About Liz

Liz is a modern mystic who moves through the world by the beat of her heart. She believes in real conversations and deep inquiry that bring connection to life. As a yoga enthusiast, dancer, event producer, and transpersonal psychologist, Liz’s great love is sharing her passion for movement and the exploration of home as potent catalysts for transformation.

Liz is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and received her training under the tutelage of Yogarupa Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga. Through the inspiration of her primary dance teachers Michael and Anneli Molin-Skelton, co-founders of Sine Cera Movement, Liz also facilitates and produces conscious dance experiences, deeply informed by her ongoing study of 5Rhythms and Soul Motion. Her teaching style is reflective of her 25-year immersion in the traditions of ParaYoga, Iyengar, vinyasa, and kundalini; the intuitive nature of conscious dance; her fascination with how music moves the world; and the profound offerings of Buddhist meditation. Liz’s Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology weaves together the alchemy of embodiment practices and the creative catalyst of home to deepen our understanding of place and belonging, no matter where we are.

Liz’s mission is to guide you through your personal journey of self-discovery, holding you in a sacred, compassionate, empathetic space as you cultivate your sense of place – within the home, through the body, and resting at the center of the heart.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.

And live
your life.

Mary Oliver

Liz’s story

Liz’s relationship with movement began when she was three years old. Her mother was a classically-trained ballerina, and felt it was important to immerse Liz in that form of dance practice, not as a mode of self-expression, but as a discipline and a way for Liz to learn how to carry her tall body with grace. At the age of 13 Liz stopped ballet dancing at the suggestion of her teacher who convinced Liz that her body size and structure would hinder her ability to dance professionally. Nevertheless, her love for dancing never waned.

 

Her desire to belong and feel at home in her own body informed much of Liz’s childhood development. With an alcoholic father and a disciplinary mother, she internalized the messages from her confusing outside world – that her body wasn’t the right shape, that her zeal for life was too intense, that her propensity to make meaning was disproportionate to the mainstream, that her shapeshifting wasn’t powerful enough to save those in her life who suffered. To live within the structure prescribed to her, Liz poured her energy into her classical study of flute and piano, and performing academically. Much of her young life was devoted to practice and study.

 

One place where Liz retreated for respite was her bedroom. This was her wonderland. It was where she danced how she wanted to, to music that moved her. She wrote her heart out in her journal and told the truth. She sang into the reflection of herself in the windowpanes. She expressed her creativity by arranging and rearranging the furniture, creating cozy hideaways and writing nooks. She hung her awards on the walls as a reflection of her accomplishments. She taped photos and memorabilia in places where she could see them often, reminding herself that she was loved for who she was. She created a little corner of the world where she belonged. And yet, she longed for the discovery of how to take this with her, to belong everywhere.

 

In September of 1991, Liz fell asleep at the wheel of her car and woke up as she was careening down an embankment at 40 miles an hour towards the center of a deep ravine. She was on a nine-hour journey from Chicago to New Jersey for her five-year high school reunion, and was half an hour away from her destination. The cacophony of metal scraping rock and her guttural screams of terror came to a screeching, eerie silence as Liz reached the bottom of the ravine. The car folded in on itself like an accordion. The force of impact blew out all of the windows. Her body was thrown against the steering wheel and tossed back into her seat like a ragdoll. Another driver had seen Liz go off the road, and called for an ambulance. As she sat in a pool of glass, it was a severe struggle to breathe. Her first thought was that she was dying. She put her fingers on her neck to feel the reassurance of a steady pulse in her jugular vein. Then she wiggled her toes. It was evident that her collarbone had snapped in half from the seat belt. She was trapped for 45 minutes until the ambulance arrived. Once she reached the hospital, x-rays revealed that she had suffered a broken collarbone, a cracked sternum, two fractured spinal vertebrae, and a concussion. After five days in the hospital, an immobilized shoulder for four months, and eight months in a back brace, Liz’s body had healed from its injuries. And then the true healing began.

 

Traumas of this nature inevitably cause a shift in consciousness, and if we are lucky, a heightened appreciation for the sacred. In the discomfort of Liz’s injuries, the visceral reminders of the potential loss of her life were inescapable. Through her own process, Liz became aware of the auspicious orchestration of a key element of the event – the highway was six lanes wide, three lanes in each direction, separated by mostly concrete median and trees. Liz happened to fall asleep, when effectively she was not tired, at a quarter-mile break in the highway where the median contained grass and rocks. At that time in her life, Liz was living in a spiritual black hole. It was deep and vast. Five years before the accident at the age of 16, her mother had committed suicide. In the wake of that tragedy, Liz turned her back on all things spiritual. She was suffering; she was asleep. Metaphorically and literally, the accident was an awakening.

 

Liz humbly arrived at her yoga practice in 1994 after fully recovering from the injuries of the accident. She realized that her unhealthy relationship with exercise, that included running as a mechanism to manage her non-purging bulimia, could no longer continue. On one auspicious afternoon in springtime Chicago, Liz found herself in a Tower Records store standing before a shelf of yoga videos. A particular one jumped out – “Yoga Mind & Body” by Erich Schiffmann. For six years Liz practiced Erich’s video and dove fully into the philosophy and spirituality of written yogic teachings. Once she felt ready to practice in a community setting and after only two public classes, Liz knew that she had found her calling to teach movement, empowering others to liberate themselves through the body.

 

Liz’s commitment to yoga and self-exploration eventually led her to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where she was introduced to conscious dance and transpersonal psychology. It was August of 2008 and Liz was not looking for another spiritual practice. She knew nothing about conscious dance, 5Rhythms or Soul Motion, which were the practices that comprised the retreat weekend. She was simply moved to travel to her sacred home of Esalen to celebrate her 40th birthday. From the moment she stepped into the container of the dance space, Liz’s body began to move – authentically, exuberantly, freely expressed – in ways that she had only ever experienced behind the closed door of her childhood bedroom. Her mind let go, her ego fell away, and she dropped into this exquisitely beautiful, quiet, welcoming space of prayer in motion. Throughout the course of the weekend Liz felt surges of emotion move through her – ancient deep sadness, celebratory laughter, sensual longing, pure love, electric anger, true belonging. There were very few words, only soft suggestions of instruction from the teachers in a perfectly held space, and she experienced freedom, absolute scream-off-the-mountaintop, I-have-come-home-to-myself, it’s-about-time kind of freedom. The three-year-old ballerina living inside of Liz was finally able to take off her tutu and step back from the practice barre, to open the bedroom door, and to embrace and explore her love of dance that is guided from within, the purest form of grace.

 

Once conscious dance found Liz, her yoga practice shifted. It became less about making shapes and more about moving with what was next, being informed by an organic, intuitive knowing moving through her body. She allowed her feet to move off of her yoga mat and in fact, it became constricting to be limited by it. Instead her feet yearned to dance in the grass, jump up and down, spin, twirl, and skip. She followed them. Liz’s personal practice evolved into having reverence for the yoga shapes themselves, the deep dive into their container to feel how prana (life force energy) wanted to move, and the grounding force of feeling the pull of life coming up through her feet when she stood still and breathed. It allowed her to experience the sheaths of mind, body, and breath in a fresh way, and opened her up to the free-form movement of the dance that reverberated effortlessly through her consciousness. At last Liz could touch the emotional and spiritual layers of herself in their fullest expression. A new practice and a new way of teaching was birthed that honors the gifts of both the dancer and the yogi inside of Liz that celebrates movement from such an ancient place.

 

Over time, Liz’s adherence to movement as medicine and therapeutic investigation into her sense of belonging transformed her inner landscape from fearful self-loathing to compassionate curiosity. Her continual witnessing of the suffering in the world drove her evermore deeply into what she knew from the beginning – practice and study – and a deep desire to teach what she had learned through her devotion to lifelong healing. Liz pursued her Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology with an emphasis on ecopsychology, the never-ending discovery of ourselves through home and body, and she entered into the rich teachings of Buddhism through the contemporary lens of Appamada, a Zen sangha based in Austin, Texas.

 

Liz extends her hand to you from these places where her deepest healing has transpired, and invites you to join her in this profound and rich exploration of self.

Martha Graham said, “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” Liz’s class is the therapy that counsels my soul. No expectations. No choreography. Let go. Just be. The music informs me, and the dance grows organically. Self-doubt fades while genuinely honoring myself through the practice. All negativity rolls off my body, the sweet sweat of the dance. When I leave Liz’s class I am still mortal, but I take away a powerful feeling of acceptance and honor for myself. My path becomes brighter. Later on, when I get on my yoga mat at home, my body no longer allows the practice to remain static; I love that! I am grateful to be part of this beautiful, breathing, beating, dancing tribe. Liz, the beacon at its core, calls the tribe to let the dance speak to our souls.

Lori Conley

 

More testimonials