Sarah Lindemulder has been teaching yoga since 2012, and last year, she opened her own studio – Joy Collective Yoga, where she focuses on teaching alignment-based yoga. She sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to talk about yoga, mindfulness and the summer solstice.

Answers are edited for length and clarity. Responses are quotes from Lindemulder.

How did you get smart about practicing and teaching yoga? What in your background led you to where you are today?

I had been in a career of social work, working in refugee and immigrant foster care, and I got really depressed, overworked and burnt out. I had tried yoga a few times and stumbled upon a studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I was living.

I moved to Sioux Falls eight years ago, and two friends I worked with at Coffea encouraged me ... I started offering private lessons and teaching on and off private lessons, then group classes, then started teaching at some studios in town.

Last year during the spring equinox, I opened Joy Collective.

We're all about simplicity here–can you describe what practicing yoga means to you in 10 words or fewer?

To me, yoga is about embodiment and connection with our world.

What's a common misconception about yoga, and how would you set the record straight?

The biggest thing that irks me is the idea of love and light and good vibes only which you see on shirts all the time. My understanding is it's spiritual bypassing – wishing we could pretend all the agony and suffering that is real in the world (doesn't exist).

  • We can hold the tragedy and also recognize that there's space for growth and wild joy and freedom all at the same time. All those things can be true at the same time.

It's the summer solstice – what does that mean to you in the context of yoga, and how can folks align their movements to the time of year?

The summer solstice is all about embracing the sun and the season of light and the energy of light that we have. Traditionally, people would stay up really late, have bonfires, and it's all about connection.

  • A lot of times people will do sun salutations in yoga to celebrate the solstice as a way to greet the sun. It's a great way to open up the body in all different directions.

I, specifically this year, am excited (in my Solstice Retreat in the Black Hills) – we're going to look at Gayatri Mantra, which in this translation by Douglas Brooks says:

"The eternal, earth, air, heaven/That glory, that resplendence of the sun/May we contemplate the brilliance of that light/May the sun inspire our minds."

Do you have a favorite yoga pose right now?

I have two.

My favorite pose is revolved Janu Sirsasana, or head-to-knee pose. It's all about length and expansion – you get this lovely opening in the sides of the body, which help you be able to breathe better.

One of my favorite breath work practices is skull-shining breath. I really think of it like an espresso shot – it has this super cleansing effect on the brain. You just get so much oxygen to the brain.

What's your advice for people who want to get into yoga but haven't yet?

Find a studio or find a teacher that you resonate with. You should think about it like dating.

  • Don't feel bad if the first person you go on a date with isn't your thing, isn't your flavor. It doesn't mean they're bad or wrong, it just might mean that's not what you need in this season of life.

I would also encourage folks to have multiple teachers, have multiple voices in your life.

Anything else you want the good people of Sioux Falls to know about you, Joy Collective or yoga?

The Joy Collective really exists to integrate traditional wisdom of yoga to the best of our abilities while also continuously learning from modern research and science. And that's what we exist to do and hope to embody.

Yoga is a space to be embodied and personal

  • I really want to create a space not where people can zone out, but rather that they can compassionately step into all of the challenges and also the beauties of the world that we live in.

Additionally, next month on July 20, I have a huge festival at the Good Earth Farm, and I'd love for everyone to come.

  • That will be a great day of connection, reverie and celebration of all the differences and things that also bring us together. (Learn more about that here).