Words of Yoga
Sparrowe is an active member of the American yoga community as mentor and leader, and writer for several lifestyle magazines. She is also the author of Yoga, chronicling the history of yoga with awe-inspiring photographs, and A Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health, encouraging women to rejuvenate and strengthen themselves with the spiritual philosophy no matter their condition or stage of life.
Through her yoga and her writing, Sparrowe is the voice for all modern women’s health.
Yogi Times: What has been the most challenging aspect of your personal journey, and how has that strengthened you?
Linda Sparrowe: My relationship with my own body. Growing up, I never knew how to nourish and nurture myself, and as a result spent many years abusing it. I’m not so sure that all that has strengthened me! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? But I do know that my yoga practice keeps me grounded and firmly in my body, reminding me again and again that it’s perfect just the way it is, and that it deserves my support, my love, and my patience.
YT: What do you consider to be your greatest strength, and your deepest weakness?
Linda Sparrowe: I think sometimes that my greatest strength is also my deepest weakness! I have a deep intuitive understanding of who people are, where they are in their journey, and what they need to support themselves, heal, go to the next step or whatever. I’m known as a person who teaches and thinks with her heart, and who can make anyone feel good about themselves. The heart-based part, I think, can be also be my weakness because I don’t always know when or how to let go. It’s taken me a lifetime to separate my own feelings from someone else’s. I tend to take on your suffering and make it my own. A real drag sometimes!
YT: What gets you out of bed every day?
Linda Sparrowe: The sunshine… I am, I must admit, a bit of a Pollyanna. I love what I’m doing and I love getting up and getting to it.
YT: Who was your greatest teacher and why?
Linda Sparrowe: Wow, big question. I’ve had so many teachers over the years – both in the yoga world and beyond. But the Dalai Lama once said that those who drive you the craziest are your greatest teachers. I’ve learned so much about myself from those types of relationships! My grandmother taught me above all to act with compassion and humor and Jill Minye, a yoga teacher in Northern California reminded me to let go and to always be kind to myself.
YT: Was there a defining moment in your life that placed you on your current path?
Linda Sparrowe: When I sat on a zafu (zen meditation cushion) for the first time (as a freshman in college) and realized that I could discover a lot about myself and even experience a sense of calm abiding without turning to sex and drugs!
YT: How do you define success?
Linda Sparrowe: I know I’m successful when I can live squarely in the moment. When I can act from conviction, reflect on who I am with compassion, and accept the outcome of my actions with equanimity and grace. To be successful in any given moment is to feel happy, free, and open.
YT: What do you consider your greatest success?
Linda Sparrowe: Having an amazing relationship with my husband and our two incredible kids; having loving friends, and making a difference in the lives of my students. I love being able to share what I know with women who are struggling with everything from body image to a life-threatening illness.
YT: What brings joy into your life?
Linda Sparrowe: That relationship with my kids and my husband; teaching women to love themselves; taking walks in the incredible mountains in Boulder; being with my friends.
YT: What words of wisdom do you have to share?
Linda Sparrowe: Be as compassionate with yourself as you are with others. Yoga teaches us that out of small beginnings come great accomplishments, breath by breath, moment by moment. Yoga has the power to change your relationship with yourself. It encourages you to make friends with yourself, to make conscious and compassionate choices, and to pay attention to the outcome of those choices.
YT: What is the next step for you?
Linda Sparrowe: I’m focusing my teaching more and more on women with life-threatening conditions – reproductive cancers, for example. It’s time for me to give back what I’ve learned. I want to continue teaching teachers how to pay attention to the hearts and bodies of their students, but more importantly, I want to give the gift of yoga to women who can’t afford it, who wouldn’t have that experience otherwise.