My Story in my Words
Read about Lila's Roots + Lineages
My journey into the natural world began as a child, growing up around family farms and vacationing in forests and lakeside cabins. Most of my life I have had my hands in the soil and my belly filled with homegrown goodies. Still today, my most cherished times are skipping through forests and gardens, skinny dipping in natural watering holes, and visiting off-grid homesteads and yoga ashrams.
Yoga entered my life back in 1998 as a recommendation from a friend who thought it may helpful in reducing my epileptic seizures. I was diagnosed at 15 and modern medicine was doing little to alleviate the suffering. I took her up on her suggestion and by saying 'yes' my healing journey began.
Since 2004, I have been seizure-free and that is without the use of pharmaceutical medication. I attribute this to the healthy lifestyle changes I made following yoga's recommendations; live a natural life, eat a natural diet, and develop your inherent spirituality.
In living a natural life I uncovered the healing power within yoga and earth-based teachings. When you honor the spirit in them, they begin to open up like a flower revealing its sweet nectar on a spring day.
My Family Roots
Farming has been in my German heritage and genealogy for the past couple hundred years, at least. My ancestors arrived to America in the late 1880s, first settling in Pennsylvania and then relocating to Illinois for richer soil and flatter land.
My great-grandparents and grandparents were all farmers. I have uncles, friends and my brother in law's family all still farm.
I vividly recall farm-life being a part of daily life. My favorite part was driving four-wheelers and tractors and helping with chores. I loved feeding calves, playing hide and seek in the fields, and eating fresh sweet corn...all that I still jump at the chance to do today.
Even though I grew up 'in town', I was raised a farm kid. I remember our family garden and my mom preserving our food for the winter. There was a small apple orchard next door where I'd pick fresh apples. Even as an adult living in big cities, I find ways to put my hands in soil and grow food.
Farming is still being handed down within my family lineage, by my brother-in-law, two uncles, and several cousins who are still farming.
The down-to-earth, hard-working farm culture and the ability to grow food is found not only in my ancestors, but also in my two green thumbs and daily quest to live in harmony within nature.
My Yoga Roots
Nearly all of my formal education in the yoga scriptures and teachings is from the Saraswati lineage-keepers and teachers serving at the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.
I have participated in nearly every major course they offer, and likely a few times. For over 20 years I have been a student and affiliate teacher.
Our lineage has some amazing game changes that i'd like you to know. Let's start with Sri Adi Shankaracharya (8th century C.E.) Established this lineage, Saraswati. He was a gifted philosopher and theologian who professed his belief that there was no separation between Self and God.
Then several hundred years later, Swami Sivananda, or Papa Sivananda as I call him, began to transform lives (1887-1963). He authored over 200 books and was a pioneer or translating ancient yoga texts into English.
If I were to have one guru, it would be him. He is my papa, my teacher, and my heart. Founder of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh India, which is a thriving ashram still today.
Then he sent several students to the West to bring yoga. One of those students was Swami Vishnudevananda who founded the Sivananda Organization, which is still holding and honoring the traditions today.
"I feel deeply honored to be introduced to yoga's sacred teachings. It is possible only because each yogi who came before me carried the traditions with great care, reverence and devotion.
It is my intention to keep the classical teachings alive and intact, while repackaging them for our modern minds and current lifestyle demands."
My Eco Roots
In 2018 my passion to live in this way guided me to the Omega Institute's Ecological Literacy Program ELIP, a four-week regenerative design, whole systems approach to living. Hands down one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Take this course! Please. :)
I am so deeply honored to have the privilege to study with the inspired faculty of 2018 course: Connor Stedman, Laura Weiland, Abrah Dresdale, Dave Jacke, Vandana Shiva, and the many other teachers of mine along the way.
For over 20 years I have been living a nature+yoga centered life. The eco-aspect of my life has manifested in home gardens, homesteading efforts, permaculture study, visiting intentional communities and living an eco-positive life.
I deeply believe in the sacredness yoga describes; the union of pure consciousness + nature. Reverence leads one to feel and embody this union, this oneness.
And when you feel the interconnection and interdependence of life, you will choose a regenerative relationship with our Mother [Earth].