"I believe coming together to reset the nervous system and engage in practices many of us learned or honed at Esalen can be very healthy. I also feel that we need to remember we are a community and that the practices as well as the memories of Esalen can sustain us during challenging times." —Tracy Lease
“We carry Esalen in the very tissues of our bodies,” observes yoga instructor Tracy Lease, who evokes the spirit of Esalen during her online noontime yoga class on Wednesdays. “I believe coming together, wherever you are living, to reset the nervous system and engage in practices many of us learned or honed at Esalen can be very healthy.”
Tracy, whose 30-minute class helps ground us back into the body and “connect with Earth, sky and water,” opens up about the online experience and her process with Esalen News.
Esalen News: What inspired this noontime qi-yoga for our community?
Tracy Lease: I feel so much gratitude towards Esalen during my work-scholar months and then a Gazebo Park School internship really supported me during a challenging period of transformation in my life. I want to give back.
I believe coming together to reset the nervous system and engage in practices many of us learned or honed at Esalen can be very healthy. I also feel that we need to remember we are a community and that the practices as well as the memories of Esalen can sustain us during challenging times.
What do you hope people take away from the experience?
Over the span of 30 minutes, we tune into the breath and slow down. We use our imaginations and visualize natural settings. We tune into the senses and into the moment. All of this can help reset the polyvagal nervous system so that participants can go into the second half of their day and week rejuvenated. This gives folks a dedicated time to self-nurture once a week.
What makes movement, especially yoga, so vital during this unique time in history?
We live in bodies that are meant to move. Sitting at a desk all day is not what we were designed to do. People who “move” for work can still use time to realign breath and body. I hope that I can give people some practices they can take into the work day—stretches that will help keep the body balanced and breathwork that will help calm or energize the energetic body.
Yoga works on so many levels—or Koshas—with practices that can clear the mental body, help us tune into our deeper intuition and remember that we are truly all connected. During this time when it is harder to see those we love or to even see the smiles of strangers in the grocery store, yoga can help us remember we pulse with a deep energy and vibrancy.
What do you love most about what you do?
I most love guiding people in practices that help them tune into themselves on a deep energetic level so they feel more integrated and peaceful when they leave class. I enjoy witnessing people tune into their own energy, sway, move and shine out of themselves during a practice. I love the ah-ha moments people experience in their body and being in a class when they truly stay with themselves in the moment.
And though this is different on Zoom, it really is still possible. Right now, I love how Zoom classes can alleviate loneliness for those sheltering-in-place. It helps people remember we are still in community.
Sign up for Tracy’s class here. Learn more about Friends of Esalen here.