Hello friends! My name is Deb Hill-Davis and I live in Des Moines, Iowa with my husband, Todd. Our two adult children live out of state: Sarah in New Orleans and Bridget in Lincoln, Nebraska. I am a minister, currently serving Unity Church of Ames. It is a part-time ministry, if there is such a thing. It is a second career for me. I began taking Seminary summer session and online classes in 2007, and in 2010 I retired from 31 years as a school psychologist with DMPS and started attending Seminary full time. I graduated and was ordained in 2012.
I also practice Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, which blends very well with my yoga and other spiritual practices. It is a journey that has complemented Mary’s yoga journey and we share many, many spiritual insights, practices and “aha” moments. It is wonderful to enjoy Mary as teacher in this yoga/spiritual journey and just receive on Monday nights!
How did I get to yoga in the first place? It was 1998 and I needed to do something to get my aging body in shape. I have never liked gyms or “working out” and I wanted something that strengthened, conditioned, and restored my flexibility. Sounds like yoga, right? A friend attended a yoga class in Valley Junction on Monday evenings, so my husband and I decided to give it a try. The teachers, Marcie and Julie, were very welcoming and unfazed by our lack of experience and skill. I loved it and could hardly wait until the next Monday for class. I was hooked! Slowly, over time I could feel my body getting stronger and more flexible. I no longer had episodes of back pain from getting out of the car “the wrong way” or planting flowers in my garden. Yoga was my path!
And then, as life happens, Marcie moved to California and along came Mary! We attended her very first class that was held in Marcie’s basement yoga studio. I think she was only 22 at the time, but she did a good job and was clearly devoted to wellness and a yoga practice. I have been a student of Mary’s since that time, only taking time off to go to Seminary in Lee’s Summit, MO. There were no online classes in 2010. It would take 10 years and a pandemic to put Mary online for all to access, which has been a true gift of the pandemic.
The most powerful gifts of yoga have been to get me out of my “head” and into my body where all true healing, whatever kind, happens. Heart-opening poses have knocked me for a loop at times and connected me with feelings I didn’t know I had. Fish pose was one of those experiences! While not always pleasant, the heart-opening experience stayed with me to help heal relationships with loved ones and family members. Yoga is a powerful teacher, on and off the mat.
What is such a blessing about Mary’s yoga teaching is that she “gets” this and supports us not only on the mat, but in recognizing and realizing the power of our yoga practice off the mat, as well. Her additional understanding and inclusion of the spiritual aspects of yoga are especially valuable and meaningful. I have sampled yoga classes in Kansas City, Massachusetts, and elsewhere, and none have had the depth of spiritual energy that Mary brings to the mat and the Kula. She has truly created a yoga community that I celebrate and hope to be a part of for many years to come.