Meet Mikela, our Studio Collective Assistant Director as she shares her yoga journey and her experience being part of the Yoga District community!
“And I said to my body, softly, ‘I want to be your friend.’ It took a long breath and replied, ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.’” -Nayyirah Waheed
How long have you served the Yoga District community?
In October 2016, I started as an intern at 14th street making it’s only a little over a year since I’ve been part of the YD community.
How did you come to your administrative role at Yoga District?
I discovered yoga in February 2016 at a gym. After several months of gym yoga, it felt as if something was missing from my practice. I soon ditched the weights and was on a mission to find a more familial and warm setting to develop my practice. For several months, I visited numerous yoga studios all with different vibes, missions, and values.
Finding Yoga District
As a woman of color, it was essential to me to find a studio with a diverse student, teacher, and class demographic. I wanted to feel safe and welcomed despite my skin color, hair texture or which yoga pants I was wearing. Also, as special education teacher, it was important that I found a studio that was affordable. After taking a few drop-in classes at Yoga District, I was introduced to the work-study program. Eventually, the perfect position opened up at 14th street studio as a deep clean intern. Of course, I took the opportunity with YD and I never turned back.
During this time, I was focusing on deepening my yoga practice but I was also beginning to have doubts about my career. Again, it was that feeling of incompleteness and sadness I had felt previously. In March 2017, I decided to quit my job as a teacher with absolutely no plan or money. However, I did know that this thing called yoga had changed my life opening up this catalyst of curiosity, adventure and also stillness that I didn’t know I possessed.
Working for Yoga District
In May, I started my yoga teacher training where I met many amazing YD teachers, including Jasmine. I don’t actually remember how the conversation came up, but I imagine I mentioned to Jasmine how I quit my job and the conversation ended with Jasmine saying, “I have an idea.” Soon after that conversation, I started managing the 14th street studio and slowly, I took on other administrative duties. Some days, I ask myself the same question, “How did I get here? How did I come to this role?”. I like to think everything happens exactly how it’s supposed to happen.
How has working with the administrative details at Yoga District nurtured, challenged, and transformed you?
Working at Yoga District
Even in this short time, this role has transformed me physically and mentally. I would not trade it for anything despite some of its challenging obstacles. This community is beautiful. I can’t keep track of how many times a YD teacher or student has offered me kind words, a hug or even a smile. It’s truly inspiring to be part of a community that picks each other up and is so filled with love.
It’s easy as an administrator to become consumed in the work and forgot why I’m here. After a particularly long day, the last thing I want is to go
to the studio and practice. I could easily say to myself, “I just wrote all these emails about yoga. I don’t want to actually go do the yoga now.” The most important thing this role has taught me is that my yoga practice (asana, meditation, and ahimsa) is so much bigger than me. Being so close to the practice has allowed me time for personal self-reflection and a shift in perspective that I had never encountered before.
Working for Yoga District
From a more administrative standpoint, this role has also reinforced the ideas of time management and organization. My ability to take care of myself and to create a self-care routine that also includes non-asana activities has improved tremendously. I learned to practice compassion towards people and myself. Although it’s not always perfect, my ability to communicate and interact with others continues to grow. From a more personal perspective, I believe Yoga District has become a place I can channel my passion and love. Growing up, I wasn’t able or even allowed at times to express myself. Yoga District has been a place where I feel safe enough to share all this love and creativity that I’ve been wanting to give but never knew how. I am so grateful everyday for my YD team and family.
What is your favorite thing to do around town?
I love acroyoga/partner yoga. With nice weather, you can usually find me around Malcom X Park hanging upside down with friends listening to the drum circle.
What is your favorite thing to do?
What a challenging question! There’s no one answer to this but if I had to pick then it would be lying outside quietly on a warm and sunny day.
If you had to describe your life in the form of a yoga pose, which pose would it be?
I LOVE being upside down so I’d have to choose headstand. Besides it being my favorite pose, it’s one of the only poses that I feel calm and still. There is something childlike about being upside down in any posture and it’s a nice reminder to not take life so seriously. Sometimes balance in life, just like in a headstand, can be challenging but once you find that sweet spot then you never want to come down. And sometimes you fall and that’s okay.
For me, inversions symbolize freedom adventure and a different perspective on life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself forever being a student. I’m finishing up my training in massage therapy and eventually, I’d like to get a Masters in Acupuncture and in Yoga Therapy. I’d like to finish up my children’s yoga training and eventually take on a 500 hour training program. Do you think I can finish all of that in 10 years? I’m envisioning a future in which I can not only share all of these things that have transformed my life with others but also make them affordable and accessible. I have a lot of work to do.