Student Spotlight: Terri Johnson

My name is Terri Johnson and I live in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. I am married to Dick and I enjoy being a mom and grandma. I have five grandkids and three of them are currently teenagers.

I have studied yoga for about 19 years, almost all of these years with Mary. I started taking classes when I worked at The Principal Financial Group to try and reduce my stress level. It took one six-week session to really start enjoying the benefits, and I have not looked back.

I believe that my yoga practice has improved my life in quite a few ways. I feel balanced most of the time and physically, I am more flexible and stronger. When I start feeling icky or stuck, I know that I probably need some yoga. With Mary’s guidance, I have learned more about meditation and breathwork and have added this to my home practice. Yoga also helps me to be able to enjoy other activities such as walking, biking, and swimming.

With Mary’s classes, you can always expect something new and well thought out. During the pandemic, she helped me maintain my yoga practice and develop a strong home practice with her online classes. Many times I recognize the theme or desired result of the practice. Mary is always learning and expanding her practice and so her students get to do the same. She seeks new knowledge and skills to share with her students. Over the years, I have been blessed to learn with her and explore different yoga styles and techniques.

I have been able to attend many wonderful yoga classes and workshops. A favorite was a yoga retreat at Lake Aquahbi in the fall of 2020. This was during the pandemic and held outside. We enjoyed a hike with others and practiced yoga by the lake. A nice warm fire was going during our time to learn, share, and reflect. Mary is so thoughtful and her retreats are wonderful experiences.

In addition to the classes I like to do online, I can’t wait to practice yoga with Mary in the park this summer. Over the past 10-12 years, Mary has volunteered her time and teaches at least one “Yoga in the Park” class. This summer she will be teaching every Wednesday evening from 6 – 6:45 pm in the greenspace at Clive Aquatic Center in partnership with Clive Parks & Rec. I have introduced her to many of my friends at these free classes. It is really important to Mary to share the practice of yoga in the community helping others “feel good at any age.” Mary supports the free yoga programs around the Greater Des Moines area and is grateful there is a space and place for all yogis. Yoga is for every body and Mary teaches this in all of her classes. Modifications are provided and her language invites new and experienced students to listen to their own bodies and practice with resilience and grace.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to almost all 50 states between my job and fun trips. I noticed that so many places have a feel of their own and some places just call you back. The people are different, the landscape is very different, all within our own USA. I have also been able to cruise out of the USA and drive into Canada. Even more fun! When you get home you are so energized by being someplace different. I love sharing these experiences with family and friends and this makes the experience even more special. I have loved so many of my trips, but a favorite was to South Beach Miami with two great friends. We sat on the beach under a beach umbrella and we swam and swam. I have had many wonderful trips with my husband, parents, sisters, kids and grandkids. Way too many to pick a favorite.

I really enjoy traveling and I am excited to get back out there in 2021.