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Brenda Lear

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born and raised north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the town of Willow Grove.

TELL US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR PERSONAL PRACTICE
I discovered yoga in 1999 through the grace of my mother’s curiosity. We were at a fitness center together when my mom peaked around the corner into one of the rooms, pointed and whispered, ”have you ever tried yoga?” And into class we went. Although my relationship with yoga wasn’t love at first class, a seed was planted and it was the catalyst into my study of the self and a reconnection with Spirit.
My practice has taken on many shapes and influences through the seasons of my life, at times being strong and disciplined and other times playful and curious and other times soft, tender and gentle.

TELL US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR TEACHING EXPERIENCE
I began teaching yoga shortly after my first teacher training with Jeffery Williams in 2006. Yoga studies tapped into my innate craving for learning and inspired me to explore teachers and traditions. I have been fortunate and am very grateful to have studied under the guidance of Nicki Doane, Eddie Modestini, Eka Ekong, Radhlule and Saul David Raye to name a few. In addition to my yoga studies, my fascination with human anatomy and physiology led me to earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in Exercise Physiology.

My yoga teaching is a confluence of my light-hearted and sprightly approach to life, united with a deep respect for the tradition and the sacred. My classes are thoughtful and creative with interplay of movement and stillness, cultivating an environment for each to develop their personal practice.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?
A seat, in the shape of Sukhasana, Svastikasana or Padmasana. (My favorite might alter depending on my state of flexibility, or lack of flexibility.) In a seat, I can ground and center anywhere and anytime. A seat can be a great foundation for pranayama, deep meditation and a platform to explore the inner landscapes.

But if I am having a hard time sitting still and have extra energy to burn, then it is time to get upside down and play in Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand).

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA/SPIRITUALITY/SELF HELP BOOK?
As a learning enthusiast I struggle to name one favorite book, but will share two of my current favorite authors.

Anything by Brene Brown: I simply adore the work of Brene, as she weaves themes of courage, vulnerability, empathy and shame in relatable life stories that allow me to smile at my imperfections and inspire me to be more conscious,mindful and compassionate in my everyday interactions with myself and others.

Also anything by Ram Das: Ram Das’s shares inspiring stories from the heart that will certainly make you smile. He spreads the message of his Guru, Neem Karoli Baba, affectionately known as Maharajji, to love everyone, feed people and see God everywhere. Ram Das has set a foundation and taught me about karma yoga / spiritual service.

ANY ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS?
Just keep showing up. Walk through the door. Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting ourselves to the studio and onto our mats. But once we are 5 minutes into our practice the resistance or the distraction often will melt away.
I invite you to integrate the rules to a mindful garden into your yoga practice and beyond (K. M. Miller)
1. Be Kind – Because every opportunity is an opportunity to practice kindness to ourselves (and others).
2. Don’t Throw Rocks – Although as tempting as it may be to throw rocks at ourselves and others, the challenge is to not criticize, judge and set expectations of self (and others).
3. No Running – Slow down, breath and savor each moment.
4. Pay attention – Bring all of your attention to what is at hand. Paying attention is the most concrete aspect of love you can show yourself (and others).

WHAT DOES “COMMUNITY” MEAN TO YOU?
Community is relationship.
Community is belonging to something bigger than yourself.
Community is supportive, friendship, and encouragement.
Community is inclusive, accepting and appreciative of our difference.

We have a special opportunity within a yoga community to create a Heart-Full community with a higher purpose. By our shared experience of yoga with it’s powerful effect to our bodies, minds and hearts we can be more conscious and thoughtful of each other as we reflect, discovery and grow together.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT VENTURA?
Ventura sunrises are epic! My favorite way to enjoy a Ventura sunrise is on my surfboard at a local favorite surf break C-Street.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION?
There are many non-profit organizations in Ventura doing inspiring heart-work creating integrated solutions to support and care for: people in need of food, clothing and shelter, children who need loving homes, animals in shelters and wildlife and the environment in need of protection.

Two of my current favorite nonprofits are: Family Connections Christian Adoption (FCCA) and The Surfrider Foundation.

FCCA focuses on placing the waiting children of world into loving, forever families. This includes children in foster care in California; children overseas orphanages and children whose birth parents wish to make a voluntary adoption plan. They are dedicated to child advocacy. The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. They largely focus on issues such as water quality, beach access and preservation, sustaining marine and coastal ecosystems.