The Austin Chronicle

Shout OUT: Jo Eckler

By Blake McCoy, May 1, 2015, 9:00am, Qmmunity

Name: Jo Eckler
Status: Austin, TX homegrown (originally from Dallas)
ID: Gender-fluid
Queerly Quotable: "I like to see people become free."

We’d heard of Kundalini, but Queerdalini? Started by Tagg Beaumont and Sebastien Coles, Queerdalini provides "safe spaces for everybody to access the benefits of yoga and community." Psychologist and expert yogi, Jo Eckler joined Queer Yoga Austin in 2012 and has taken over coordinating many of the events as of early last year. Along with co-coordinators Jim James and recent initiate Hayley Love, the trio teaches Queerdalini every Monday at Soma Vida.

Working part-time as a contractor for nursery homes and teaching her own therapeutic class at Yoga Yoga, Eckler explains that her method of teaching “combines the tools of yoga and mindfulness with some coaching.” Encouraging her students to open themselves up mentally and physically, and move past their fears, Eckler even teaches a monthly workshop at Samaritan Counseling Center.

Trading in her Dallasite status, Eckler completed her undergrad at UT, before going on to receive her doctorate in clinical psychology. Eckler says what's great about merging yoga and psychology is “when people are able to do some things they didn’t think they could do, whether they face their fears or they start living the kind of life they want to live.” The downside, she says, “Keeping my toenails painted.”

Devoting much of her time to the well-being of her students, Eckler confides that she has no immediate plans for the future, “Austin is home.” Calling the city she loves an "all-you-can-eat buffet," Eckler says the best thing about Austin is that, "You can have a little bit of nature and a little bit of an urban art scene, and a little bit of this and that all in the same spot.”

Inside Scoop: An avid ecstatic dancer, Eckler is grateful that more studios like Yoga Yoga are offering the chance to lose themselves in the moment and shake their kundis. Moreover, she tells us that if she could go anywhere in the world she'd travel to Europe and visit Barcelona, so she can fully appreciate the places that her mother once described to her.

For more on Queerdalini go to Queer Yoga Austin, or follow Jo Eckler on Facebook.

Watch out for more Shout OUTs coming to a Gay Place near you!

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