Letter of Love: Falling In

And one day. 
You’re just standing there. 
When your jaw softens. 
And you realize you’re no longer the same as when you first walked in
- Danielle Doby

What is a story if not told? What is life if not shared? Our past is part of who we are today. Through sharing ourselves we give the gift of closeness, of connection. Here’s a little glimpse into my past and some of the factors that have influenced the work that I do and who I am today. I am a movement educator.

I am passionate about creating a safe, fun environment for my clients to learn. I am committed to living a life that is from the heart and I infuse my teaching with presence and love. Movement is vital to a healthy life. I love teaching and helping my clients find their inner and outer strength. I believe that doing good in the world is greatly dependent on how we feel in our bodies. During retreats, my greatest joy is bringing people together in community, in solidarity, a place where people can let go of the outer pressures of the world and discover a bit of childlike wonder again.

My name is Lila. It is a Sanskrit word meaning “the divine play of life.” Many cultures believe that your name is literally who you are to become in life. I was born at home under a full moon in January.

I am the middle child of two sisters. We were raised in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon, in a small alternative community called Takilma.

I spent my summers outside, mostly barefoot and running free; riding bikes, swimming and climbing trees with my sisters. Being active was a natural part of our lives.

My family lived in a one bedroom cabin and had an outside shower and an out house (toilet) for many years. My parents had a strong vision for our family and worked hard to make that happen. They built us a beautiful home, gardens to grow our food and - yes - indoor bathrooms. I saw early on what it means to work hard towards your goals, to be a true pioneer an entrepreneur.

The first time I entered public school was in 8th grade. Before that, I had gone to a Seventh Day Adventist school, a community school and was homeschooled.

My parents taught me meditation, chanting, yoga and various religious beliefs, specifically Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, paganism and Christianity. A common mantra in our house was, “love all, serve all.” My sisters and I are all in the service fields.

I now see that this eclectic background and exposure to different religions and viewpoints is why I do not subscribe to one ideology about movement. Each of us is unique and I believe there is not one “right” way to heal or to move - exercise.

If you had told me then that I would teach for a living, I never would have believed you. I didn’t like being the center of attention or being watched. I went to school late every Friday, for a whole year, so that I wouldn’t have to give a speech. As I grew into my teens, I started taking dance classes - everything from West African dance to modern dance and ballet. It was then that I fell in love with movement, with music, with dancing, and with the cultures associated with them.

I was first exposed to Pilates in 1999 after a car accident when I was 19 and it greatly helped my recovery from whiplash and a concussion.

In 2000, I joined a dance company in Oakland, The Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble, which led me to Salvador, Bahia Brazil, where I studied dance for two years.  While I was in Brazil I took my first Pilates training. Pilates changed how I danced. I finally understood what my center was! I became stronger and more confident in my body. I was hooked.

I knew I wanted to bring my passion for movement to a field where I could help others feel this way as well.

My practice of dance, meditation, Pilates and Yoga have given me the tools to take steps towards my dream of creating retreats. My goal with retreats is to create experiences where people learn to feel strong and free in their bodies and experience connection to all that is. My own health and well-being (self-care), my fitness goals to be stronger, braver and more capable as I age, have all been great motivators along the way to help me bring inspiration and success to my clients.

I’m learning every day with every body that I work with. Each client, each group of people teaches me something new.

I love to hear from you. I look forward to seeing you soon in class, on retreat, or in an upcoming workshop!

In Love and Movement,