Known for her warm smile and positive energy, Lisa Day is a yoga and Pilates teacher in Jupiter, FL. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Lisa was a life-long perfectionist, and overachiever, who seemingly had everything she could want, yet deep down was driven and haunted by a belief that she was not enough. Serendipitously, the pain from multiple injuries, worsened by long work days at a desk brought her to Pilates and then to Forrest Yoga. Overtime, these practices healed her broken back and slowly her bruised spirit as well. This experience of transformation lead her to become a teacher, now specializing in working with injuries and chronic pain.
What do I do best?
I am willing to be afraid. We all reach points in our lives where that little voice deep inside (gut, spirit, whatever you call it) pulls us in a new direction - this may be a change of career, relationship, home - the bigger the change, the scarier it is. Over the past couple of years I’ve done all of those things, leaving my salaried job, my friends, family and home in CA to follow a call that I was terrified of but couldn’t deny, moving to the beaches of South FL and becoming a full time yoga and Pilates teacher.
Almost everyone who witnessed or has heard that story had a similar response along the lines of “That’s amazing. You’re so inspiring. I wish I could do that.” These responses show two things:
1. Every time we’re willing to step out of our comfort zone, we give the people permission around us to do the same. Vulnerability is what connects us.
2. We’re taught that feeling fear somehow makes us weak. Bravery, however, requires feeling fear and if something doesn’t scare us, we’re likely not dreaming big enough. The greatest breakthroughs in my life have come in the times when I was terrified . . but I was also excited or at least curious as to what lie beyond the fear. That’s what I do best - I feel fear. I haven’t managed to become bulletproof or immune to it. I’ve simply realized that fear doesn’t have to stop me and that makes anything possible.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Love. For people, my practice, my beliefs, my community. My passion is what drives me - to learn more, to do more, to grow and evolve and to help others do the same. No amount of work is too much, no struggle too great when I’m inspired. When I find myself getting frustrated or apathetic, it’s a signal that I’ve either drifted away from what’s important or I’m acting out of fear or out of a sense of what I “should” do rather than what feels true for me.
What are my aspirations?
Community is deeply important to me. In a world that creates so much division I believe that we are each our best when we come together to inspire, challenge and support one another. Personally and professionally, I love bringing people together. I dream of building a retreat center that would be a center for healing, blending modalities such as yoga and Pilates with massage and other forms of bodywork, therapy, nutrition, and Eastern as well as Western medicine. A place for classes, trainings, treatments, retreats or just a cup of tea and conversation with other folk dedicated to their own personal evolution.
My Biggest Success?
Completing the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training was one of the most transformative periods of my life. Though I’ve been gifted with many opportunities, I’ve never before or since been simultaneously challenged on so many levels at once - physically, mentally, energetically, emotionally. I’m still not even sure why I did it. It required a significant investment of time and $. I was not a great yogi and I had no intentions to teach. Yet I had found so much healing, both for my broken, injured body as well as my mind and sense of self through Forrest Yoga - some small voice inside me insisted that I take this next step.
Even the decision process of whether or not to sign up brought up all the beliefs I had about how I wasn’t good enough and what a stupid idea this was. The little voice inside would not be silenced though and one by one the roadblocks moved aside.
The training itself was INTENSE. Long days demanded I show up fully - not hiding behind my shields or stories of how weak or not enough I was. Finally, about 2 weeks into the training as I was driving home one night, exhausted yet exhilarated from the day, remembering everything we had done and thinking how much strength it took to accomplish all that, it hit me - Yes, this was HARD. It took tremendous strength and vulnerability to do it - and here I was doing it!! All those stories I had about what I was and was not capable of, were exactly that - stories, not truth. That moment taught me the most important lesson of my life - I can do anything by following the voice of my spirit rather than the stories of my fear.
My Most Challenging Moment?
About 6 years ago, a long term relationship ended, leaving me feeling lost and hollow. I found myself grieving not the relationship which had run it’s course and likely should have ended much sooner than it did, but the loss of my sense of self, feeling acutely how much of myself I had packed away and lost touch with in order to be in that relationship. I didn’t even know where to begin to find the person I wanted to be so I started my journey back to wholeness but simply staying as busy as I could be, finding anything that seemed interesting to fill my time so I didn’t have to sit alone with the aching hole inside.
Slowly, over time, I realized that happiness is an inside job. If I wanted more energy, peace and passion for my life, it was up to me to find out how to bring in more of the things that lit me up as well as to also clear out the habits, foods, activities, people, and beliefs that kept me stuck.
I started small, taking classes in things I was interested in, cut down on my time in front of the tv and the number of glasses of wine I had in a week. One step led to another. I moved to a town I had always wanted to live in which also reduced my commute by almost an hour. I used that time to start regularly attending yoga and Pilates classes at a local studio, connecting with other folks from all walks of life who were also looking for a deeper sense of connection to themselves and to others. Eventually that led to taking the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training and then Pilates Teacher Training, teaching public classes . . . . all leading up to where I am today. There was no single moment of clarity or overnight change, just lots and lots of baby steps following the bread crumbs my spirit was guiding me forward with.
When I feel fear, stress or anxiety start to wash over me, particularly when I know it means having a potentially uncomfortable conversation with someone, I silently repeat a line from one of Brene Brown’s books, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” to myself: “Don’t shrink, don’t puff up, stand your sacred ground.”
It reminds me that I don’t have to make myself small for someone else and I also don’t need to get rude or angry to hide my discomfort. I just need to be willing to be vulnerable enough to stay connected to what matters.
Another one is a simple yet powerful phrase that my yoga teacher, Ana Forrest, uses frequently, most commonly in reference to a pose she’s asking us to attempt but which I’ve found applies to any situation: “What part of this can I do?” There’s always something even if it’s to just keep breathing.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I gravitate towards people, both those I know personally and those I only know through their work, who are unapologetically authentic as they inspire and encourage me to be my biggest, brightest self as well. So many of us spend years trying to dull our unique sparkle hoping to find love and acceptance only to end feeling alone, not enough and simultaneously, too much. To choose to fully embody and own all the parts of us, especially the ones that we think make us weird or unlovable is the single most powerful step towards self-love and creating a life that we truly want to live, rather than slowly endure.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
The beach has always been my happy place. Walking along the water, feeling my feet sink into the sand while listening to the sounds of the waves and watching them roll in and out is not only grounding and deeply soothing to my spirit but it reconnects me with the vastness of the universe. In times of stress or struggle, it can be easy to get caught up in my own world
I also love to travel and discover new places whether it’s locally exploring my new state (Florida) or flying off to someplace new. I love delicious food so New Orleans, Austin, Portland and my hometown, the San Francisco Bay Area are always top destinations. Top of my travel list these days? Hawaii, Morocco & Tahiti, after all, is there really such thing as spending too much time near the water?
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the things I can’t live without are my phone and computer. Technology has become such a part of our lives, it’s become invasive; however, these two tools are indispensable for helping me build and run my business as well as keep me in touch with my family across the country and friends across the world.
The other things that bring me joy are my paddleboard, Pandora radio for road trips and a good book.
My Current Passions?
I was recently in Las Vegas for a wedding where a good friend and I watched one of the Cirque du Soliel shows and were completely in awe of the amazing and almost unbelievable thing the performers could do with their bodies. After too many years of hating and shaming my body, my yoga and Pilates practices have helped me build a new relationship with it. I feel strong and delight in what my body is capable of when I treat it with love and respect. I can do things now that I never would have imagined, so why not take some inspiration from these awe-inspiring athletes.
So from across the country, my friend and I are working on improving our gymnastic strength (me) and flexibility (him) with the dream of being able to someday achieve even a small piece of what we witnessed. It’s humbling and also a lot of fun!