As you walk through city and suburban streets it is common to see yoga studios, people wearing yoga clothes or yogis with a mat in tow.

Most of us don’t think twice about it.

It’s different in rural America. There you’ll more likely see a hunter wearing camouflage with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

On occasion I still hear a comment like, “If you participate in yoga you will go to hell,” or I get the occasional “Jesus Saves” sticker adhered to one of my flyers.

You may find this hard to believe, but there are still residents here that have never heard of yoga. Because of this, I feel compelled to share my story as a “Rural Yogini /Yoga Teacher” and tell the story of yoga in the remote parts of our country.

I have been teaching and practicing yoga for 23 years. My yoga roots began at the Kripalu Center with Yogi Desai. From there I continued steadfast on this wonderful journey of self-realization, sharing it with others as my right livelihood.

My teaching formally began in Florida, where yoga was quite accepted in 1990. In 1996 I felt guided to move to the North Carolina Smoky Mountains, to an area that is barely on the map. Living in the Appalachians has been a 17-year delight, and I have come to love the richness of the local culture and community.

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