Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
Last year, I took my first class with Elena Brower. As she walked by my mat, we exchanged one of those “Hey, don’t I know you?” looks, despite never having met before. After her inspiring class, we connected, and I knew I wanted her to teach in YJ ASAP. This month, she shares a rich meditation practice. But first, a little about Elena:
Carin Gorrell: How have your yoga and meditation practices evolved?
Elena Brower: My motivation has shifted. When I started, I practiced yoga to get strong, supple, lean. Now I practice both yoga and meditation to let go, focus, and come home.
CG: What do you think people misunderstand most about meditation?
EB: Folks are often under the impression that meditation should be a real struggle, that it takes forever to “get good.” Experience has taught me that, over time, meditation can and does become a respite, a softening, a balancing.
CG: What’s your most treasured item on your home altar and why?
EB: An image of my mama when she was about seven or eight years old. After her passing earlier this year, it’s a beautiful way to keep her close.
CG: I was so sad to hear about your mother. What has brought you the most peace after your loss?
EB: My meditations. Almost every time I get quiet, I can feel her near—offering a solution to a question I have, comforting or encouraging me. And my sister and dad are always one text away; they know how to make me laugh or cry, depending on what’s needed.
CG: Does your practice influence your parenting?
EB: Certainly. Early on in my son’s life, I could see the chasm between who I was as a teacher and student of yoga, and who I was as a parent. I’ve spent the last nine-plus years learning how to be consistently steady, reliable, soft, compassionate, and open to listening in both contexts.
CG: Any exciting projects in the works this coming year?
EB: Two new audio meditation courses are coming in spring 2017, and my next book, Practice You, will be released in fall 2017—all from Sounds True.
CG: Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you live by?
EB: Two: “We’re not here to learn; we’re here to remember” and “The best students make the finest teachers.”