Our March Student of the Month is yoga lover, Lisa Milner. Although she has only been practicing a short time, her dedication to her practice is strong. You can find her around the studio multiple days a week, even arriving early as she is eager to learn and lend a hand folding towels. Lisa’s love for our community is apparent in her offerings. She regularly donates clothing to Zen & Now and time at our monthly service projects. We are truly glad that you have found us Lisa! To find out more about Lisa, read on…
My favorite pose is the waterfall pose. I have feet issues and it feels so cleansing and gives me happy feet. Also love twists. I have so many challenging poses, as I have sensitive wrists and knees, but I’m working on it. In the colder weather, I enjoy afternoon practice at ACY. I love yoga so much I have made a yoga room in my home and like to practice in the early evenings. Wendy always encourages us to practice at home. I can say yoga has changed my life. These are very troubled times and it pains me greatly to see how events are unfolding in our country and in so many places around the world. Yoga and community and service to others help me cope with all of the cacophony.
I haven’t read enough to say I have a favorite yoga book yet. Three words that I would use to describe myself are compassionate, introverted, nature lover (OK, that’s four words). I’m not aware of a recurring theme running throughout my practice, but I will start to pay attention to this aspect. There are several practices that have helped me, but my goal this year is to work on strengthening my core and my upper arms and legs. A few weeks ago our teacher Darleen Benson had Luna Ray and Krishna Das on her playlist in her Integrative Yoga practice. I liked it so much and will be listening to them. Also love ‘Shamanic Dream’ by Anugama that I discovered from our teacher Elena Mansour. Currently my mantra is ‘No mud, no lotus’ from Thich Nhat Hahn. No darkness, no light. No suffering, no understanding and compassion. I recently read a beautiful statement: “Our hearts break open so the light can get in.”
My other passion besides yoga is gardening. I was the caregiver for my mother for many years. I worked in the early years, but had to stop when her health required more attention. Then I started working in our yard and gradually it transformed into a place of peace and serenity. The birds found refuge and sustenance and watching them and caring for them gives me great joy to this day. My mother loved to sit outside with our pets and she told our neighbors on many occasions that it was one of the happiest times in her life. Being there for her was the most challenging, but meaningful experience of my life. She was able to die peacefully at home.
I found Asheville Community Yoga through my next-door neighbor, J.R. Smith. He stopped in one day last June and met Wendy Lantis. He had a great conversation with her, called me when he got home, and said “We are going to yoga!” I don’t mess with him, so I said I was on board. How lucky I am that we are neighbors, and friends.
I had no idea what my spirit animal is, so I searched several websites, took four quizzes, and read about this Native American tradition. Three of the four quizzes had the same result – the snake. That didn’t exactly thrill me, as I am timid around snakes, but reading about them, it made sense to me. Just as a snake sheds its skin, we shed layers that are no longer serving us. The snake symbolizes life changes, transformation and healing. In Greek mythology, Aesclepius, the god of medicine, is featured with two snakes climbing up a rod, the symbol of what is known today as the Caduceus. This animal is typically close to the ground and can remind me of staying grounded as I move through changes.
My most embarrassing moment happened a few weeks ago. I was in Elena’s Anxiety-Releasing practice, and there was a man behind me who was new to yoga. He was having difficulty doing some of the poses, so Elena would go sit beside him and illustrate the pose and how he could modify it. After practice, Elena said to me “Did you know that your leggings aren’t opaque?” I said “What?” She said “You can see through them.” Lesson: don’t buy $5.99 leggings at the local drug store.
Lisa, thank you so much for sharing about your life, and for giving us a great laugh with your embarrassing moment. Thank you for your dedication to this place- so much that you will take four online quizzes to figure out your spirit animal :). You are a treasure and a treat. Say hi to Lisa if you see her around!