The Yoga Loft Storybook: Leah Piepgras


Why/When/Where did you start practicing yoga?
I started doing yoga as a child in my living room in San Antonio, Texas.  My mom had lived in Kathmandu, Nepal right before I was born and brought home a Tibetan thangka with a painting of the wheel of life, which hung in the room.  As a child of course I was just doing neat tricks with my limber body and looking at a huge, beautiful painting.  As an adult I would do a little yoga here and there but it wasn’t until 2008 that I started practicing regularly.  I started first at home when I was recovering from spinal surgery and really took it slowly. I needed to get back into my body after so much pain. I did not trust myself to practice in a room full of other people because there is always the ego pushing you to do a little more and I did not want to hurt myself.  In (maybe) 2013 I took my first class with Larisa at The Loft.  It felt like a big hug and I was hooked.

How has yoga changed/influenced your life?
I practice yoga several times a week now in a formal way at The Loft and at home.  In addition, I do standing poses while working in my art studio as a way to build heat (my studio is cold!) and as a way to focus on looking at a painting or sculpture when I am trying to work something out.  It is also a great way to stretch and relieve muscle tension after holding a position working on a detailed part of a painting or rigorous plaster pour.  Mentally, basic yogic principles influence how I make art that communicates these same ideas in a visual language, and also how I live.

What has been your experience practicing at The Yoga Loft?
I love practicing at the Yoga Loft!  I love seeing friends from my community and people whose names I don’t even know all coming together and taking the time to quietly nourish themselves and (to quote Larisa) “breathe for the other people in the room”.  I love taking the time to dedicate my movements and breathing to someone I hold in my thoughts in an active prayer (for me, so much like making art!).

Anything else you wish to share about your yoga journey?
Recently, I have been going to a new class taught by Julie at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesdays with my husband Colin.  I love the early time and that we get to go together because he can finally make it happen before work!  So amazing to start the day in darkness and have the sun start to stream in as we practice. To see my art: or leah_piepgras on instagram 

Would you like to share your yoga journey for The Yoga Loft Storybook? Please send us an email!

Rebecca Reitz