In Her Words: Amy Doering
For this installment of In Her Words, our spotlight shines on Amy Doering. We chose Amy for our first feature of 2020 because she embodies what we hope this year holds for us all. She is bold, funny, loving, and adventurous.
Meet Amy Doering. Amy is, at first blush, a stay-at-home mom who lives a fairly normal life. But dig deeper and you discover how her love for yoga opens up a portal to exciting people, random experiences, and exotic vacations. Every September, she and the “Brighton Ashtanga Girls” meet in Bali to practice a yoga philosophy that each individually believes makes them better people – for themselves and for their loved ones.
Amy shared their journey, their friendships, and their boundless spirits in this letter to Helen Jon.
Janine Allis, Jess Degner, Amelia Mccombie
How It All Began…
A beginning is just that, a starting point. Where it would take me, I had no idea…and I still sit in awe and wonder as this journey unfolds.
In 2006, my American family of five took an expat position and moved to Melbourne, Australia. Upon arrival, I fell in love with a style of yoga called Ashtanga. Little did I know how much Ashtanga would give me; it has brought me deep friendships that fortify me and a beautiful and powerful practice that guides me every day.
Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice and My Teachers
To understand my journey, I want to first share the foundation for it.
Ashtanga yoga is defined by sequences, which have been learned by a devoted teacher, one asana posture at a time. Each follows an Ujjayi breath and flows together like a quiet, underwater dance, heating up the body, stilling the mind, healing both body and mind.
My first teacher was from Switzerland. Under her instruction, a small group of 10 like-minded women came together to learn and practice Ashtanga. A bond formed. We loved this special form of yoga and became deeply connected with the practice and each other. We called ourselves the “Brighton Ashtanga Girls.” Brighton because that was our beachfront town and actual home base. Over the years, however, the Brighton Ashtanga Girls evolved into our spiritual home base, and we became each other’s most trusted advisors, biggest advocates and best of friends.
Eight years later, the Brighton Ashtanga Girls decided it was time to meet with the beloved Australian Ashtanga teacher, Dena Kingsburg, and attend one of her Ashtanga Yoga retreats in Bali at the unbelievably gorgeous and magnificently run Como Uma Resort and Hotel.
This decision was one of the best ones we’ve made.
A Day in the Life on Retreat
Our yoga day begins before 7am, all gathering at the Yoga Shala in the back of Uma. The Shala is surrounded by rain forests and overlooks the vast river valley that intersects the town of Ubud. This river being the natural source of water for the thousands of acres of rice paddies surrounding the town.
We each roll out our yoga mat, spreading parallel and facing opposite the other yogis and their mats. Under a thick canopy of bamboo and on sleek, black, teak floors, we begin. The group, led by our teacher Dena, begin the practice of pranayama (breathing) for the next hour, mixed with a bit of Sanskrit prayer and meditation.
After our last chant, together we sing the traditional opening Ashtanga Sanskrit prayer, hands to our hearts thanking our past teachers and asking for peace in our multicultural world. We rise and each student begins their Mysore Style Ashtanga practice for the next hour and a half.
Once each yogi’s practice ends (each on their own, guided by their own breath and sequence), we meander to breakfast. Overlooking a stunning Koi pond, we solve all the problems of the world and find ourselves chatting well into lunch service.
From noon to midday is essentially free time. Then, at 4pm we head back to the Shala, roll out our mats, and wait for Dena. Laying underneath the braided canopy, watching the abundance of banana and coconut trees swaying to the wind off the river valley, it is surreal to imagine returning to work deadlines, children and alarm clocks.
Each afternoon in the airy Shala is a surprise, based on what Dena eyes on the mats that morning. One afternoon, for example, was spent listening to Dena create her own version of a story within The Bhagavad Gita as we curled up our mats and bolsters, like toddlers listening to our mother’s favorite fairy tale.
We end the evening with a Sanskrit prayer then each embark on dinner, sharing each other’s energy and friendship and laughing into the late hours. We awaken each morning to the local roosters and repeat. Each day different, special, yet following the same structure, much like Ashtanga itself. It is a wonderful way to spend a week.
The Helen Jon Magic: The Fit and the Feel
Helen Jon intersected this dynamic group very shortly before the 2019 trip to Bail. One of the co-owners of Helen Jon knew she couldn’t make the trip but sent beautiful Helen Jon swimwear to be photographed in the amazing Como Uma Resort and enjoyed by all.
The feedback was incredible. Women of all shapes and from all over the world had the same reaction—they felt amazing in their HJ suits and looked even better. The fabric and textures are solid and smooth, allowing one to look stunning yet feel comforted and secure whether swimming or lounging poolside. Many of these yogis are also surfers and felt that the suits could definitely multitask. I saw some of the yogis use the SPF cover-ups & board shorts to make their way through the resort with confidence and ease.
We are a wayward group of various sizes and shapes, ages and accomplishments. We are scientists, attorneys, teachers, business owners, entrepreneurs, rock stars, authors, professional photographers, an astrologist, and a stay-at-home mom. These yogis come from all over the world: Finland, Britain, Switzerland, Italy, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, America, Sweden, and Ireland to practice a yoga philosophy that we individually believe makes us better people, for ourselves and our loved ones.
Thank you, Helen Jon for being with us on our journey to Bali at the Como Uma this year, your stylish suits enabled us to smile a bit wider and laugh all that much louder.