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"Yoga Saved My Life." Learning to Breathe with Paige Trisko

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Paige Trisko at Art in the Loft. She was teaching the yoga portion of a Creative Awakening class, and it was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I had had in a long time. After a guided meditation, I felt awakened, focused, and ready to enjoy the art portion of the day I had previously been a little apprehensive over with a newfound sense of peace.

I met with Paige in her lovely home, where she regularly conducts sessions for clients. Her yoga studio was warm and inviting, and an impressive array of drums and bowls were positioned neatly in the corner. There was a lot in the space, but it wasn't cluttered. It felt homey, and professional without being cold. While I took in the space, Paige told me a bit about herself. She owns Karmic Roots Yoga, although it's not a path she would have predicted for herself when she was growing up in northern Michigan.

Paige Trisko sound bath Michele Zee Photography

I can't say enough how grateful I am to have been invited into Paige's home, and to have had the pleasure of speaking with her about everything from cat names to divorce to breath work. I learned that she lived in Japan with her family while growing up, and that she's planning a novel based loosely around a culinary road trip she and her mother took around the United States. I sincerely hope that I did justice in portraying what a beautiful soul Paige is, and the healing she's bringing to Michigan.

Where are you originally from?

I grew up in Hillman. On a farm north of Hillman, over in Royston.

Did you ever think you'd end up back here?

No! I just moved here (this house) in February, March, and my divorce was finalized in April. That was my opportunity. If I was going to move somewhere, that was it. This business is a baby business, it can go anywhere I want it to go. This community is holding me. This is my home base.

Did you leave once you graduated high school?

I did. I went away to college and I did four years at Albion...I got a really amazing scholarship opportunity there, being from a rural area. So that had a real advantage when it came time for scholarships. It was an academic scholarship, of course, but they were looking for someone from a rural area. So I went there, and I moved back after because I had a job offer for a grant funded position at the Besser museum. So my background is in anthropology and art history, and the museum was looking for a one year position to do the collections curation....I went to the museum for a year, and then I applied to grad schools and got into a program at Western in anthropology. Partway through that program I took a leave of absence to pursue a really amazing job opportunity that came up in California. So I moved to northern California for a year, and worked with kids of all ages. It was a private company that taught kids reading skills. The yoga stuff actually came much more recently.

So how did you get into yoga? Have you always been "kinda into it?"

No, in fact, I was like...not like an "anti-yoga" person, but I was NOT going there. All that woo-woo stuff...during undergrad, I was a basket case. Just really stressed out with school, exams, my thesis...and my mother said, "Paige, you need to do something to manage your stress." And I was like, "What do you want me to do, mom?" You know, real smart aleck. And she was like, "Oh, I'm glad you asked." So she said, "There's a yoga class that occurs on your campus all semester. You take it as a course. Sign up for it." And I said, "I'm not doing that woo-woo stuff. There's no way you're getting me to do that!" And she said, "Yes you are. You're gonna sign up for it." So I did, and after the first class I called my mom up and said, "Mom, you were right. I love this." And so that was 2008, and I've practiced ever since.

And it was in, I think 2014 another yoga teacher in town, Desiree Nowaczyk, she and I were becoming friends. We worked together at ACC, and she said, "Paige, have you ever considered becoming a yoga teacher?" And I went, "Oh my goodness, I can't do that. I can't do what you do." And she said, "Well maybe you could think about it a little bit more." And so I thought about it for a year, and then started looking at schools. I landed at Yoga Roots out of Petoskey, with Tiffany Lenau. And it...kinda changed my life. I went into that program thinking, "oh, you know, I'm going to learn to cue all these postures that we do in yoga," but I didn't realize all of the self-work that was involved in all of it, and just the way in which it would transform me. Because yoga's just not about moving and doing these poses, but that's where we most often get into yoga.

We're looking for some kind of active movement practice. That's what gets people in the door for yoga, what keeps people doing yoga is everything else that comes with that. It can be a complete change of lifestyle and just outlook. So, it's pretty amazing in that sense. So I went through that training and I was so hungry for more that I went and got my 500 level. And then I took that and transferred into a 1000 hour program that I'm currently in called "Inner Peace Yoga Therapy." It should take another two years before I'm finished and become a certified yoga therapist. So right now I am a teacher of therapeutic yoga.

Is that where you stop?

You never stop, because yoga is continually evolving in using both Eastern science and Western science to take a look at our bodies, minds, and spirits, and making that connection between the three.