If you’ve ever had the honor of practicing next to Donna, you know that her incredibly strong and deeply heartfelt practice is inspiring. The power of her breath on the mat next to mine has carried me through more than one challenging practice!
As an experienced massage therapist, Donna knows the importance of self-care, mindfulness, and balance: intelligence she uses both on and off her mat.
Sometimes it’s hard to put into words the profound affects yoga can have on your life, but Donna does it beautifully. Here is what she had to say:
How would you describe yourself as a yogi?:
I am a grateful yogi. Yoga has saved my body mind and spirit. It has allowed me to remain comfortable in my own skin and accept my aging process with some grace.
How did you find yoga? What was the inspiration?:
Two very good friends of mine started doing yoga long before I did. They kept telling me how wonderful it was. Every time we would vacation together they would take me to a yoga class. I'd say "that was great. I'm going to find a class at home." But I didn't do it. This went on for a number of years. Then my mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness and I was devastated emotionally and spiritually. I started going to a yoga class on a Sunday morning. I found solace there. It was like my church. I could be with my unsettled emotions in a peaceful place without words. Many a savasana was spent quietly letting the tears fall. I learned to breathe and hold a space that was so very uncomfortable. But I also had peace. I’ve been practicing yoga ever since. That was almost 18 years ago. Its been an amazing journey of discovery.
Describe an interesting fact about yourself:
Let's see...I have climbed the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. Mount Whitney at 14,495 ft elevation in one day no less! The second time I did it we got lost and had to stay on the trail over night with no sleeping gear. Those were amazing experiences. Not wacky though. I like to laugh so hard I almost pee my pants. Now that is wacky fun!
If you were a yoga pose, which one would you be?:
Exalted warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana). I feel like I can do and be anything when I am in that pose. Strong.
What is your FAVORITE yoga pose? Why?:
Dancer pose (Natarajasana) because I like standing balance poses. I feel like I could take off and fly in that pose. I have lots of favorites. Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is another favorite. It is a resting pose for me and I feel like I could stay in it forever. Inversion without effort.
How does your practice fit into your everyday life?:
Yoga has taught me how to breathe, how to stay present even when I'd rather not, how to be integrated in body, mind and spirit and to recognize when I'm not. It's taught me to be kind and compassionate toward myself so that I can be kind and compassionate toward others. Yoga has given me space to be an imperfect human being in a imperfect world and be at peace. I am a better person in my everyday life because of yoga.
What's your favorite aspect of Yoga Vie?:
The sense of community I feel at Yoga Vie. I feel at home.
What advice would you offer to a yoga novice?:
Like Joy reminds us all the time. The breath is the most important aspect of any pose. Not how you well you do the pose, not how long you hold the pose, or how you get into the pose even though that is important, but "are you breathing?" I hope I always remain a novice so I can keep learning.