerobics (now “Athletic”) and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). This involved extensive home study followed by passing in-person practical and written exams. This certification is still current, having been renewed every two years through continuing education. I went on to become an Examiner for the AFAA practical examination.
1996 – Earned national certification as a personal trainer through AFAA. I attended two separate trainings – one for the professional practice of personal training and one specifically for weight room exercises – and passed practical and written exams for both. This certification is still current, having been renewed every two years through continuing education.
1985-2000 – During this time I taught a wide variety of group exercise classes such as low impact cardio, high impact cardio, weight training, core training, Step aerobics, boot camp, interval training, and circuit training. Sometimes as many as 16 classes a week.
2000 – Attended my first 20-hour yoga teacher training (Level 1) through YogaFit. This involved learning and practicing teaching a set group of yoga poses (asanas). After this, I started teaching beginner’s yoga classes twice a week in addition to my other group classes.
2000-2011 – Continued teaching yoga along with other group fitness classes while periodically attending short yoga-related workshops and trainings such as YogaFit Level 2 and Level 3. I also “self-taught” myself yoga through reading many books and articles.
2007-2008 – Spent seven months living in a Carmelite hermitage in Wisconsin focused on a life of prayer and manual labor. I mention this here because it highlights my connection to spirituality, which is very important to me and to my teaching.
2011 – Completed my first official 200-hour yoga teacher training through Angela Phillips Yoga Center in Virginia Beach. Typically, new yoga teachers do these trainings with absolutely no experience of any kind of teaching. The only requirement to attend is a regular personal practice of yoga for about two years. So my training was built on a solid history of many years of study and teaching experience. 200-hour trainings focus not only on the physical asana practices, but also on the history and philosophy of yoga, breathing techniques, and meditation. Shortly after this training, I stopped teaching group exercise classes to focus exclusively on teaching yoga.
2017 – Completed the Yoga of Recovery training (100 hours) at Yogaville. This involved learning the traditional paths of yoga (raja, karma, bhakti, etc.) as taught in India along with 12-Step philosophy to address addictive behaviors and unhealthy habits.
2018 (winter) – Spent two months living at Yogaville working as support staff in the Living Yoga Training (LYT) program and participating in yoga classes and meditation sessions daily.
2018 (summer) – Completed the Raja Yoga teacher training (180 hours) and the Adaptive Yoga teacher training (80 hours) at Yogaville. These comprehensive trainings put me over the top for 300 hours of advanced training, allowing me to register with Yoga Alliance at the 500 hour level. E-RYT means Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher.
2019 – Earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Old Dominion University. This included working a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship at an agency in Hampton, VA serving children, adolescents, and adults. I facilitated a workshop for staff on mindfulness and meditation, and held a weekly meditation group for staff and clients.
2020 – This year, I celebrate my 20th anniversary of teaching yoga! It’s been an amazing journey so far. I’m grateful to all the wonderful teachers, especially those at Yogaville, who have guided me up until now. For me, yoga is holistic, having something to offer for everyone in attaining and maintaining health in body/mind/spirit. My training and experience allows me to meet students where they are and help them move where they want to go.
Greetings! Here are some tips if you find yourself at home every day and stuck in a monotonous schedule:
— Keep your bedtimes and rising times as consistent as possible. Make your bed in the morning to help separate nighttime from daytime.
— Eat three meals a day and limit snacking to avoid weight gain. Choose set meal times that work for you. Example: 8:00AM breakfast, 12:30PM lunch, 6:00PM dinner. If you have trouble with snacking, ask yourself if you’re trying to keep your hands occupied. If so, try writing or drawing. If it’s the mouth/tongue that wants to stay busy, try chewing sugarless gum or sucking on ice cubes.
— Get some fresh air and sunshine every day. Perhaps take a walk or do yard work.
— Get exercise every day, either indoors or outdoors. Walking, stretching, and yoga can be done every day. Household chores such as sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting can provide good exercise too.
— Limit TV as it tends to numb the mind. Instead try reading books or doing crossword puzzles.
— Cultivate your spiritual life with prayer, meditation, and/or chanting.
— Explore your creativity with writing poetry or stories, singing, dancing, painting or other activities.
— Call (rather than texting) a friend. If you just need some human connection, reach out and chat!
Take good care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Namaste….
Together, in this ongoing, weekly one-hour group, we will explore topics each week from Yoga of Recovery and from The Yoga Sutras on ways to keep ourselves healthy and well-balanced, especially in mental/emotional realms.
The group will meet at my office:
Integrated Healing Solutions
250 W. Brambleton Ave., Suite 101
Norfolk, VA 23510
When: Tuesdays, 5:30-6:30PM (Sept. 17th – Oct. 22nd)
Cost: donation based
I just received this message a few days ago from a former Old Dominion University student. Reminds me how blessed I am to be changing people’s lives through the teachings and practices of Yoga. Sometimes the seeds of the teachings sprout immediately, and sometimes it takes a while. But that’s okay! It’s never too late as long as we’re alive!
“Hi Lisa, It’s been a while and I wanted to share some great news. I FINALLY started yoga teacher training after all these years. I wanted to thank you, because taking your class back in 2013 at ODU is when I feel I truly discovered yoga and adopted it as a lifestyle, not just the asanas. I also wanted to thank you for all the readings and philosophy you taught me. My practice and the eight limbs of yoga have gotten me through some tough times and taught me how to let go. It’s truly amazing how therapeutic yoga is and although I am trying to remove any expectations from this experience, I do hope to continue sharing my practice with others. If I can change someone’s life the way you and your class changed mine, that will be more than enough fulfillment. Namaste”