Liz NorellIf you’d met me as a child, you’d have never predicted I would end up where I am today. For starters, I did not grow up in a particularly political family, yet somehow felt a spark of interest in politics when I accidentally crossed paths with an RU-486 rally on my first (school-sponsored) trip to DC. [The teacher leading that trip was, um, horrified…]

Ultimately, I earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Texas at Dallas … although not without a number of swerves along the way. I spend the academic year teaching government courses at Chattanooga State Community College and thoroughly love my work. Every yang needs its yin, though, and for me, that’s yoga. In 2016, I completed my 200-hour YTT with Curvy Yoga. I then completed my 300-hour advanced YTT with the Asheville Yoga Center in 2021, where I focused my advanced studies on trauma-informed, restorative, and yin yoga.. I have logged more than 500 hours of yoga teaching in Chattanooga, Sewanee, and Tracy City. My classes are gentle, meditative, and designed to include those of all body types and flexibility levels.

I live in Monteagle, Tenn., with my life partner, Doug (sometimes known as The Math Professor, or TMP), two stepchildren, and a feisty rescue mutt named Lexie.

As I’ve moved into middle-aged adulthood, I’ve realized how the world in which we ask our young girls to grow into themselves sends a damaging set of messages. Perhaps I have become more aware of those messages as I’ve wrestled with my own demons around weight, body image, and self-worth. Perhaps my role as stepmom to a precocious and independent young girl (currently age 15) has led me to worry more about the messages she receives from those in her bubble. Or perhaps this is just a growing movement of women awakening to the toxicity of our environment. I suspect it’s all three. Regardless, my own journey has taught me about the power of our culture to influence our feelings of worth, belonging, and love.

Liz NorellThe work I do outside my day job really grows out of a desire to be part of the movement of women — so many in this movement, but nowhere near enough — who are challenging the paradigms of our culture and demanding change for our younger counterparts, our children, our nieces, our grandchildren, our friends. I will add my voice to the many calling for acceptance, self-care, love, and warmth. The world is too cold. This is a warm space.

I invite you to join us. Raise your voice and be a shining example of what love and acceptance can bring to this world.

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2 (with a 1 wing): The Servant