The Story behind Yoga By Water

I started canoeing with my parents at a young age. My dad grew up in Wichita, KS and my mom is from a small farm town in rural Missouri, so they were just figuring whitewater out with trial and error. My siblings and I were lucky enough to be along for the ride. Turns out paddling together is a great family activity.

During and after college I worked as a river guide in some beautiful places with amazing people. Eventually I settled down in what felt like the perfect place: West Virginia. I taught high school language arts. I trained as a yoga teacher. I worked at a marketing firm.

At some point, the itch of traveling and guiding rivers came back to me. I started guiding again, and as I came back to it, I also dove deeper into my yoga practice, adding ayurveda, reiki, and eventually shamanism. I lived at the Kripalu Yoga Institute for six months immersed in a powerful yoga community. I started training with Libby Barnet of the Reiki Healing Connection. I kept guiding, teaching yoga, and eventually became a Reiki Master of Masters Teacher.

While guiding the Colorado River, I got this little idea and I started building on it: Yoga By Water.

Deep between the Canyon walls for weeks at a time, I had the chance to watch water’s transformative power on myself, my guiding companions, and our river guests. I started consciously speaking the river’s language in yoga terms, teaching classes on beaches and in slot canyons, practicing high-adventure headstand challenges, holding impromptu meditation classes as the canyon’s walls drifted by.

Teaching yoga and giving reiki in Grand Canyon has helped me return to being a student again. It has reminded me to return to the learner’s mind, to walk quietly and listen more closely. With each step I am learning from earth’s contours of sand and soil; from the flow of the river through long quiet bits and thunderous wild bits; from the rain storms, windy days, and clear night skies. Most of all, I learn through my guests whose fresh perspectives constantly remind me to be open to the Canyon’s lessons.

Water has been one of my most powerful lifelong teachers, starting with those family canoe trips when my parents were just figuring everything out. I return again and again to how laws of fluid dynamics and the neurolinguistic programming of water relate to body, mind and spirit.

Turns out, boating is a great way to get to know myself. In my yoga classes and reiki practice, I share water’s language as it pertains to our bodies. On the river, my practice goes beyond the language of water to its full power, always proceeding as the way opens, along the path of least resistance…