The title for today’s blog post came from my friend and fellow yogini, Julie Bacon.  She was lying in shavasana, in deep relaxation, and I came up to her to press on her shoulders.  She opened her eyes, took in a big breath, gave me her signature smile, and said, “Franny, yoga is vital!”

I couldn’t agree more, Julie Bacon!  The yoga practice has been a part of my life for over a quarter of a century. I already know the yoga practice will always be a vital part of my life and hope to share my teaching with as many people as possible during my lifetime.

I was recently interviewed by Rachael Fairbanks of OmCulture Studio, Seattle, where I teach two classes at the Green Lake location on Monday evenings (4pm-5:15pm Gentle Hatha Yoga and 5:45pm-7pm All Levels Hatha Yoga).  The concept of vitality is embedded throughout the interview:

Why yoga?

Before I began teaching yoga, I was a college English instructor at Green River Community College (GRCC). My job was really stressful. I was not just teaching, but also having to motivate students, pass or fail them, attend faculty meetings, and hold office hours. It was a very long commute to the campus. I needed a change, but teaching was all I knew. I had wanted to be a teacher my whole life. Even as a child, I played school with my neighbors, my sister Toni, and friends, and I always pretended to be the teacher. While at GRCC, I was dealing with issues at the college and in my own life. I was having trouble breathing. My breath would get stuck in my chest. My upper back and shoulders grew tight and ached. A colleague said, “Hey, let’s sign up for a yoga class,” and so we did. That very first yoga class changed my life and set me on a new course. Immediately, I saw how yoga loosened my back. I could breathe again! With my yoga practice, I realized my problems were solvable. My new yoga practice helped to reshape my physical body. I stood taller. I became stronger, more limber, more relaxed, healthier. It also helped me build self-confidence. Most importantly, my yoga practice helped me improve my relationship with my mother. Yoga helped me to forgive and heal. I thought to myself, “OMG! I can teach this powerful practice and help others!”

What is your training/background?

It was 1991 when my colleague and I took our first yoga class. Margaret McAndrew taught and in that first class I knew I needed to take my practice further. This meant taking more classes. Most of my early classes were Iyengar style. Back in ‘91, that’s what Seattle offered. I started taking classes with Gail Malizia, Marie Svoboda, Richard Schachtel. Over the course of five years, I took classes with many Seattle teachers and attended as many workshops as I could. I have taken workshops with some inspirational teachers including Jivamukti (Sharon Gannon and David Life), Tias Little, Sarah Powers, Angela Farmer, Shiva Rea, Baron Baptiste, George Purvis, Judith Laseter, and Erich Schiffmann. Then in 1996, I got certified through the Bihar School of Yoga, the course being offered as a 300-hour Teacher Training Certification program at an ashram in Nepal.

For my continuing education, I attended Yoga Journal Conferences in Estes Park and San Francisco. As of 2019, Yoga Journal will no long hold conferences. I believe in a lifetime of learning so I will continue reading books from my personal yoga library. I’ll also continue learning from my monthly subscription to Yoga Anytime, a yoga video platform, featuring asana practice and lectures on yoga philosophy.

What are you working on now?

CLASSES: I continue to put forth energy in teaching my classes.

ADAPTIVE YOGA THERAPY: In June 2015, I became a Licensed Yoga for the Special Child® Practitioner so I teach Adaptive Yoga Therapy for special needs children as an after school program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I love it, but I don’t have enough hours in the day to supply the growing demand for this type of yoga. As a result, I am developing a training program to teach others to teach Adaptive Yoga Therapy.

WEBSITE, BLOG WRITING, YOGA EVENTS, TEACHER TRAINING, ONLINE TEACHING: I just finished developing content for my new website ( and can now return to writing my blog posts on a regular basis. I want to cast my yoga teaching net wider through my writing, travels, workshops, and retreats. I plan to offer future teacher trainings for 200 or 300 hour programs. And lastly, I’d like to develop my own online yoga classes and enrichment program.

What is your wish for your students here at OmCulture?

I want my students to be present in life and not miss out on their own lives. I want to remind each and all of my students that they are precious. I want them to feel we are all essentially good and to learn to use that goodness to live lives of compassion. Yoga delves deeply into the human experience, and I hope to bring this awareness into every yoga session I teach. My wish is that my students feel connected to themselves and to all of humanity. I wish for them to connect to their breathing, to nature, to the seasons, to wildlife, and to universal consciousness. I love building community, and my wish is that each and all of my students feel they are an integral part of a spiritual community. In this community, we put our best selves forward and we experience an unspoken support for one another.

Initially people come to yoga for various reasons, often having to do with the physical. I came to yoga because I couldn’t breathe and I was stressed. I got a remedy for that and so much more from yoga. My hope is that my students will come to my yoga class with a reason in mind and that they leave having responded to a particular need in themselves but also having discovered layers of what the yoga practice brings to their lives. I want my students to understand that what we do on the mat is a microcosm for what goes on off the mat, out in the macrocosm of the outside world. For example, when on my mat in class, I listen to my breathing and, when I leave the class, I feel the Earth breathing, metaphorically speaking. Yoga is an incredibly powerful practice and has the power to transform an individual. The yoga practice translates to a larger realm, a realm of which we are all a part.