Get to Know Lila's Roots
Read about Lila's 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 in gardens, forests, off-grid homesteads, and yoga ashrams.
Yoga entered my life back in 1998 as a recommendation from a friend who thought it may help reduce my seizures since I had been diagnosed with epilepsy at 15 and Western medicine was doing little to alleviate the suffering. It was from her recommendation that yoga entered my healing journey.
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 teachings; live a natural life, eat a natural diet, and bring spiritual awareness into your daily awareness.
In surrendering to the magic of nature and yoga and putting it to practice, I found healing and inspiration. They turned my passion to purpose, giving me tools to share with others how to live your very best life.
My Family Roots
Farming has been in my German heritage and genealogy for the past couple hundred years, at least. My ancestors arrived here to America in the late 1880s, settling first in Pennsylvania and then relocating to Illinois for richer soil and flatter land.
My great-grandparents and grandparents were all farmers. I have uncles who farm and many of my childhood friends lived on farms....even still today.
I vividly recall farm-life being a part of my life. My favorite part was going to my family and friends' farms, driving four-wheelers and tractors, and helping with chores. I loved shoveling manure, feeding calves, playing hide and seek in the corn, and picking 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. As a kid, my parents had a vegetable garden and my mom preserved our food for 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 green thumbs and daily quest to live in harmony within myself and my relationship with nature.
My Yoga Roots
Lila attributes the yoga knowledge she has gained over the past twenty years to the amazing teachers and lineage-keepers of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.
In 2000, Lila graduated from her 200hr yoga teacher training course and was initiated into the Saraswati Lineage, Sri Adi Shankaracharya (8th century C.E.) Known as the greatest revitalizer of Advaita Vedanta, he was a gifted philosopher and theologian, stating his belief that there is no separation between Self/Pure Soul and God.
Swami Sivananda Maharaj from south India, is another highly influential yogi from this lineage who lived hundreds of years later (1887-1963). He was a medical doctor turned yogi and is the founder of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh India, which is a thriving ashram still today.
Swami Sivananda is known for being one of the first yogis to translate ancient yoga scriptures into English. He authored more than 200 books, writing many by hand.
In 1957 he sent his disciple Swami Vishnudevananda to the West, to propagate the teachings of yoga. Vishnu Swami, as Sivananda loving referred to him, mastered Hatha Yoga at nineteen years old and was thus the main Hatha Yoga professor at the ashram.
Swami Vishnu is yet another distinguished yogi from this great lineage. He was called "Flying Swami" by the media for his international peace missions. Peter Max, a famous 70s artist, painted Swami ji's peace plane that was flown over war-torn countries, dropping leaflets of peace and oneness.
In 1983, Swami Vishnu successfully flew over the Berlin wall in an ultralight glider, in a dangerous and successful mission to promote peace. What an inspirational message of courage! Watch this 30-minute documentary about his life.
Many of Lila's teachers are Swami Vishnu's direct disciples. They lived with him, studied with him, and selflessly shared his wisdoms with others. She has also studied with many great scholars and intuits in their own right, which gives Lila a diverse approach to bridging ancient tradition with modern times.
Lila explains, "Our lineage was named after Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom. Through the efforts of great yogis, Yoga's ancient wisdoms have been revitalized and reinvented time and time over the ages. Many great Gurus are change-makers and social justice activists who benefit the whole.
"I feel deeply honored to be introduced to yoga's sacred teachings and great Gurus. 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
For nearly 20 years, Lila has been involved in environmentalism, whether its homesteading, studying permaculture, or living an eco-friendly, regenerative life.
She believes in the importance of living a reciprocal relationship with the Earth and strives to live off-grid, in both place and mind. She shares with others teachings and tips on how to live in reverent harmony with the natural+spiritual world.
"Since we are temporarily here on Earth and leave it for future generations, we must learn to live-lightly. By living a harmonious and regenerative life, inside and out, we act as conscious stewards of ourselves and our only planetary home. And Mother Earth has never needed our hopeful hearts and hands as much as she does now."
Lila's passion to live in this way, guided her to the Omega Institute's Ecological Literacy Program ELIP, a four-week regenerative design, whole systems approach to living.
She feels deeply honored to have the privilege to study with the inspired faculty of 2018s ELIP course: Connor Stedman, Laura Weiland, Abrah Dresdale, Dave Jacke, Steve Gabriel, Ricky & Deb Habib, Rowen White, Vandana Shiva, and the many other teachers of hers along the way.
"Each one of my ecological teachers along my path have helped shape my life in such a deep way," explains Lila. "I am incredibly grateful for the knowledge of how to live in harmony with nature and spirit. This approach to living has opened in my heart in ways previously undiscovered."
Another interesting connection is that Lila's yoga Guru, Swami Vishnudevananda traveled the world carrying the message of Earth-care and sustainability throughout his life. In the early 1970s, he invited Bill Mollison, father of Permaculture, to the ashram asking how to create a self-sufficient ashram. Read the full story here.