Discovering Passion & Purpose Through Yoga, Nature and Poetry
I had the pleasure of meeting Tara (Becky) Eschenroeder at the Asheville Yoga Festival in 2018. We instantly bonded over our mutual love of yoga and nature and I’m stoked that she has recently relocated from Richmond, VA to Asheville, NC.
I wanted to learn and share more about her inspiring journey from teaching in elementary school classrooms to teaching at yoga festivals and retreats across the country. Tara is living proof that it’s never too late to discover your true passions and purpose and pursue a new path in life.
Her new book of poetry Collecting Feathers will be officially released Monday, February 11, 2019. Tara currently teaches several classes at multiple studios in Asheville including Asheville Yoga Center and Pure Yoga AND is one of Namaste in Nature’s 2019 Yoga Guides!
Namaste & Have A Great Day!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up mostly in Virginia in various areas including Richmond, Harrisonburg and Charlottesville. In my previous life I was a preschool and Elementary School teacher but yoga was always integrated. When I left the Elementary School teaching classroom I made a promise to myself that I would share this gift of yoga with children outside of my own classroom. I begin yoga programs in schools all over Richmond and led a kids yoga teacher training about once a month in Washington DC. About five years ago I took this teacher training out west to Montana. Then began the life of the traveling Yogi!
How would you describe your yoga journey in a nutshell?
My Journey has been quite the blessing and I know it is far from over. I was very blessed with a mom and a dad who taught me yoga long before I realized [what it was]. I was the kid shooting bows and arrows in the backyard after school, riding my bike, and practicing my fly fishing cast in the front yard. Connecting with nature was my norm.
I began practicing [yoga] regularly right after college and I was introduced to my beloved teacher, Arlene Bjork. I obtained my RYT and began teaching immediately around town and in schools. Since I left the school classroom, I've had the opportunity to obtain multiple certifications in the realm of children's yoga, trauma-informed yoga and the like. I have also been blessed with the gift of travel as I now lead workshops & retreats and teach at festivals all over the country and in Central America. This journey has been completely unexpected and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I know it is far from finished.
How/when did you start writing poetry?
Almost 5 years ago I was given a journal by my gracious parents who continue to be my rocks and my gurus. This journal became my voice. Little did I know, it would also become a gateway and a source of permission for others to express [themselves].
It was also five years ago that I began to travel and teach yoga all over the country... It became a ritual that every time I boarded an airplane that I would take out my journal and begin to write. Sometimes inspiration would flow like water and others it felt a little bit more like tar - barely moving - but I would continue on.
I then found myself taking my journal out in the midst of my travels to reflect upon and digest all of the life experiences that I was taking in. Seeds were being planted.
I look back upon my entries now as I feel my feet rooted into the present moment and realize just how powerful the law of attraction and mindful manifestation are.
"Collecting Feathers" is not only a collection of poetry... It IS my path. The words and intentions that poured out of my heart and from my fingertips have come into fruition.
I am in complete “awe” in every sense of the word.
I continue to write and the words continue to come... I am not sure where this path will lead but I am so grateful for every step and every tumble and every leap that has now allowed me to fly.
I encourage you to write.
I encourage you to draw.
I encourage you to sing.
I encourage you to play.
Whatever will allow those intentions to pour out of your heart and into this world.
Do it. Please.
Your voice needs to be heard.
I give you permission.
What/Who inspires your poetry?
Nature continues to be my greatest inspiration. Nature and Life Experiences. As for poets, my greatest influences have been Mary Oliver, John Muir and Victoria Erickson.
I was searching for something.
I was searching and in the midst of doing so they began to present themselves to me one by one. I had come to the realization that my Dharma and my purpose was so much bigger then my physical self and location. Fear had held me back for quite some time but it is only so long a bird can be held in cage.
In this realization that flight was required in order to share the message that my teachers had given to me and all of their teachers had given to them, I was able to see and trust in something so much bigger than myself.
They continue to present themselves to me... Sometimes in the form of a bouquet after a long walk through the woods. My path was being laid before me and I followed.
Paying very close attention to where they appeared, who I was with and the intention behind why I was where [I was], it begin to make sense. I return to the places where they find me the most with a continued reminder of the importance of non-attachment. Feathers are not meant to be held down. I know I will return when the time is right.
My searching continues but I no longer feel lost. They are there to remind me that I am not alone. They are there to remind me of this path and this Dharma. They are there to remind me of the importance of my flight and each and every place they guide me to land.
They are there to remind me of these wings that existed all along.
At first I was searching, but now they find me. As I collect these feathers... As I spread These Wings... I am home.
What is your spirit animal & why?
What continues to appear over and over again for me is a wolf and a bird. I will protect and watch over you and I promise you that you will not ever walk this path alone... Even as I fly.
How has nature helped/inspired you?
Nature has healed and continues to heal me from the inside out. Nature continues to be my greatest teacher. Every time I feel in need of an answer I simply walk outside and allow it to present itself to me. Nature is always there no matter what.
Why did you recently move to Asheville?
I drove through these mountains for the first time in April last year and I knew that I was home. The geography and the community called to me and I listened.
What are you most curious about right now?
The wonder that every day has to offer!
What is your favorite yoga asana? To practice? To teach?
This changes on a daily basis depending on the energy around me and my own.
What is your advice to aspiring yogis?
Listen to your voice. That which goes so much deeper than spoken word...
Allow yourself to feel...
That which goes so much deeper than the sense of touch. Allow yourself to drop out of the mind and into the body.
You are your own best teacher.
What is your advice to aspiring poets?
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
From my father: "Listen"
From Arlene: "Stay encouraged."
From my Mom: "Live the questions and the way will be shown."
What is the inspiration for your brand Great Abiding Yoga?
This brings tears to my eyes; the happy kind. I was very close with my grandmother, Marian (Foo Foo to me). She helped raise me as a little one while my parents were working long hours. She saw me take my first steps and only encouraged me to fly after that. Every time we said goodbye or goodnight she would whisper in my ear, "great abiding love." Her love is always with me as she shines down from above and her message will echo on into eternity.
Are you a morning bird or a night owl?
Both! Haha! ALL of the birds!
What is your favorite season & why?
I am grateful to experience many seasons throughout the year in various places... The sunshine of Costa Rica in the winter to the snow of Montana in the spring! I celebrate and the ability to be a part of it all.
What are three words people use to describe you?
Energy. Creativity. Compassion.
Enjoy this sample poem from Tara’s collection in Collecting Feathers:
Tell me what it is you long for…
What are you doing when time disappears?
What do you see when you close your eyes and dream?
What does it smell like?
What makes your fingers and toe tips tingle with wild energy?
This life is yours to create.
What you long for is right in front of you.
No need to grasp. Give yourself permission to Receive.
Dance with time as you flow into the Grace of Allowing your dreams to
See it…Feel it…Taste it…Smell it…Be it…
The act of being…
Tara’s Class Schedule & Social Media: