Leslie Gordon, E-RYT-500
I have always been on the path to yoga, but it wasn’t until I was living the life of a stressed out mother of a newborn and toddler that I actually knew it and knowingly planted my feet firmly upon it!!
Being born into a family of morticians brought the questions about life and death to the dinner table nightly. I sought answers to life’s questions in church, mistaking religion for spirituality well into my life. That path led me to a degree in Religious Studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio, and I began to see that religion and spirituality were quite different.
When my boys were born, my career in the museum field ground to a halt, and I craved the company of adults to free me from big wheels, Tonka trucks and the daily stresses of caring for two young, active boys. It led me to a little yoga center near my home, and from there, my path took an exciting turn. I discovered that yoga helped me find my breath, my center, some peace and quiet, and it made me feel great! After several years of learning, the opportunity presented itself to study a little more deeply. I enrolled in teacher training with Integrative Yoga Therapy (iytyogatherapy.com), and it was there and through subsequent workshops and trainings that I discovered my passion for helping EVERY BODY access yoga. And I believe that my classes and style of teaching put yoga into the hands (and bodies) of everyone.
Through yoga, I found ThaiYoga (Jonas Westring, Shantaya.org) and discovered a new way to help people relieve stress. I have a 200-hour certification in ThaiYoga which I practiced until the pandemic of 2020. ThaiYoga has led to trainings for those living with combat-related PTSD, back problems, osteoporosis, foot reflexology and Reiki. I taught Basic SUP and Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Instructor on the Farmington River in Collinsville, CT for many years. Several years ago, I delved into the practice of Bhakti Yoga with Jai Uttal, participating in his Kirtan Camp in California and following him to Costa Rica on retreat. In 2018 I spent a week training in the relaxing and rejuvenating practice of Yin Yoga with Biff Mithoefer, and have studied fascia (the connective tissue of the body) with Tom Myers, author of Anatomy Trains and expert on connective tissue.
I have a certificate in Mental Health First Aid from the National Council for Behavioral Health. I also have a certificate in Sr. Fitness from the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA). I believe that the healing modalities I offer are just tools in the giant toolbox of wellness. Some tools work better than others for some people, and I want to help people find the ones that work best for them.
During the summer of 2017, I had the privilege to participate in the month-long Ecological Literacy Immersion Program at the Omega Institute in New York State. The integration of nature into a yoga practice is incredibly healing, and I look forward to developing programs that join the two in clever and interesting ways. Healing our planet is vital, and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned.
I believe in the importance of “giving back,” and feel very proud to have been a volunteer for BeadforLife, an organization that provides jobs, medical care, education and loans to women in Uganda by helping them create beautiful paper beads and jewelry. I am deeply grateful to be who I am, living where I live in the world today without the constant fear of war, hunger and physical harm. One of my favorite places to volunteer is with Dog Star Rescue, where I adopted two of my own dogs. My partner and I have fostered puppies in our home, which was a wild experience, but connected us daily to joy and pure unconditional love. Currently I am organizing a golf tournament for Dog Star (our 2nd annual). I have also volunteered extensively in my children’s schools and in various PTO positions, including President three times. Currently I am co-chair of the housing committee for the Greater Hartford Refugee Resettlement Coalition, and we are looking forward to welcoming a refugee family to our area, likely from Afghanistan or another place from which war or natural disaster has torn them.
My classes are non-vinyasa style with an emphasis on alignment with the idea that “the perfect pose is the pose that is perfect for you,” and one size definitely does not fit all. Since we all come in different shapes and sizes, why would our yoga poses look the same? My hope is that your practice is one that is comfortable for you, no matter what you look like, how old you are or what kinds of injuries you arrive with. Gratitude is the key to happiness for me, and I hope to share that theme in the classes that I teach.
Travel has always been a huge part of my life, and I have seen many beautiful places in the world. Now that I can travel to new places near and far on yoga retreats, I feel like travel has taken on a new purpose. Practicing under the stars in Costa Rica or overlooking rolling hills in Italy and Northern California has enriched my life in a whole new way. It is profoundly moving to be immersed in the natural world, breathing with the breath of the jungle or the hills or the ocean, wherever we happen to be.
I have formerly served as the Director of Yoga Programs at the Enlightened Way Wellness Center in Tariffville, CT and the Yoga Director at the InnerSpace Yoga and Pilates Studio in Avon, CT, and co-founded the Be.Yoga Yoga Studio in Avon, CT. Prior to the pandemic, I taught yoga and various workshops at the Chi Healing Center in Canton, CT. I am also currently serving as the staff yoga teacher at FerryLaw in New Britain, teaching yoga and mindfulness techniques to the injured and stressed clients of the firm. I also practice my permaculture techniques there where I manage a pollinator garden and seven raised bed gardens in the front yard of the office. We also have a Little Free Library there and at home, so I guess I am a librarian of sorts as well! Recently I was honored to be named one of Ten Best in the Yoga category for Natural Nutmeg Magazine.
At home, you might find me with a book, out in the garden, feeding the birds, hiking, tracking wildflowers and wild edibles, crafting with friends, listening to good music of all genres…Oh…and I love a good joke and appreciate a fun sense of humor. Lighten up! As I age, I realize how short this blessed life is. I receive each day as a gift.
My favorite quote is from Emerson: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
I hope you will join me for some yoga.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.