Leah Bockert

Where are you from originally? Lookout Mountain, Georgia

How long have you lived in Chattanooga? I was born and raised here. I spent my early twenties in the Pacific Northwest, but Chattanooga has a pull on me and I always end up back home in the mountains.

Tell us about your childhood: I am the youngest of five sisters. There was lots of laughing, sharing clothes, and dancing to the Beatles. My parents are amazing, brilliant goofballs. I’m super lucky.

Do you have a nick name? My mom calls me her “Happy Camper’

When were you introduced to Yoga? I took yoga classes off and on in high school to compliment my dance practice. I enjoyed the benefits of balance and flexibility that it provided. I truly fell in love with the path of Yoga about five years ago, when I discovered the effects that Pranayama (breathing techniques) and Guided Meditations had on my stress level and ability to regulate my emotions. I’ve been in love with the practice ever since. Yoga has brought me physical as well as mental strength and has become part of my spiritual practice; leading me into deeper connection with myself, the planet, and others.

How do yoga and the community play a role in your life? Yoga plays a pretty big role in my life. It is how I connect spiritually, release emotionally, and purify physically. It has given me real tools, that work, to help me deal with life’s up and downs. It keeps me grounded in the present moment, instead of stuck in the past. It has brought back a child-like since of wonder and play that makes every day an adventure. Since yoga teaches us that we are not separate from others, but connected, the community I live in is more important to me now than ever. We belong to each other. I do not think that you can practice a system of compassion and peace and not also stand up for those principles in your own backyard.

What pose do you love the most and why? I have been really feeling the heart opening energy of Ustrasana (Camel Pose) for a few months. I still feel a little vulnerable in deeper, heart-opening back bends like this, but I love how open and spacious it makes me feel.

Favorite quote: “Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music, and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers, and warriors.” -Hunter S. Thompson.