Bonnie Bairley

The power of yoga continues to amaze, inspire, and invigorate me. I love to watch people truly inhabit their bodies through movement, find their own groove, and let their spirit soar on the mat and beyond. I am truly grateful to be at this moment in life to help facilitate such transformation...and for those curious, here's the background story of how that happened. :)

I came to this beautiful practice in seventh grade through an Iyengar class at an Ann Arbor YMCA. At the time, I was only using yoga to supplement the hours of ballet and dance training I filled most of my pre K - high school time with. During 10th grade, I found one of my first real inspiring teachers in an Ashtanga class at another fitness center, and though teacher training crossed my mind at the time, I shied away from it, feeling more comfortable as a student on the mat than a teacher in the room. I continued to value my yoga practice (though often inconsistent) through the end of high school, bulging disc injuries (from too much ballet and overtraining), recovery and into college, and into the acting program at Michigan State. This past year, as I was training and preparing for musical theatre rehearsals, I found myself having injuries again, by running and lifting. With the guidance of a dear friend and mentor, I decided to come to the mat full time - first at Yoga State and then, by the raving review of my same lovely friend, to ELHY in May! - Yoga became my gym and almost immediately, my spiritual sanctuary. Coupling a deepening physical practice with group meditations in rehearsing for the musical HAIR, I started to feel as though something inside of me had been cracked open and the result was this energizing joy and wonder of life pulsing through every part of my physical being and spirit. I began to feel genuinely whole, happy, and on a path of healing. As I started leading cast warm-ups via sun salutations, gathering friends for full moon meditations, and generally being ecstatic about yoga, it seemed that within one month in spring, more people had told me to teach than I had ever heard before. The day after HAIR had closed, I took the leap and submitted my application to the Shanti School of Yoga in Traverse City, where I completed my 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification in July 2015.

In my experience, sometimes the journey feels messy with lots of challenges, and sometimes it feels like pure bliss. Through yoga practice and its philosophy, we can learn how to honor the flow of our path, knowing that all moments shall pass, and knowing that wherever we are, if we trust in the mystery and live according to our inner truth, we will find the power and peace in embracing what it means to be freely and authentically ourselves.