I started doing yoga about four years ago, I guess you could say yoga found me. I was in a bit of a transition with my daughter’s care and needs at the time; I believe I intuitively knew I needed something to ground me. Four years later, I use yoga as a go-to tool for my physical and emotional well-being. It’s been a healing practice that has saved me in times of what seems like unmanageable stress.
I’ve now been through several phases with my yoga practice and, I can proudly say, I finally feel good about where I am. I did go through the oh-so-common phase of trying to be REALLY good at yoga. I would tell myself, “I’m going to perfect my yoga practice, I will achieve wheel pose if it kills me.” Hmmm… guess what, no I won’t. Wheel pose is not meant for a body like mine. Backbends aren’t my thing. I humbly discovered I had it all wrong.
Yoga isn’t about being good at it; it’s about being present.
Yoga & My Family
About a year ago, I started to wonder if yoga could not only benefit me but also my family. As I began my research, I serendipitously became connected to Athea Davis with Solsense Yoga. She is truly a special soul. She is full of joy, light and her motto is “have an awesome sauce day!” Yet even with all that energy and happiness, Athea exudes an almost Buddha-like calmness.
She has been the perfect fit for my family. Most Saturday mornings when Athea arrives, there are two barking dogs, a 12-year-old daughter screaming “I’m too tired to do yoga!”, and two or three teenage boys barreling down our stairs. Yet, Athea always graciously walks in and simply says, “Who wants to do some yoga with me?” And, in her Zen-like way, says, “Whoever shows up is who’s supposed to be there.”
Every Saturday looks a little different with our family. Whether it’s just me or my entire family, I have found one consistency throughout this past year working with Athea; her total and complete love and acceptance of my family. For that, I am eternally grateful. Thank you Athea.
Enjoy reading about Athea. She has changed my life and many others through the work she does bringing mindfulness tools to so many in need.
- What led you to choose yoga as a profession?
Athea: I often question if I chose yoga as a profession or if it chose me. My journey into teaching yoga felt like a very fluid and organic process. Before I started teaching yoga, I was at the top of my career in the corporate legal world. I was married for over ten years. I was enjoying motherhood. Yet, I felt very stuck and heavy in the life I was living. Something felt inauthentic about it all. I kept listening to this internal messenger and finally took a stand to live life as authentically as possible.
That meant leaving my marriage and embracing whole-heartedly the unpredictability of that dissolution. No marriage dissolution is easy. However, I would be remiss to not say, in addition to dissolving my marriage, I also came face-to-face with the reality that my former spouse was an alcoholic and suffered from depression. This entire process set me into a tailspin of unfathomable pain. So, I took my first yoga class. I felt an authenticity that I had never experienced. I had a teacher ask me if I ever thought about teaching because she felt I would be a natural. Now, with Sol Sense Yoga, I teach in schools, work with youth and families, create and lead professional development offerings for educators, create and lead workshops, lead trainings for burgeoning teachers and camp counselors, write, speak, and mentor youth in the juvenile justice system. I call it spreading the awesomesauce!
- What led you to start Sol Sense Yoga?
I desired authorship and creative license. I had a vision of what yoga can offer for those that wanted a deeper experience and intuited a need and hunger from those around me for something more personal and intimate than what was being offered in a typical gym or studio type class. There’s nothing wrong with those types of offerings, they serve an important purpose, but for me personally, I had a desire to dig deeper into this thing called yoga with others, especially as it relates to taking yoga off the mat. I had a vision of offering a safe space where relationships hold the possibility to be built from a place of authenticity, love, and worth. Sol Sense Yoga isn’t just a health and wellness consulting business; it’s an embodiment of healing and connection. I infuse that vision into everything I do and every person I have the honor to connect with.
- In your opinion, what are the biggest health benefits of yoga?
Focus. Sustained concentration. Awareness. Emotional Self-Regulation. Connectedness. Wholeness. Love. Those words pretty much sum it up, and in no order. Those are the things that not only help us manage our elevated levels of stress, intense emotion, trauma, grief, and the pain and suffering we all experience in this beautiful journey of life, but they also hold the key to authentic living. Yoga has the power to heal from the inside out.
- What is your favorite part of teaching yoga to Elaine’s family?
I love the laughter, the intimacy, and the realness with everyone (including the sweet “Buddha” dogs!). And, I value our Dharma Talks, or, in non-yogi speak, our philosophical conversations about how to live the most authentic and elevated life possible, both personally and professionally. Also, we are not in a studio or a school with a set of rules and etiquette to follow, which are necessary and wonderful things to have in that environment.
- What is your advice for people who have never tried yoga?
Get out there and do it. There’s a lot of information out there and keep in mind that there is a time and place for research. It doesn’t matter what variety you try, keep it simple and easy. Simple and easy varies from person to person. Maybe for you simple and easy means going to a community yoga class at your local gym, your neighborhood yoga studio, perhaps there’s a free class at a community event, or you download or live stream a class and try it in your own home. The access and opportunities are there, which is great, but they can be a bit overwhelming. Make it simple and easy. Commit to having the experience. Don’t worry about shopping around for the right kind of experience. Your experiences on the mat will lead you to the next steps and the next right place at the right time.
To learn more about Athea Davis and Sol Sense Yoga, visit her website.