It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. My name is Andra Michelle West LeBauer. I am the mother of two astonishing girls, and the wife of an awesome husband who I co-own LeBauer Physical Therapy with. I am a Yoga teacher, Massage therapist, and mindful meditation enthusiast, and blogger about all the above things at andrasdailyyoga.com
Q. What is your work?
A. I am of service first, and that is the perspective that I try to come from in all that I do. It is my hope that through the modalities that I have the honor of practicing with my clientsI am able to help them come home to their bodies, and their hearts, and to find ease in their minds. I believe this is my life’s work. It is the work that most matters to me in my own practice and life and I am lucky enough to have it be the work that I most love to share. It is a win win!
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I am beyond excited to share that Andra's Daily Yoga will be collaborating with Dancing Dogs Yoga Greensboro to bring a weekly FREE mindfulness meditation gathering to the community on Sundays at 11:15am starting on September 10th!
The group will focus on practicing mindful meditation and how the practice of mindfulness can be put into action in our day-to-day lives. We will explore different meditation techniques and also have time to connect as a community with mindful sharing.
Here is the link with more info, and I would love to have your readers join us.
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Phew, 2017 has been a humdinger for me! I was diagnosed with thyroid disease and ended up having thyroid cancer. It was terrifying in so many ways to feel unwell and also to feel like I was at the mercy of doctors. Despite the fear I walked through it, and I am so happy to report that I am cancer free, and that I came out on the other side having learned more about resiliency, love, and hope than I ever thought possible. I know I couldn’t have done it without my yoga and meditation practice, and without the love of my family and community, they were a life raft in a very very big storm.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I am fortunate enough to have my work aligned with what I feel matters most, that being said I feel ready to share my work with more people. I am called to write more, and teach more, so first up will be more blogging about yoga and mediation and then…maybe…a book! I love to write but I take it too seriously, as is my default for most things I do in life, so I am working to drop expectation with writing and living in general and to just open up to what is possible.
My bout with cancer made one thing abundantly clear and that is, life and time are chugging along and it is up to us how we spend the precious moments we are living. I want to spend my moments loving, and learning, and sharing those things out into the world.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Oh man, I have mental volumes that I would love to go back and enlighten my former self with, but here is the thing, I try sometimes to give my daughters a short cut, like say, “hey look at it this way, let that go, you don’t have to______, “ and they rarely take my advice. It is not because they don’t respect my opinion, it is because all of us have to unravel and open up at our own pace. I am beyond grateful for all the perspectives I had when I was younger and the path that life has presented to me that has morphed and shaped those perspectives into something else entirely. All perspectives are beautiful because they are a path to another perspective, and that is growth, and I believe growth is sacred.
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. My advice to myself daily and to others if they are open to hearing it is to slow down, pay attention, soften your heart, forgive others, have clear and defined boundaries, and to speak your mind even when it feels uncomfortable.
Hmmm, that is more than one isn’t it.
B. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I think my own discomfort is what keeps me moving forward. I am always trying to work towards peace in my mind, body, and soul and to help other people find peace as well. Discomfort arises when we are out of balance, and I believe that self care, and selfless service are the road back to peace. I am always leaving peace, and arriving in it anew. The path is never stagnant, and even though we can uncover great moments of peace and balance they don’t stay for too long. I believe the real work is to be done when we are in the thick of it, in the big messy unknown.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I am a clean eating enthusiast and a total teetotaler. I have a sensitive body, mind, and soul and I love to operate as optimally as possible. So I am always working to figure out what best fuels my body. Currently I eat mostly vegan, and I haven’t had a drink in 4 years, I do yoga religiously and that combo seems to be what my body/mind/spirit love most. People ask me all the time if it was hard to stop drinking, and the answer is, YES! It was so hard, and so so so worth it. I now think it is actually more fun being sober than it was to drink. I like the bright clarity of it all, I like the feeling like I can sit with what is uncomfortable and not need to sooth or runaway from it. There is so much to learn when we are brushed up against the prickly edges of ourselves.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. The pose that is the hardest for me that day, during that practice, in whatever body I came to the mat with, that is my favorite. So somedays it is savasana and some days it is revolved half moon. Some days when I am restless it is a challenge to be still and some days when I am feeling tired it is a challenge to be in the tapas (fire) of a challenging pose. I find that it is the hardest poses of the day that my body really needs, because they balance me out and remind me that I CAN DO HARD THINGS!
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I believe that my mindfulness practice allows me to show up for my life again and again in a way that is fully present. Even when I totally botch being a loving human being, mindfulness gives me and invitation to try again. Every moment is an invitation to be fully present and to live our lives in the fullest way possible. My full expression of life means that I am listening deeply, loving completely, and not running away from discomfort (mine or others), and that I am forgiving myself when I fail (and others), and always trying again.