Can you believe that we made it through 2020 and after a long season of winter, reflection, rest, and grieving, we are now more than a quarter way through 2021? I recently heard in passing that in order to heal, we sometimes have to take time away from the hard work of trying to heal. That’s why this year’s Live Be Yoga Experience theme is a reminder for us all to “Spark Joy.” I hope to support our community through movement, mindfulness, and gratitude practices that can instill a deep sense of lasting joy.
I believe that yoga is much more than asana. As a practitioner who is passionate about learning, teaching, and unveiling creative expression, I believe that yoga also includes laughter, spending time in nature, being still, exploring solitude, and embracing community. To me, sparking joy means living a life that centers around pleasure and radical self-love that benefits our broader community.
As a dance creative, pleasure educator, and current student of mental health counseling and dance therapy, I also believe that joy and embodied truth are best expressed and experienced through the body. Dance and movement came into my life at a very young age. Dance taught me how to feel more at home with my body and to feel like I am living my best self even when facing challenges. During the pandemic when everyone was stuck at home, I saw the dance community grow online rather than shut down because the need to move and connect with others was so strong. This gave me the opportunity to reclaim dance and movement as my own practice as opposed to focusing on only teaching.
Yoga entered my world in 2016. During a human rights trip to the Philippines, I connected with the indigenous Lumad people who demonstrated a deep resilience despite enduring years of militarized violence. At the end of our time together, we celebrated the community we had created with a dance and movement circle. When I returned to the U.S., I felt a strong urge to reconnect with my dance and movement practice. I started taking yoga classes and experienced a synchronicity similar to what I had found in the Philippines. I wanted to help recreate that feeling of connection between people through movement, so I became a yoga teacher in 2017.
Since then, it has been my mission to support marginalized communities by providing yoga and movement healing. I help people lead a pleasure-centered life by facilitating trauma-sensitive movement practices, breathwork, asana, and sensual movement and dance that builds community with marginalized identities. I couldn’t support others if I wasn’t living in my own truth and sparking joy in my own life by proudly being my fullest self as a queer, Pin@y movement storyteller. “Pin@y” represents those of us who are of Filipino descent and identity as queer. The “@” acknowledges the gender fluid and nonbinary roots of Filipino history.
So how do I lead a life of joy and pleasure? I love cuddling with my feisty, sweet Chihuahua terrier, Pancit (yes, the Filipino noodle dish), spending time in Oregon’s natural beauty, cooking gluten-free food, shamelessly eating most meals with rice, and dancing and moving everyday (sometimes with high heels on).
Trisha Fey Elizarde-Miller (she/they) is a yoga and movement instructor nurturing radical resilience through yoga, dance, and movement—and Yoga Journal’s 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience Ambassador. This year our intention is to SPARK JOY through movement, mindfulness, rest, gratitude, and kindness. Follow the 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience and stay connected with us @livebeyoga.