Elle Potter is the founder of a yoga-based non-profit Yoga Buzz in St. Louis, Missouri. With a mission of making the practice of yoga accessible to all, Yoga Buzz focuses on approaches to yoga that are adaptive, inclusive, and trauma-informed. Since 2016, Elle and the Yoga Buzz faculty have graduated a widely diverse group of 119 individuals from the organization's 200-hour yoga teacher training program. After a decade of teaching yoga, Elle is committed to sharing the practice of yoga beyond the physical, and breaking the perception of who can do yoga.
What do I do best?
It’s funny – the second I start to answer this question, my inner critic has a whooooole lot of opinions about why whatever-i’m-about-to-say isn’t actually something that I’m any good at. So I guess that one of the things I’m best at is getting in my own way. But if I can get around that, I think what I do best is build community. I like to work to ensure people feel genuinely welcome and included.
What makes me the best version of myself?
What makes me the best version of myself is my relationships. In the last few years especially, I have developed really close friendships with people I really respect and admire. I have worked to form relationships with people who have different views and experiences in their life, so I can broaden my perspective of the world. Those friendships have pushed me to open my eyes in new ways and to new conversations, and are constantly challenging me to learn and grow by acknowledging the things I do not know.
What are my aspirations?
Right now, my main aspiration pertains to both my personal and business goals – I am striving to find work-life balance. The job I have built has come directly from my heart, which means it is incredibly vulnerable and personal. But that makes it easy for me to become so entangled in the work that it isn’t always clear where I end and the work begins.
My Biggest Success?
My biggest success has been my commitment to my own mental health. I experienced a mental health crisis early in 2014, and have been in therapy ever since. It hasn’t been easy to really look inward to my own insecurities, misgivings, challenges, etc., but I’ve kept showing up anyway. Because of this really hard work I’ve done to understand myself and grow from those lessons, I have developed the ability to cultivate intimacy and vulnerability in relationships with my friends, colleagues, and most importantly, my husband. I am incredibly proud of my marriage, and I recognize that our strength as a couple and ability to communicate like we do would not exist if it wasn’t for the work I’ve done on my Self.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Definitely my mental health crisis. I came face to face with all of my insecurities, and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t side-step it. I felt very alone in the midst of my diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder – I didn’t know (or at least didn’t realize I knew) anyone who had the same struggle, and there was a lot of shame wrapped up in it for me. It was the darkest time in my life I can remember, but a lot of light has come from persevering through those shadows.
I once met an elderly woman named Roslyn who I very much admired, even though I didn’t know her personally. The last time I ever spoke to her, she said, “Darling, I wish you all the little bluebirds in the world.” I carry that wish with me everywhere, and keep an eye out for little bluebirds of happiness wherever I go.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My favorite people are the folks I’ve met through Yoga Buzz. I am especially grateful for my colleagues and peers, who have stood by me through the creation of this non-profit. I couldn’t do what I do without them, nor would any of this exist without them.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Anywhere lush and green!
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My favorite product right now is my cell phone, mainly because I deleted all of my apps off of it and now I’m free from the lure of its social media temptations!
My Current Passions?
I’m trying to figure out what my passions are beyond my profession – obviously my professional passion is inclusivity and community building, but I’m eager to find more of what fills me up personally.