This posting is the first in a series of introductions to the stories behind the names and faces that make up Street Yoga.  We’re honored to walk alongside these great public servants, and proud to introduce them to the greater Street Yoga family.  We hope you enjoy hearing more about who they are and what draws them to Street Yoga’s vision for young people in all of life’s circumstances to have access to yoga, overcome trauma, and live healthy, meaningful lives.


Heather pic

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m an East coast raised, Midwest educated yogi who now, calls the Pacific Northwest my home.  I teach yoga full-time to adults and children, additionally I’m a smother (step-mother), pooper-scooper, wander-luster and laid-back hustler (when you own your own business, it’s all about taking steps in ways authentic to you, to generate business!).  My professional upbringing and 17yrs of my life was spent with the great Northwest retailer, Nordstrom.

 

What drew you to Street Yoga?

In May 2010, I was drawn to a Street Yoga weekend training that offered skills to connect yoga to youth facing adversity. Immediately, it appealed to me because I LOVED the idea of stretching the image of yoga beyond a active wear advertisement to making it accessible as a healing modality.   I decided to commit my time and energy to this mission because I believe in yoga, meditation, and mindful breathing as personal tools to cope in healthy ways with of the stressors of life.  Bolstering the ‘tool belts’ for youth facing adversity is a service I want to support.

After taking the weekend training, honestly, I was fearful of what I would encounter teaching a Street Yoga class.  I felt insecure that I didn’t have a mental health counseling license, previous experience in the social services realm or a history of teaching to young people.

In 2012 I got up the courage to volunteer with one of Street Yoga’s program sites–teen boys in treatment for chemical dependency.  I volunteered for 1.5 years at Ryther Child Center with two different populations, the second being a younger mixed-gender group ages 6-12yrs removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.  Both experiences were AMAZING and I’m honored to have had that time with those groups.

I had to shelve any traditional thoughts about a yoga class (thanks to Street Yoga training!) and just BE engaged in each session with those groups.  Each class was completely different, I had to meet the groups’ energy where they were and I had absolutely no idea what I would encounter from one week to the next.  These sessions certainly taught me a lot about relinquishing control of any agenda and to ‘go with the flow’ and have my personal tool belt stocked with a variety of offerings.

 

What have been your roles at Street Yoga and what is your current position?

In addition to teaching, in 2013, the Seattle Street Yoga team approached me to serve the Seattle branch in a strategic role and to sit on the Steering Committee.  Throughout that year, I supported the branch by bringing event planning, marketing and outreach to Street Yoga Seattle.  When Street Yoga’s Headquarters moved to Seattle in October 2014, I was appointed as a Board Member and now serve on the Executive Committee as Board Secretary.

 

What is your dream for Street Yoga?

My dream for Street Yoga in 2015 is to witness the organization grow its donor base, develop solid processes with program sites, strengthen relationships with yoga studios as well as leverage partnerships with other youth-focused social services so that with a HQ in Seattle, this wonderful organization can take its mission, trainings and service to the next level.