Where are you from originally? Chicago, IL
How long have you lived in Chattanooga? 2 years
Tell us about your childhood: I grew up in Uptown Chicago, a few blocks from Lake Michigan, in an intentional Christian Community (consisting of about 400+ people) called Jesus People USA, or JPUSA. The building we all lived in is 10 stories high, therefore if I wanted to visit by best friend, “going over to her house” was merely walking up some stairs and down a hallway. When you worked, you were provided for, not given a paycheck. When you went to school, your friend’s parents taught you. Church was with all of the same people, and in the same building. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was served cafeteria style, and typically eaten in the same way, at one of the many community style tables in the dining room. It was a beautiful, albeit strange, way to grow up. It taught me how to get along with people that are different than me, and love them for their differences. It taught me the importance of community, and how it is attainable no matter where you are. And maybe most importantly, it taught me that family is who you spend your time with, who you invest in, not only with whom you share genes.
Do you have a nick name? People call me Rhett, or Rhetta
When were you introduced to Yoga? I think the first time I ever did yoga was through a non-profit in Chicago called The Gilda’s Club. Founded by Gene Wilder for his wife (Gilda) as a space and community for people who have all been affected by cancer, to support one another, often times through creativity. They taught free yoga classes there that I used to attend when I was about 10-12. I’d get all slap happy during Savasana because people would fall asleep and snore.
How do yoga and the community play a role in your life? How? So many ways! Aside from teaching and continually learning, it seeps into everything. Being aware of how I stand at work, “Where is my weight being held in my feet?” “Could my back be hurting because my shoulders aren’t pulled back and down?”. Even paying attention to my breath if I find myself angry or anxious. Being passionate about yoga has helped me find community and common ground with many types of people, even outside of Peace.Strength.Yoga.
What pose do you love the most and why? I feel like that changes all the time, but right now I would say Pigeon and Corpse Pose. Grounding, hip opening, and letting my body and mind rest is an important, yet challenging thing for me right now. So I find that these two poses feed me well.
What is your favorite quote? I really don’t have one…