TEACHER AND YOGA ADVISOR CHRISTINE HILLS
I was happy to have found Christine, a wonderful and well-trained yoga teacher, right here in our Tacoma community a few months back. Christine trained as a yoga teacher in the early 2000’s in Seattle like I did, and we have worked with many of the same teachers. She took a few years off from teaching while her kids were babies, and I have been delighted have her teaching some of our family yoga classes. Recently, Christine came on staff as our in-studio Yoga Advisor, a staff member whose role it is to support our new and current students. You may have spoken with Christine over the last couple of months as she was calling to find out how your yoga classes are going. I am so happy to have her be a part of our wonderful team of staff members. In January, look for her to take on some more teaching! — Erin
Practicing yoga since: The first class I attended was in 1998 with a client of mine. She had some joint issues, and had asked me to come to make sure the class was appropriate for her. I planned on taking 1-2 classes to check her alignment, and be done with it. As it happens, life had other plans….
Teaching yoga since: In 2002 I completed the Pacific Yoga 200-hour teacher training in Seattle and began to teach immediately.
Where/when do you teach?
I currently teach the Wee One’s and Mom & Baby classes at the North Tacoma studio. Sharing yoga with little ones is always a hoot! And having the opportunity to welcome new moms and their babes into a nurturing community where they can share yoga together is more of a gift to me than them. These classes are instant reminders that the only constant in life is change! I cherish each class and the students who allow me to spend time with them.
I have also recently begun spending time here as yoga advisor. This new role allows me to hopefully get to know each of you in our community, as I reach out to extend support in your yoga practice and listen to your personal experiences here at Source. I graciously look forward to this position, as well as teaching a few more classes in 2016.
Reading, hiking, baking, music, and PBS documentaries. I suppose I should add my family, as a hobby is really how you spend your time, correct? In this phase of life, I most definitely spend more time with my family than I do reading or watching PBS!
And while I can’t hold a tune and have never had lessons on anything other than the recorder back in 3rd grade, music has always been a huge part of life. Brandi Carlile is my current musical muse….her music is rootsy & poetic, yet they’re also fun sing-along-road-trip-songs that the kids like too!
What non-yoga book are you reading/did you recently read?
I am most recently reading (and surprisingly enjoying) For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. It was introduced to me by a good friend, and have to say I was skeptical; it appeared to me a stereotypically fluffy self-help book for “moms who try to do too much”. What I’ve found is a witty, engaging, fresh, and lyrical take on how we interact with ourselves and others. It’s a light read, which is nice at the end of the day, and it has helped me approach myself and my family with perhaps a little more grace.
What yoga book do you recommend?
Oh my. How do you narrow it down?? There are definitely ones that I return to again and again for various reasons, but have to say The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar is perhaps at the top of the list. I know part of this is sentimental, as it was the very first yoga book that I ever read, but I also feel it offers exceptional teachings on the essence of yoga. Beginning with a brief history of Sri Krishnamacharya, it continues with yoga philosophy including the Yoga Sutras, asana instruction, pranayama (breath work), and more. While perhaps not the most in-depth narrative, it offers traditional teachings from (in my mind) one of the most authentic, respected teachers (or “student”, as he refers to himself) of yoga, TKV Desikachar.
ALSO…..(I couldn’t stop at just one, could I??)…..the anatomy geek part of me loves and highly recommends (to other anatomy geek-type folks), the Anatomy of Hatha Yoga by H. David Coulter. Written by a neuroscientist, it offers in painstakingly wordy detail what is happening anatomically and physiologically within each pose. I love it. And it also functions rather nicely as a doorstop.
What’s your favorite yoga practice/pose and why?
Ardha Chandrasana (half-moon pose). While the front of your body is open, offering a sensation of freedom and space, you are equally grounding down and lengthening out in all directions. All this while drawing the mind internally to create the balance necessary to stay in the pose. The perfect balance between being connected to the earth yet reaching for the stars (or moon!).
What’s one secret that helps you stay healthy?
Laughter. Oh, there’s all the physiological reasons laughter is good for your body. But perhaps more importantly is our mental health. And a good laugh-best shared with a friend-keeps body and mind in a healthy state.
Also: kale. Shredded, sautéed, roasted, with bacon or without, in soups, stews or salads……. Kale is the oat bran of the 21st century. (“Kale yeah!”)
What’s something that currently inspires you?
The documentary “Winged Migration”. Every Autumn for the past few years I have had a “Winged Migration” party where our entire family looks forward to watching the movie together (ok, maybe I’M the only one who looks forward to this, as the rest of the family recently have found ways to “migrate” off to do their own thing). Anyhow, each time I watch it I am awed and inspired by nature’s rhythm of life and the innate ability of birds as they embark on this journey each Fall and Spring. And here I can barely get it together to get the kids to school on time.
What’s your favorite place to travel?
Anywhere outdoors and in the mountains. Traveling to exotic beaches and far-away lands are fantastic for sure, but most times I would rather hop in the car and explore our own backyard. The North Cascades, Chinook Pass, Montana, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon are definitely some of my favorites. But then again, Paris was pretty nice too…….
Anything you want to share with our community?
Can you share a favorite recipe?
Yes! This slow-cooker soup (it’s Autumn-of course it’s a slow-cooker soup recipe!) is healthy, hearty, vegetarian (vegan, even), inexpensive, gluten-free, tasty, and soooo easy my 4 year-old practically makes it herself. We have this at least once per month. I double the recipe for lots of leftovers.
FLAGEOLET BEANS WITH ROSEMARY AND THYME
12 oz. dried flageolet beans (cannellini or small white beans are fine; no need to soak the beans beforehand, as they cook up tender straight from the package)
6 garlic cloves, peeled (not chopped; left whole)
2 tsp. kosher salt (I use less, maybe half; and always sea salt)
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves (plus sprigs if you like fancy garnish)
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (again, plus sprigs to impress your friends)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices on a diagonal (I always throw in an extra carrot or two)
About 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (never be stingy with the olive oil)
¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
5 cups boiling water
Put all ingredients including 2 Tbsp. oil (but not the fancy sprigs or parsley) in a 4-to-6 quart slow-cooker. Add the 5 cups boiling water and stir. Cover and do whatever you please while the slow-cooker works its magic…..until most of liquid is absorbed and beans are very tender: 2 ½ to 3 hours on high or 4 to 4 ½ hours on low.
Stir in 3 Tbsp. parsley. Ladle into serving bowls and drizzle with more olive oil. Garnish with rosemary and thyme sprigs if desired and the rest of the parsley.
*We also like to add freshly grated parmesan cheese. And in case you’re wondering….why yes, you CAN add kale to it. Quite yummy, indeed. Serve it with flakey, buttery, cheddar-buttermilk biscuits (forget about the gluten-free/healthy/vegan part above), cuddle up next to a fire and enjoy a quiet, soup-filled Autumn supper.