Teacher Profile: Merril Doty

It's been awhile, but here's a bit about one of our favorite teachers, Merril!!

Cassi first introduced to me Merril as a recommendation for subbing family class. When we met, I could tell right away that she belonged here. She's warm, grounded and light-hearted. Over the past few years, she is always eager to help out at the studio where she can, either with subbing classes or picking up shifts at the desk or helping with teacher training. She's been an invaluable asset to our community and I'm so happy that she's with us. 

Her kids classes and adult classes all are soothing and compassionate, but also have an element of fun and playfulness to them. She is a big advocate for self-expression and this is shown in the way that she offers students options in class and encourages all to find their own unique expression of yoga. 

Hometown: Chicago suburbs 

Favorite Color: Burgundy  

Favorite Yoga Pose: Supta Kurmasana, (reclined tortoise pose)

Least Favorite: (Why) Probable revolved chair pose. It feels like I'm navigating a public bathroom! 

Sign: Cancer sun, Libra rising, Sagittarius moon. 

Favorite Place: The woods.

Movie: I Am Love, and Sense and Sensibility... or the Miss Marple murder series from the 80s and 90s, which I guess was a tv show, but each episode was long enough to be a movie... 

Why do you teach Yoga? 

I truly believe that movement is medicine. It has been my medicine, and seems to be so for others as well. Coming from a dance background, I felt obliged to move my body in ways that I was told to move. While yoga has a certain degree of discipline and structure, I like to teach in a way that supports my students to use that structure to support their bodies in healthful and creative ways. My main goal is to provide space for even more space-making, and ultimately, freedom. 

How do you define Yoga?  

The definition of Yoga is "to union, or yolk". It's the bringing together of the mind, body, and spirit together toward one purpose and one experience. There are not many other activities where I have actually felt that unification occurring within myself as well as with others.

What would your last meal be? 

Some kind of curry, or pasta. And cabbage. And tea.

The band you can't live without? 

I'm pretty fickle when it comes to a favorite band, but Celtic-y folk music never fails to lift my mood.

Most empowering moment? 

I was teaching a meditation for kids class, and there was this one particularly anxious boy. He could not stop talking, giving observations, or telling other kids when they are being unsafe. Toward the end, I taught them the "lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu", chant, and then we did some coloring. During the ten or so minutes that we were coloring, the boy kept chanting. He finally found a tool to focus and calm his numerous thoughts. Pretty much any time a student tells me or demonstrates that some element of my class really resonated with them, I feel really honored and empowered as a teacher. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would it be and what would you do?  Either Wales to study folk dancing, or Japan to study Butoh, or Tibet to meditate and practice yoga. Indecision is one of my greatest obstacles...

When you aren't teaching yoga, what can you be found doing? 

Probably walking in the woods, or reading about trees. Or fiddling with essential oils. Or watching the Great British Bake Off. 

Three fun facts we don't know about you? :)

1. I write with my write hand, but I play harmonium with my left...

2. I've always been pretty good at giving relationship advice...

3. Rabbits are my favorite animal, but I've yet to own one... yet...

You can find Merril at TULA on Tuesday mornings at 6:30am & 8:30am and she teaches a Baby & Me class on Wednesdays at 10:30am. In addition to teaching at the studio, she is also often at the desk helping with managing as well.