We are super grateful to have connected with Yoga Mamma, Stephanie Birch, from stephynow.com. Stephanie balances being an energetic and loving mom, a yogi, a creative light, and a wellness professional/business woman. And she does this all with tremendous positive spirit and grace. Thank you for sharing your story and tips for finding balance Stephanie, and thank you for being you!
Tell us a little about yourself…how did you find yoga?
Well, hello there! Thank you for having me. My name is Stephanie. A little about me…I live in Sacramento, CA. I spend my days as a play-at-home-mom. I consider myself to be an all-around creative moved by the present moment. I am a yoga teacher, life photographer, story-teller, writer, and soul activist. I always giggle when I reflect on how yoga came into my life because I was certain it would never be a part of my life. I definitely poked fun at the practice and brushed it off that it was “too mellow” and “too soft” for me. I was definitely the first-timer that came to class with judgments under my breath and a promise of a beer with a friend as a reward for trying said class. About half-way through, I was sweating, shaking, begging, and buckled down with humble pie. I was practicing off and on for years until I got pregnant with my son. I returned to my mat when my son was about 10 months old. I was desperate to re-connect with myself. My entire world was flipped as I battled with depression, being a new mom, challenges, mourning my old self, and a combination of things that overtook our household at the time. It was then that the practiced had changed for me, no longer just a way to sweat but turned into a way of life. It had been a pivotal tool in getting in touch with my heart and working through darkness. It allowed me to really feel myself, not to pretend or shy away from my humanness but to really connect with what it means to be human in every aspect of the word.
How do you balance being a creative business woman and a mamma?
Gosh! Somedays it’s tricky for sure! My son is very much a part of the creative process. He attends photo shoots, occasional business meetings, and has been a part of some yoga classes. He traveled with us recently to Wanderlust Festival at Squaw Valley, while I covered the weekend festival for TOMS, and he loved it! He can often be heard on my end of conference calls or video chat meetings because I do a lot of work at home. He’s 4 now and he loves to help in any way. Some days more than others and it’s become quite fun. He has the same interest in helping his dad in his wood shop too. As a family, we do our best to make it a team effort. I think if I were to open a yoga studio, he would be my right hand man with handing out blocks and greeting students along side of us. As a parent, I think it’s important for our son to witness and be a part of our passions; the ups and downs, failures, and successes.
What does “living yoga” mean to you, and how do you bring yoga off the mat?
When I think of living yoga, I think of it as living fully in the present. It’s physical, it’s mental, it’s me as I am in the moment. It is my breath. It is my heart. It is being my most loving self within and outside of myself.
How do you think sustainable living and yoga are related? Any tips on how we can all live a little more sustainable?
We are all connected to this earth, and to each other. We are all related. How well we take care of ourselves is how well we take care of others and how well we take care of this earth. Being consciously aware of our intake and outtake. There are many tips to live more sustainable but I think the best way to wrap our heads and hearts around this beautiful earth is to get outside. Check in with nature. Turn off the phone. Hug a tree, splash in a lake or river or ocean, walk barefoot feeling dirt in between your toes, face your palms toward the sun, swallow mountain air, listen to the howls of the wind and buzzing of bugs, watch the light cascade and pierce through the skyline, see animals roam, be a part of this earth by getting lost in nature. We must realize how big, beautiful, and important it is to not take from our Mother. The earth does not need us to survive, but we surely need her in order to survive.
Coming up for air from the last answer above, I would say nature is one of my biggest inspirations. My son and the many ways he’s reconnected me with the child inside. Everything feels new; exploration, painting, creating, reading, playing, learning, finding moments of quiet and stillness. I like to spend a lot of time alone or just us as a family, we are a household of virtually opposite schedules so time spent together is held closely. Everyday, I’m inspired by humans, their acts of kindness, their fierceness, and polarities that make them beautifully human. If you wear love on your sleeve, you are a living inspiration.
In her everyday life, Stephanie is a play-at-home mom, yoga teacher, life photographer, writer, online contributor, Soul Activist, Tahoe-lover, a sucker for dark chocolate, dark beer, coffee, cartwheels, boardgames, and a life well-lived barefoot and pants-less. “No pants are the best pants,” is the norm in their household. You can find her with a wide-open heart, wanna-be comedian, and squealing on her best days over at www.stephynow.com in Sacramento, California.
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