UPLIFT Teen Yoga Program Mentor Lena Parker is motivated by compassion, learns a lot from being mentor, and appreciates receiving advice from the teens in the program. Join her and the rest of the UPLIFT Mentors at the upcoming Fall Equinox YOGA BASH on September 21.
What brought you to yoga?
I started yoga after ending a 17-year-long career in classical ballet. I was looking for something to fill my deep urge to move. Initially, I connected to the physical aspect of the practice. During teacher training, I slowly understood the beauty of the spiritual side of yoga.
What keeps you motivated in your practice?
Compassion is a great motivator. I practice loving compassion when my yoga practice takes a different form. Sometimes the physical practice is what I need, sometimes it is not. It took many years to be okay with who I am in the moment, and to let go of my personal expectations. Surprisingly, the more compassionate I am towards myself, the more I want to practice.
What do you learn from being a mentor?
Teens are wise and smart! Often, adults discount teens and their opinions. I am honored to give teens a space to let their feelings and thoughts be valid. The issues teens face are real. I can tell that they are empowered when their words are truly heard. Deep listening and heartfelt compassion are the ways to uplift the next generation.
Do you have any stories to share?
Yes! During the retreat, I opened up and shared a painful issue I had been working through. Twelve teens and two mentors practiced compassion, openness, and acceptance for my tribulation. One of my 13-year-old girls gave me incredibly sage advice that I truly appreciated. I learned that every perspective is valuable and that vulnerability provides the clarity and power to leap over difficult obstacles.
What do you learn from the other mentors?
I worked very closely with Kelsey during our eight-week program in Irvine. She has a unique ability to explain deep, broad concepts so that concepts that I did not understand until I was 20 were easily digested by much younger teens. It was a pleasure to be able to be present for her deep rooted wisdom. Camilla is simply a light and writes the best, most vivid, awe-inspiring meditations, and I am deeply grateful for her support. Erica taught me a great deal about trust and surrender. Her organization is making huge changes in people’s lives because of trust and surrender.
What do you tell people when they say that they’re thinking about trying a yoga practice but they’re not sure where to begin?
I love hearing that because there are so many opportunities out there to try yoga. I would turn them to a yoga studio that offers a free risk-free week, or a donation-based yoga studio. If they are a bit more shy, there is a huge library of easy-to-follow yoga videos online.
What’s your go-to personal practice?
Hiking and backpacking are my favorite ways to practice yoga. The physical postures are only one branch of yoga, and I find that when I lose myself in nature, I am able to be deeply present.
What’s your superpower?
I like to think that I have the ability to make people smile! I am currently applying to physical therapy school so I hope to expand my knowledge to treat those in physical pain.
Celebrate and Support UPLIFT Yoga Bash!
Use Promo Code “FINDBLISS” for a 15% off Discount! Buy your tickets here: https://upliftyogabash2018.eventbrite.com
Join 600 yogis on the Eve of the Equinox – Friday, September 21st at Doheny State Beach. We are raising funds and awareness for UPLIFT Teen Yoga’s new Outreach Division, which will bring yoga and mindfulness to the teens in Orange County who need it most.
MANDUKA “BIRDS OF PARADISE” VIP PRE-PARTY – 5-7pm
Our upscale Birds of Paradise VIP Pre-Party will be from 5-7pm with 250 guests. Here we will have all kinds of entertainment: delicious hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, “Insta-Famous” acro yogi performances, Giant Angel Wings by Colette Miller of Global Angel Wings Project, a Flower Power Braid Bar, Fire Dancers, Essential Oils & Card Readings, and tons more.
OM CIRCLE AT SUNSET
At sunset, all yogi guests will move to the beach for a massive OM Circle led by CorePower Yoga’s Chief Yoga Office, Heather Peterson.
MAIN EVENT – 7-9pm
After the OM Circle, we will move to the beautiful grass area adjacent to the beach, underneath Doheny’s 80 foot majestic palm trees. CorePower Yoga’s Director of Mindful Leadership, Anthony Chavez will lead us through our inspiring yoga practice surrounded by the elements of nature, beautiful lighting, live DJ beats, and lots of surprises. Get ready for Richard Vagner’s violin Savasana!
AFTER PARTY – 9-10pm
We will move back to the VIP area and enjoy good company, cozy food, live music, non-alcoholic drinks, more acro yoga performances & entertainment, and opportunities to purchase goodies to benefit UPLIFT Teen Yoga.
THE CAUSE – UPLIFT TEEN YOGA
All proceeds benefit our new Outreach Division of UPLIFT Teen Yoga, which brings yoga and mindfulness to the teens who need it most in Orange County.
Use Promo Code “FINDBLISS” for a 15% off discount! Buy your tickets here: https://upliftyogabash2018.eventbrite.com
UPLIFT Yoga Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.