The Living Yoga Blog

National Volunteer Appreciation Month: Barb Stroud

MSH July 05

April is National Volunteer Month, and since we have 200 ACTIVE volunteers, this is an exciting month for us! In celebration, we are highlighting our volunteers and humbly bow to their service to Living Yoga.

Next up, Barb Stroud! Barb Stroud has been volunteering with Living Yoga for about three years and is currently teaching at Multnomah County Assessment & Evaluation, a short term residential program for teen girls. Her thoughts on volunteering with Living Yoga:

"When a friend of mine was incarcerated about 5 years ago, I felt a need to do something.  I'd heard of Living Yoga through one of my yoga instructors and then found out that Living Yoga volunteers taught yoga to people in rehab or prisons. As I'd never taught before, the idea of "sharing" my practice allowed me to feel more comfortable with the role. After practicing for some 30 years, I am now a volunteer teacher and it is wonderful to observe how yoga can make a difference in people's lives."

Barb, on behalf of all of us at Living Yoga, THANK YOU for your service. You are a delight to work with!

National Volunteer Appreciation Month: Karen Leib

karenApril is National Volunteer Month, and since we have 200 ACTIVE volunteers, this is an exciting month for us! In celebration, we are highlighting our volunteers and humbly bow at their service to Living Yoga.

Next up, Karen Leib! Karen Leib is one of our amazing board members who oversees our annual Gala, as well as a volunteer teacher at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. 

Here is what Karen says about her service to Living Yoga:

Since yoga is such a large component of my life, I wanted to give back to the community. Being on the Living Yoga board, teaching yoga in the correctional facility, and fundraising are all enriching and rewarding for me. I enjoy witnessing the positive and transformative benefits that yoga brings to the students and being an integral part of their growth. It's wonderful working alongside my fellow board members and staff, with all of us aspiring toward our common goal. This experience has broadened my sense of involvement with the Portland yoga community, and I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Thank you for your service, Karen!

National Volunteer Appreciation Month: Paul Cheek

paul cheek

April is National Volunteer Month, and since we have 200 ACTIVE volunteers, this is an exciting month for us! In celebration, we are highlighting our volunteers and humbly bow at their service to Living Yoga. First up, Paul Cheek!

Here is what he says about his service to Living Yoga:

"I teach at the Columbia River Correctional Institute in the true spirit of Yoga. The goals of Yoga are to still the fluctuations of the mind, to discover our true nature, and to move from a selfish state to a selfless state. I teach these concepts in such a way that the students can experience the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physiological impact through the many practices of Yoga. The practices of Yoga can then empower them to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. My goal is to teach them how to practice, to provide them with a well-grounded understanding of the philosophy of Yoga and to help them develop their characters so that when they leave the Institute they have more tools to help guide them in living a purposeful and meaningful life."

Namaste To Our Volunteers

April is National Volunteer Month and we want to celebrate our volunteers ALL. MONTH. LONG. Stay tuned for some exciting volunteer features. Thank you all so much for dedicating your time and energy to better our community. We are filled with gratitude for your service to Living Yoga. 



girlLast week during a youth class at Trillium Family Services, I guided the students to the wall to have support for the balance poses. I offered multiple options and levels and encouraged them to use the wall, stumble, laugh, and play. 

One of the students remarked, "I like yoga because there are so many ways to do poses, I never have to feel like I can't do it." She went on to explain that she was raised doing ballet where there was always an exact position you had to be in for it to be successful. 

I left class thinking about what she said and feeling so much gratitude for the practice of yoga, and for Living Yoga for understanding what our students need, and preparing us for these needs. 

Raising Money through Passion- Yogathon Edition!



Monique was the top fundraiser of the 2015 Yogathon. We asked her how she did it (note: it's SO cool), if she's doing it again, and what advice she has for the rest of us. Read on!

How did you become involved with Living Yoga and Yogathon?

I became aware of Living Yoga in 2013 after seeing information for the Yogathon posted at Yoga Pearl. I had been looking for a way to connect more with the local yoga community beyond studio classes and was inspired by the mission of the organization.  

As Living Yoga's top individual Yogathon fundraiser in 2015, what were your keys to success?  

I decided to use my love of cooking to bring awareness and support to the organization and their work. I offered a few ways for people to donate and set an accessible minimum donation level for each one, which in most cases was exceeded. My fundraising activities included two dinner parties, personal tortilla making lessons, and auction events that offered my services as a personal chef for small private dinners. I also shared my connection to Living Yoga’s mission, which to my surprise had strangers and acquaintances on Facebook donating up to $500. Last and definitely not least, I owe a lot to my friends and husband who supported me in whatever way they could, some with money and others with time helping with the dinners. One friend generously offered their home as the location for two of the auctioned events. Ultimately, people love food and I found this was a great way to bring people together to open hearts and wallets for a good cause.

Read more ...

I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman!

Sue Aicher, volunteer teacher and Vice President of our Board of Directors, shares a fun experience while teaching at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility on Tuesday, International Women's Day. Thank you, Sue!

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Deep Energy of Support

supportLong time volunteer, Kasey Stewart teaches at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility on Thursday evenings. Last week she shared this small glimpse into what it's like to guide these women through their yoga practice:

18 women joined me at Coffee Creek Minimum last night. As we checked in, a number of exciting milestones came to light. One woman shared that she had been awarded her GED the day prior, one was celebrating 18 years of marriage on that very day, and another was thrilled to have been accepted into the treatment program, which meant moving into a living situation that would be much more supportive of her goals. I saw a light come on in each of them as they were speaking and felt so touched by the spontaneous round of applause that followed our check-in, in recognition of these accomplishments. I felt a deep energy of support in the room. Of unity. Such a heartening expression of empathy for others' successes, even in that tough environment. I was reminded how resilient these women are and that many of them do have other lives they will get to return to someday. They are in process, as we all are. Sweet stuff!

Kasey, thank you for sharing this story and sharing your time with these women!

Open Hearts


"I have been thinking a lot about what makes our classes successful. What we teach is not important but what we create when we teach is essential.

If we can extend the felt sense of, "I see you, I love you, you belong" we can open hearts, offer hope, and support change."

-Liz Eisman (Living Yoga Teacher Trainer)

Stressed at work? Tap into Mindfulness!

picOne of our volunteers and great supporters, Suzanne Bigelow, recently wrote this article for the Huffington Post. You can check it out on their site HERE. On March 4th, Suzanne is leading a workshop "Working with Mindfulness and Intention" to benefit Living Yoga. The half day workshop will take you through brain basics of the neruosceince of mindfulness and teach you ways to bring it into your workplace/home life. You can sign up or get more information HERE!


"Wow! That was great!"

Even under the glare of fluorescent conference room lighting, the 50-year-old manager's eyes were wide with surprise. "I totally felt my body settle... and then I felt the guy next to me calming!" In under 2 minutes, a complete newbie had discovered the innate capacity to shift mind and body.

Exercises like these make a powerful point: Not every mindfulness practice takes hours in a dark meditation room. In fact, both research and experience are proving that outside these short, "on the go" practices can be very sweetly effective all on their own.

Having used short-pause practices to manage chronic pain for years, I know firsthand what yoga practitioners have known for hundreds of years: that a few mindful breaths can harmonize the physical and shift the mental. Now, at last, the mindfulness community is looking at quick "on the go" mind-body practices as something more than ongoing support after formal training. There is a new training format on the horizon, and it doesn't come in 8 weeks of hourly training and 20 minutes a day of seated practice.

Read more ...


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