Once a week a band of Sunnyside residents has the good fortune to have Lindsay Erickson come to our campus and lead us in yoga practice. While Lindsay spends most of her time teaching at The Nest Yoga and Fitness Studio, every Wednesday at 3:15 in the Wellness Center she gently shows us yoga neophytes how to do the sun salutation, the cat and cow, the downward-facing dog, the tree pose, Warrior 1 and 2, and a number of other yoga poses—and everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be adept, and you can join at any time. Lindsay’s instruction style is both empathetic and supportive, and she encourages all of us with her calmness and serenity.

Lindsay grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland with her parents and her younger brother, Bryan. After attending public schools through eighth grade, she spent her high school years at Stone Ridge, a small all-girls school in Bethesda. Lindsay was always a promising athlete and was recruited by colleges for swimming. After deciding that Dartmouth might be too cold and the University of Pennsylvania too urban, Lindsay found an academic and athletic home at Washington and Lee.

Ironically, after being recruited for her prowess at swimming, Lindsay wound up running cross country instead. She majored in Business, in part because it offered the comfort of future security, but was also able to take courses in Art, Art History, and Psychology—and if she’d been able to major in any subject for the sheer love of it, she would have chosen either Psychology or Sociology.

After graduating in 2008, Lindsay took a job with the U.S. Golf Association in Colorado Springs, and (another irony) despite her athletic abilities, she doesn’t play golf. This position didn’t require her to challenge Tiger Woods, however, for she worked with a fellowship/leadership/service grant program called “For the Good of the Game.” After two years in Colorado, and not coincidentally as a consequence of the recession of 2008, the position dried up, and she moved to Richmond to put her business degree to work. There she worked at The Martin Agency, an advertising company that called on her to produce ads for television, radio, and print media.

At this point one may legitimately ask “where does yoga come into this?” Actually, while in high school Lindsay had tried some yoga classes with her mother at the Silver Spring YMCA, but she wasn’t engaged by the practice because it wasn’t “energetic” enough—she wanted to be “outdoors and active.” Over the next ten years she periodically (and desultorily) tried more yoga classes but with much the same result. Finally, in 2016, living in South Carolina and unhappy at the nonprofit where she found herself working, she took some classes and found the spiritual benefits of yoga. “It caused me to slow down,” she explained—and she became an enthusiastic practitioner.

She then decided to choose a different path for her life—to become a certified yoga instructor and to share with others how meaningful and transformative yoga practice could be. She spent a month in Costa Rica doing intensive study and practice in multi-dimensional yoga and yin-yoga, both of which explore the relationships between a person and nature. During her time there she experienced a moment of perfect peace and equilibrium. She was in nature, doing her yoga practice, aware of the beauty of the ocean and her surroundings . . . “and I realized I didn’t need anything else to be happy.” Next year she plans to return to Costa Rica to deepen her understanding of the practice and once again will return home to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with her students.

It’s impossible to talk with Lindsay and not see her passion for yoga, for travel, and for life itself. Someday she hopes to travel to Hawaii and to Thailand—not for a tropical vacation but rather to intensify her study of yoga. And at the other end of the temperature spectrum, she would also like to visit Finland, where two of her grandparents emigrated from.

In her spare time Lindsay loves to be outdoors, taking walks in nature or riding her bike. She also loves to paint and to listen to music, with bluegrass—and especially Alison Kraus—being among her favorites.

Lindsay’s serene temperament seems to emanate in part from her sense that “you need to trust that where you are now is exactly where you are meant to be.” She also draws philosophical nourishment from the realization that “the question we should ask ourselves is not ‘Why did this happen?’ but rather ‘What can I learn from this?’” And her final words of wisdom are those that yoga practitioners at all levels can relate to: “Just breathe.”

--John Noffsinger