Instructor Spotlight: Paula Chesley
This month we are checking in with Paula!
"I write this after a weekend of celebrating bodies at the Minneapolis topless bike ride, an event I co-organized with Helena Howard. Last summer, Helena and I both received citations for lying on our stomachs reading books while topless in Minneapolis Parks — a Parks Board ordinance stated that “female breasts” could not be exposed. We fought this gender-discriminatory and transphobic rule with friends and family, and we won! This last weekend, about 50 people biked around Bde Maka Ska and Lake of the Isles to celebrate the new freedoms — in the rain!
Allowing everyone to feel proud and at home in their bodies is near and dear to my heart. For years, I have dealt with the chronic illness of endometriosis. My symptoms were always “embarrassing” things to talk about — digestion, menstruation, sex. Because my endometriosis was undiagnosed for so long (median time to diagnosis for endometriosis is 7 years), I would Google all sorts of diseases, thinking, “Maybe that’s what I have.” When it was finally diagnosed, hearing the prognosis was one of those come-to-Jesus moments. I recommitted to healthy eating, healthy living, and deepening my yoga practice. I’m still not out of the woods, but thanks to yoga, my quality of life has drastically improved. And, I feel hopeful and inspired. With part of my rectus abdominis (core muscle) removed, the doctors tell me there’s no way I should be able to do the postures I can do, yet here I am! I aim to pass along this belief in oneself to my students.
Everyone has a body — what would it feel like to inhabit someone else’s? Someone of a different gender, size, race, background, or lived experience. What thoughts would you think? How much joy and/or pain would you experience? This perspective-taking is critical to broadening my own horizons, and is a regular part of my Nonviolent Communication practice.
I am thrilled to be teaching at One Yoga. The students, staff, and mission are so great. Keep up the amazing work in the community, fam! Love, Paula."
Join Paula for Yin on Tuesdays at 7:30pm and Vinyasa on Thursdays at 6:00pm.