We’re honored to have Paula Palermo as part of our yoga studio community. This September, Paula is our student of the month. Here’s a little about why we think she’s so special. Paula participated in the interview we conducted below, to get to know her better. Thank you Paula for being you!

1.  How long have you been practicing yoga?

I have been practicing yoga for 20 years.  My journey began when I was expecting my first baby.  I took a prenatal yoga class which focused not only on physical strength, but also on the breath and body connection. We participated in meditation and visualization exercises in which we consciously used the breath to prepare for natural (or not!) childbirth.  I was amazed at how the power of something so simple was so instrumental in helping me with the birthing process.  I continued to explore more through classes I took with my infant son, this practice very early on, showed me how truly transformative and empowering yoga can be.

2.  Why do you practice yoga?

This answer has changed for me over time.  I fell out of practice for several years when raising kids and rediscovered the practice when moving through some significant and painful changes in my life.  Yoga became a respite and a way to connect with my true inner self.  As my life got back on track I developed a very strong physical practice, but lost some of my earlier connection to the spiritual and energetic aspects of the practice.  With maturity, and the decision to become a certified instructor I can say that my practice today goes much further than simply a “workout”.  I strive to use yoga throughout my day, not just on the mat, and I enjoy sharing the benefits of the practice now with others in my community.  As I grow older, my practice changes but that’s okay, I’m always discovering new things about myself, others and the greater universe as a result of my yoga practice.

3.  Why is Laughing River Yoga your studio of choice?

Laughing River reflects the community at large, all ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ability levels are welcomed and celebrated.  LRY provides a balance of classes and is more in tune with my wholistic approach to yoga, it is something to be nurtured and practiced off the mat as well as on.  It is a judgement free zone, and the focus on equanimity helps me to maintain a healthy balance in my life.  LRY nurtures me.

4.  What do you do when you’re not doing yoga?

Wow, lots!  I teach fourth grade but I don’t stop there!  I love being with my two kids, 16 and 18 years old, and traveling, hiking, zen tangling, cooking, reading and spending time outdoors during all seasons.  I’m a pug person too, I’ve got two cuties who require lots of my attention.

5.  What is your favorite hobby, food, or art?

Besides yoga my favorite hobby is breathing fresh air and being outdoors!  I also enjoy being a vegetarian, although pizza prohibits me from becoming fully vegan.  I just can’t give it up ever!

6.  How has the LRY YTT impacted you?

I had enrolled in LRY YTT to deepen my practice, and of course I believed I would never teach.  Wrong!  I love teaching my colleagues and the greater community at large.  I cannot tell you how positive an impact teaching my fellow teachers has been.  We have developed such positive, supportive relationships as a result.  Communication is better between those who participate and I can’t help but feel that this has positive impacts on the children we serve. Providing this service to my fellow teachers has been so humbling and inspiring to me, I’m grateful for my YTT Teacher Training beyond what I ever had imagined for myself.