A poet, teacher, writer, and speaker, Alexa Mergen has practiced yoga since 1994 and taught writing in community settings since 2003. Curious about the intersections of poetry and yoga, she began a workshop out of her Sacramento living room, At Home in Our Bodies. The quality of the poems generated and participants’ reports of the lasting effects of the breath practices, led her to create a public offering, Meditation, Movement and Verse. Alexa believes we must care for the world as well as ourselves. In the popular Day Poems workshops, mindfulness and observation lead to juxtapositions of the non-human and the human, the quotidian with the historical.
For Alexa, writing is reverence, a way of witnessing and communicating sorrows and wonders. She studied literature, South Asian studies and writing at UC-Berkeley, George Washington University, and UC-Irvine, and yoga and meditation in several traditions with skillful teachers throughout the country. In the spirit of svadhyaya, she continues to learn through home practice, books and teaching.
Carefully composed yoga classes offer Alexa’s students opportunities to deeply explore the body’s relationship with intellect and psyche. Though she occasionally recites poems that tie-in with a class theme, more often Alexa intuitively draws on her poetry background to create original metaphors to explain a pose or guide a meditation. Every class or workshop is unique.
Whether teaching yoga under the fluorescent light of a conference room, beneath an oak tree in the California foothills or within the serene space of an urban studio, Alexa provides gentle, clear guidance, leavened with humor, so students can ask their own questions and trust their own wisdom in service to their own values. Alexa’s powerful and sincere poems appear in a variety of journals and garner national recognition; she remains most touched, though, by a standing ovation received from students at California State Prison-Sacramento for “Hand on Heart.”
“Hand on Heart” (28 seconds)