Connect with Elle:
Dear Root River Students,
I'm so honored Amanda has asked me to offer a class through Root River! I remember when Amanda was just beginning her Root River yoga classes and am so impressed with how much your communities have embraced yoga. I have always been inspired by Amanda's vision of making yoga accessible to everybody. After getting to know some of you when I subbed for Amanda, I was thrilled to be asked to teach an ongoing class.
I also want to say that I know what it is like to lose a beloved teacher, and I have been thinking about what you must be feeling — especially those of you for whom Amanda has been your first and only teacher. While her guidance and inspiration will always be with you, I imagine many of you are feeling the heaviness of losing the opportunity to practice with her on a weekly basis. Please know, you are in my heart and on my mind.
My physical yoga practice grew out of my meditation practice. In 2002, after a year of personal watershed and loss, I needed the support of a physical practice as well as daily meditation. I found a form of yoga that emphasized movement and breath and it was a life saver. It wasn't my intention to teach — I considered myself a non-athletic nerd who wasn't strong enough or flexible enough to be able to teach others. Yoga was also intensely personal for me as I needed it for personal healing.
When the YMCA in Winona needed another yoga teacher in 2008, the athletic director, who knew I led meditation circles, asked me to consider teaching. After a lot of soul searching I agreed. Since then I have completed my 200 hours of training in Vinyasa yoga, which included yoga for back care, prenatal yoga, and yoga for seniors. I have worked for two wellness centers and currently manage Infinity Yoga Studio in Winona, a part of Infinity Wellness Clinic.
Over the last few years my practice deepened again when I discovered Forrest Yoga. Jen Bayer and I first met when she came to classes at Infinity, I was immediately drawn to her warmth and strong sunny attitude. As fate would have it, she was looking for a place to teach, and we had just lost a teacher. Jen built our Forrest Yoga community in Winona through her research on Forrest Yoga and chronic pain. Though all of the results are not in yet, many of the participants in her studies were so helped by her classes that they continue to practice multiple times a week.
On a personal level, Forrest challenged me in many different ways, ultimately changing how I saw myself: namely my beliefs about not being physically strong. When Jen moved to Washington state to pursue her career and return to her family, the community helped me fund advanced teacher training in Forrest Yoga so that they could continue their practice.
I was prepared for the training to be physically intense and emotionally demanding, but what surprised me the most was how much younger I was than most of the participants. At 43, I assumed the other participants would be younger than I am and more athletic. Instead I was inspired by how strong I could be in 15 or 20 years if I keep up my practice!
In my own teaching I strive to balance accessibility with challenge, and to create an environment conducive to growth, both as yogis and as individuals. You can expect an emphasis on taking care of shoulders, wrists, neck, and developing core strength. You'll encounter poses that you are familiar with and some Forrest-specific poses that will definitely be new to you. As I get to know you as a class and learn more about you, I'll be creating specific classes to cater to your needs and your personal goals for your practice.
I look forward to seeing you the mat! Please feel free to reach out with additional questions.
"We crave and need challenge, adventure, and a daily diet of delight." ~Ana Forrest