Trailblazer: Gioconda Parker
Today's Trailblazer is Austin-based yoga teacher Gioconda Parker, who has been practicing, teaching and studying yoga for over 15 years. In 2008, she initiated and co-founded the community movement “Changing the World, One Om at a Time,” a seva project designed to unite yoga communities in practice and service. Embodying the idea that teachers must also be students, Gioconda is currently enrolled in studies at Sofia University pursuing a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and Life Coaching and ongoing studies in Ayurveda and Somatics. She is also proud to be representing Wanderlust Yoga Austin (the first studio in the growing Wanderlust studio family) at Wanderlust Colorado this July. Here, Gioconda shares with us her answers to our five trailblazing questions:
WL - What aspects of yoga/meditation/spirituality do you bring to your work?
GP - I believe yoga is the art of becoming who we truly are. The practice of yoga does not change who we are, but rather helps us to shed who we are not, so that our true essence can shine through. Our bodies are precious, and are a gift to be treasured, honored and explored. We are born with innate intelligence; the body is a direct link to wisdom.
I believe that as we live more fully and completely within the wisdom of the body, we become aware of the natural world in which the body resides and on which the body depends. This awareness leads us to seek out and appreciate time in the natural world, and the relationship we build calls us through love to honor and protect it.
I hold the vision that as fully embodied human beings, we follow an intelligence that knows source within itself and honors source outside of itself. This wisdom guides us to our deepest and most authentic expression of the divine in the world. As we live that authentic expression, we provoke and uphold it in others.
My classes reflect these beliefs, and promote the experience of empowered and compassionate living, attuning us to our bodies, our selves, and our world.
WL - How did you get involved with yoga?
GP - My first yoga practice was with Patricia Walden’s Yoga for Beginners VHS tape. (which somewhat dates the experience…) In the middle of Virabhadrasana Two (warrior two) she said, “Feel the strength and confidence of the warrior.” And it was a huge “a-ha” moment for me. I started to think about how long it had been since I’d felt that, and realized right there on my mat that day that some things in my life had to change. I’ve been hooked since.
WL - What’s your favorite pose?
GP - Wow, that’s a tough question. It changes all the time. Currently, it’s Parsvakonasana (side angle). I love feeling powerful lines of energy that connect through the whole body, and lately I’ve been loving the powerful anchor of the back leg and foot combined with the incredible extension through the side body, shoulder and arm. I’m playing with that same line in Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand).
WL - What’s feeding your Wanderlust today?
GP - Today I’m developing a vinyasa sequence to honor Bhuvaneshwari at the Goddess Rising Yogini Retreat I have coming in Tulum this month. I love working on this retreat, knowing our practices will be Oceanside and our days will be filled soaking up all the goodness that drew the Mayan people there before us.
WL - If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
GP - A tradition that values traveling the world to see the planet in all her beauty and to connect with people of other nations and traditions. If we connect deeply to beauty of nature, we discover our inner desire to care for and preserve it. If we connect deeply with other human beings, we remember our kinship and commonality and we open our hearts.