Chief Executive Peacock, The Prancing Peacock Studio Owner
Reiki Master, E-RYT 500, RCTY
How long have you been practicing yoga?
How did you get started?
I became a Reiki Practitioner, and the next morning woke up and felt a tap from the Universe that said, “You need to do yoga”. I resisted at first, but couldn’t shake the pull, so I found a teacher in my town and started to practice 3 times a week. Within a year I attended a 500Hr Yoga Teacher Training program and began to teach 4 classes a week at a gym near my home. After 4 years of teaching, I opened my own studio, The Prancing Peacock in Yardley, PA. The studio is in a converted furniture factory on 12 serene acres!
What type of yoga do you teach?
While I have studied with Baron Baptiste and many others, I believe my teaching style is most influenced by my core teacher, Shiva Rea. The Prancing Peacock is a Vinyasa studio, and I teach Prana Flow, linking the poses and breath for a powerful experience on the mat.
What do you prefer/enjoy about this particular form of yoga?
Vinyasa yoga sets you free. It liberates your body from tension, lets you get out of your head, and into a place of acceptance and empowerment. When I teach, I love weaving humor and joy through the class. Vinyasa flow draws me into a place of pure consciousness, where I feel I am able to guide my students to a space within them that is free of expectation, comparison, and judgement.
Do you feel anyone can enjoy and gain from yoga?
Yoga is truly an adaptogen, able to transform and embrace any and every one, regardless of physical ability, age, gender identity, past trauma, or personal values. It is a practice of mindfulness, compassion, and above all, empowerment. If you want to grow, heal, or just get to know yourself more completely, there is an ocean of opportunity waiting on the mat (or chair, or office, or backyard!).
What has yoga done for you as person?
I have experienced back pain since I was in high school, and I truly believe I would be hunched over in pain, and on pain medication, without yoga and meditation. My body, and all of its unique history, compensations, and challenges, has been nurtured by yoga for the last 20 years. In the beginning, when I was raising my children, it helped me to be more calm and mindful, and not overreact. It expanded my understanding of compassion and grace, teaching me to be able to read between the lines when you meet someone who is grouchy, or mean, and understand that they may be in pain or going through a hard situation. It’s a simple concept, but yoga gave me tools and perspective to actually apply my values to my life. It is a staggering experience. Now, at 62, yoga has helped me to break free from the limiting social construct of age, especially as a woman. My life experience is held in my body, and all 62 years have resulted in strength reflected in my muscles and my generosity, beauty in wrinkles that reflect my perseverance and dedication, and power in the ability to claim it all as my own.
Do you feel yoga is more mental or physical?
It depends on what type of yoga you are practicing, and your individual intentions and goals. In my practice, it ideally involves a perfect balance of both. A vinyasa flow class can be a powerful, challenging experience, but there comes a point when you are flowing, breathing and moving in sync, that you experience a higher state of consciousness that transcends the mental and physical, and allows you to simply be.
Do you believe it is an alternative form of healing and medicine?
Absolutely. Yoga empowers people to claim/befriend/understand their bodies, minds, and experiences as their own. I believe experiencing that sort of personal power, validation, and compassion, is the foundation of healing.
Do you associate yoga with Hinduism? If yes, in what ways?
Yoga and Hinduism are both Vedic in origin, and are going to be associated as a result. In our western society, I think the idea that yoga holds space for all belief systems and personal ideologies is more prevalent, and certainly what my studios aim to do for my students. When presented by an educated source, I have found the eye opening lessons and tropes of Hindu mythology to be a transformative element of practice, especially during restorative classes.
Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise or meditate?
Both. Of course, I want to express that it is so much more than physical or mental exercise, that yoga can heal and alter your entire experience! But the truth is, it is a great way to achieve a functional state of wellness. The experience and understand of yoga is not mine to decide, and it comes down to the individual student, their story, and their intentions. I often find that the student who shows up to class to “sweat and tone” often ends up staying for years because the practice really ever stays on the mat. Getting there is the first priority.
What is your dharma, your life mission?
I am lucky. I am aware of and living my dharma full heartedly. Every day I wake up and cultivate a space for students to find healing, peace, and good health. I have created two warm, welcoming studios where the community can gather together, no matter where they came from or how they got here. I consider myself a dreamweaver, and my super power is helping others see how special they are because of their experiences, and how far they can go with the tools of yoga within them. The Prancing Peacock has been my workshop for weaving dreams, and I am beyond grateful for it.
Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Website, etc)
You can find me on our studio website and socials: www.prancingpeacock.com, @theprancingpeacock, and my personal IG @chiefpeacockliz
When and where do you currently teach?
I teach weekly at both my Yardley and Langhorne studios! I love to teach 5:30am sunrise classes!! Currently, I am devoted to introducing and holding space for breath work healing groups and sessions. I haven’t been this inspired by a practice outside of yoga since I first discovered Reiki. I believe this style of breathwork, developed and taught by David Elliot is a transformative form of self-energy work and so needed right now as we collectively work through past grief, suffering, and pain. I am honored to be one of the few people on the East Coast certified as a level 4 breath work healer. I lead a Breathwork Healing Group every month, and offer private one on one sessions.
Anything else you want to share?
I feel so lucky to have found yoga, and to have listened to what I was made to do. To begin practicing at 42, I feel I missed so many years of the benefits, but I also feel it is the perfect testimony that it is never too late to start. Taking this turn in the road not only changed my life and my family’s life, but has created space for thousands of students to be able to experience the same thing. It’s my dream.