Mary Harlan

Mary Harlan

Having been a professional ballet dancer who has danced in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and throughout the Midwest, to a professional mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing guide, and ski guide, to studying for a MS in Environmental Education, to becoming a professional climber, or running 50 mile running races and skiing in 40 mile ski mountaineering races, one thread has run constant throughout the physical, mental, and spiritual challenges I have faced: yoga.

In 1996, while studying ballet at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, I first experienced the benefits of yoga. In 2004, I began to study Ashtanga/ Vinyasa while studying and traveling North America with the Audubon Expedition Institute during my Master’s program. In 2008, I was introduced to Bikram and hot Hatha, and was instantly hooked. Today, I practice a variety of styles of yoga that help to stretch and strengthen the muscle groups I am using in whatever activity I am currently engaged in, whether it be climbing, trail running, or Nordic skiing.

During the last 4 years, I have specifically began a personal journey studying and researching how the feet, and how we treat our feet, as well as how we walk, can have either positive or negative effects on every facet of our physical well-being. Included in my studies is how a weak or strong core also can positively or negatively affect our lives. Throughout my research, I have made many discoveries that have allowed me to remain injury free in my chosen sports, have a successful pregnancy and to be much stronger afterwards, and how to carry myself in the world with confidence and self-esteem despite adversity. It has taken me on a spiritual journey with the natural world, humanity, and myself.

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