Amy Lewis – Yoga and Sacred Space
By Ashia Gallo
Wholeness Collective Coordinator at Mosaic Georgia
Amy Lewis has been drawn to spirituality since she was a child. Born in Tyler, Texas, Amy describes her childhood home as tense and a bit stressful. Religion became her first escape. As the youngest of her siblings, Amy lone followed her mother into the Southern Baptist Church. She loved the service-oriented part of religion, and by the time she was a teenager, felt “called to the ministry”.
“I knew I wanted to do counseling and recreation, I just wasn’t sure how they would fit together,” remembers Amy. “And I wondered – could women even go to seminary?”
Amy got her answer as she pursued her education. She earned a bachelor’s in social work and master’s at Seminary in Marriage and Family Counseling and Religious Education. She gained a ton of experience as an adult hospice chaplain, a pediatric oncology chaplain, as well as opportunities in community pastoral care. Amy began working with survivors of sexual trauma during her master’s practicum in 1994.
“It’s a privilege to listen to people’s stories,” Amy says. “Being in spaces where people are grieving, and having the honor of walking alongside them as they figure out how to continue to live with loss sparked my passion.”
It was also during this time, after Amy married a man she met at seminary, that she moved to Decatur, GA. Living in a very diverse and free community, Amy began to ask more questions about herself for the first time. Though she and her husband had a ton in common (including a baby girl born in 2001), Amy began realizing some truths about her sexuality.
“My pregnancy was one of the first times I paid attention to my body,” recalls Amy. “It was also the first time I took a yoga class! It was a pivotal moment of finally realizing ‘there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just a lesbian!’”
Amy came out around the same time she was being ordained, her daughter was 18 months, and the family had moved to a new city. It was challenging to find a therapist who understood and believed her about her sexuality in the small Midwest town. With grit and determination, she found a therapist who supported her and her husband through their divorce with the primary goal of becoming the best co-parents they could possibly be for their daughter.
Amy finally felt she was living her truth, and after another decade of pastoral care work, Amy needed to expand her understanding and experience of embodiment practices.
“I had done grief and loss work as a chaplain for about 20 years at that point. It is important for me to do embodiment work. I needed to move and metabolize the pain and grief that I had experienced personally and vicariously.”
After a happy marriage to her now wife, another child, and a decade off her mat, Amy was ready to embrace her yoga practice again. As she sought an embodiment practice, her first yoga teacher, Kath Meadows, also worked with incarcerated women in Maryland. Amy learned a lot through Kath about creating space within ourselves and was inspired by the abundant ways yoga was making a difference in the lives of people who were suffering.
“My life shifted when I dove into embodiment,” says Amy. “Studying how the body transforms through movement felt like a natural next step in my personal and professional spiritual development.”
Upon completing her RYT 200 certification in 2014, Amy has been dedicated to teaching yoga in many mental wellness programs. She worked at a school for traumatized children, where she taught yoga and mindfulness as a part of teaching coping skills.