My fourth mission for WonderBra‘s Women of Wonder project was pretty sweet: Think of the person that inspired you to discover yoga and let them know how it’s brought joy into your life.

The person who inspired my yoga journey was my good friend Lesley. When we were both students at the University of Victoria in the mid-90s, she took a semester off school to study at Yasodhara Ashram (affectionately and repeatedly referred to in the video as “the ashram”) in southeastern British Columbia. At the time, I thought it was the craziest and wildest thing a person could do. But it had an impact on me, for I started to take yoga classes at the university gym and then really got into my practice a couple of years later, when I was depressed and lonely in England.

In 2004, I also took the bold step of spending an extended period at Yasodhara Ashram – a life transition that was unthinkable to me nine years earlier – and then, like Lesley, I went on to work at ascent magazine. Through 15 years, several countries and numerous personal changes, the friendship between Lesley and I has held strong. Now, I live in Montreal and she lives with her husband and 7-year-old twin daughters in Victoria, BC. We stay in regular contact and see each other once a year or so.

It was fun to take the time to have an extended Skype call with Lesley and recount our friendship. We’ve never really talked about the role of yoga in our lives and our friendship, and it felt good to thank her for all that we’ve shared. Please bear with my elementary video skills, and I’m sorry that we only get half of Lesley’s face and my face is really big. I’m still figuring out how Call Recorder works.

Was there a particular person who inspired your discovery of yoga? What yoga-based relationships in your life are you grateful for?