• Grace Yoga: Leslie, can you describe your journey to yoga, what keeps you coming back, and how you live your practice?

    Leslie Trikha: What brought me to yoga 16 years ago was pain. Low back pain and sciatica, a by-product of ten years as a nurse caring for very sick patients. Nursing in the intensive care unit includes leaning over, turning, lifting and transporting incapacitated people and moving sometimes heavy machinery. And lots of standing. The last 8 months of my career I worked while pregnant. I’m not sure what caused me to herniate a disc in my spines but I started having sciatica around my 5th month of pregnancy. Living with constant pain and discomfort with movement, I had back surgery when my baby was 2 months old. I had a partial discectomy and the pain subsided. Though now I was even more prone to having low back pain as part of the cushion between the bones was gone.
    Years of toiling as a mom with little kids brought the pain back and I remember a note pinned to my mirror a friend left that read, Leslie you must, must, must do yoga!
    I attended a yoga class and distinctly remember feeling after one class that I had created more space in my back. The pinch and pain were not there as much. It was such a relief. After several months the muscles strengthened, circulation improved the joints and spine were better supported. I felt ease in movement. I can honestly say practicing yoga is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
    Since that time, we moved to the Bay Area, then to San Diego then back up here. I’m happy to have moved so many times and lived in different places. I’ve learned not to be too rigid in my views and that people are the same everywhere. I’ve taught my kids the same. To practice yoga one’s mind must be in the present. Evident during balancing. During yoga we use our breath and our minds, on our bodies, to stay in a pose. Following the breath trains the mind to stay in the present. One of the very best habits for living. Just like the breath, your life is always moving so similarly don’t hold it! Practicing yoga trains us to be agile like a tree bending in the wind. Staying too rigid, holding your breath and not paying attention, you’re not going to be practicing yoga very well. Yoga teaches us about how to live life.