Duree is a gentle and introspective soul. She is a mother and wife as well as an occupational therapist and a yoga instructor. This glimpse of spirit deals with finding the tools to both navigate our world and flourish within it. Her story reminds us of the power we each have to transform the world when we learn from and find the light within our darkest lessons. I wish to thank her for sharing her story.
Duree, you seem to have a passion to assist both mothers and daughters to better connect and move thru the adolescent years. Where does that passion come from?
My own adolescence was really difficult for me. I was bullied and healthy self-esteem became an issue for me. Looking back on those years, I feel as if I lost myself for a while. I became very quiet and shy. I also consider myself a kind person and during those years, I was not very kind to my own family.
I now understand that people bully others because they themselves are in pain. We live in high-pressure society. I feel both mothers and teenage girls have a lot to deal with. When we compete with one another, we don’t feel as if we fit in. When we feel like outsiders, we begin not to like ourselves and compare ourselves to others. This cycle produces both bullies and victims of bullying.
I feel strongly called to be an advocate against bullying. I believe in the importance of mother daughter bonding in the pre-teen/tween years. My current mother-daughter yoga classes are geared for 8-13 year olds. Girls are forming ideas about their changing bodies, emotions, and independence at this time but still listen to adults more than in the teen years. If moms and girls can stay close during these years and girls can feel confident in themselves and their bodies, I believe it can lead to more healthy and authentic life choices down the road.
As my own daughter is getting older, I want to help her and other girls to find the tools that helped me regain my own sense of self and power.
What are some of those tools Duree?
The two most significant tools for me have been yoga and meditation. I found yoga in my twenties and that has become a really important practice in my life. I instantly loved the connection of mind and body as well as the focus on a natural lifestyle. Since my adolescence, I have dealt with significant anxiety issues. The first time I rested in savasana at the end of a yoga class however, my anxiety lifted! Yoga has kept me off anxiety medications for all of these years. I use it as a tool. I titrate the dose based on how I am feeling and that has given me a tremendous sense of power.
I studied to become a yoga teacher in 2007 and I find teaching yoga helps to energize me and strengthen my voice. I just love it. Each morning I practice some form of yoga. I move, I breathe and I also slow down and dedicate time to meditation. Over the past year, I have really committed myself to these practices and have been astounded as to how spirit and synchronicities are showing up in my life.
For years, I have found glimpses on my yoga mat. I called it my “yoga buzz” and it would last for about an hour but then the anxiety and discomfort would come crashing back.
By dedicating myself to these practices, I finally feel as if my time has arrived. I no longer feel alone. I feel an enhanced sense of calm and wellbeing. I have always been blessed with a loving husband and family but now I also feel a strong sense of community surrounding and supporting me. This is the year I have found my faith again- both in myself and in general.
I have a fierce inner critic and for years, I wanted to criticize myself before anyone else could. That was my protective shell. These tools had helped me begin to listen less to that critical part of myself. When I do my practice, I hear the critic less and less. When the self-judgment returns, I increase my dose of meditation and yoga and guess what? It works!
It is for these reasons that I now wish to share and teach these tools to both teen girls and their mothers. I want to strengthen bonds and offer the tools I wish I would have known about at that age.
What advice would you give to your younger self Duree?
I can think of three things.
Well first, I would offer her a hug. I would encourage her to value herself more while reassuring her that things will get better.
Next, do the meditation. Just do it! Stop making excuses. Stop waiting for the perfect time that will never come. It is linked to the first step. Value yourself enough to carve out time for stillness. I promise you that you will feel so much better afterwards than when you started.
Finally, take what will seem like a vast leap and open up to people more! The past year has shown me that when I am vulnerable and take the risk to share myself with others, I am amazed at how things shift and open up. Be vulnerable as a way to connect to others and actually find more strength within you.
What does spirit mean to you Duree?
Spirit to me is the connection to something greater within myself. The tools I described help get me in touch with it.
When I slow down in order to find my calm canter, the world opens up for me. Meditation and yoga clean my slate so I can be who I truly am- at my core. When I sit in this calm center for a while, joy naturally arises in me. This calmness and joy offer me a glimpse of true purpose. It is a truly amazing gift.
Duree teaches yoga at the Center in Eau Claire. She offers a Mother-daughter yoga class once a month on Sunday afternoons that focuses on connection, building self-esteem, creating a craft and having fun. She also offers a weekly class on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm called “Yoga Basics”. She wishes to remind people that yoga is for everyone. You begin where you are. If you are alive, you can breathe and thus, do yoga. Her background in occupational therapy helps her adapt the practice to all bodies.
Emily Ruby says
I am Duree’s stepsister and I have always known her to be an incredibly kind amd gentle person. It was lovley to read an account of her coming into full bloom. I have a 10 year old daughter and plan on engaging her differently after reading this. Much love my sister
Thank you Emily!
Thanks Duree for sharing your story. As a mom of a teenage daughter, it truly hit home. We have such a short window of time to really be present with our daughters and to teach them these tools. I also loved your analogy in comparing yoga to anti anxiety medications –prescription for yoga and meditation to treat anxiety–great feedback for myself and my clients. Thank you again for sharing your glimpse. Thanks Aveen for writing it.