Robin Davidson: Support on a Healing Journey

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured” — B. K.S. Iyngar

If you are ever at Peace Church on a Monday morning, you may see many of our people gathering in the Fireside Room for Robin Davidson’s Soma Yoga class, and then perhaps staying to help volunteer at the adaptive Yoga class for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Robin begins each class with a satsanga—an opportunity for people to share what is on their hearts, to talk about what is going on—a chance for like-minded people to be in community with one another.

Robin, a physical therapist and Yoga instructor, went to the University of North Dakota to get her physical therapy degree. It was there in clinicals that she realized she loved working in rehabilitation, especially neurological rehab. “In this work you are able to support the whole person and help to improve their quality of life.” After graduation, she traveled and worked in many places with her husband Lee, who was a professional hockey player. She has had the opportunity to work with and learn from people in Atlanta, Chicago, and Indiana. They also lived abroad in Canada and Germany.

Sixteen years ago they moved to Duluth to make a more permanent home for their family. Elena was nine months old at the time and Simon was born a couple of years later. Robin was looking for a church home that had outreach into the wider community and found Peace. For Robin, Peace Church is her mountain pose. It provides a solid ground to stand on with a peak reaching up to heaven and God.

Robin is an active volunteer at Peace, and also with the Loaves and Fishes and Damiano communities. Six years ago she started the Chair Yoga class at Peace. Her first participants were Mary Martin, Barb Forrest and Elaine Augustad. The class has grown to over 15 participants on most Mondays now. She ends each class with “I bow to the place in you that is of light, love and joy. When you and I bow to our true nature we are one.”

Robin co-created True North Adaptive Yoga, which provides adaptive yoga classes for people living with physical and cognitive challenges. These classes meet in four locations in the Duluth area, and Robin teaches two of those classes. She has also taught other teachers and trained many of volunteers over the past four years. She does this in partnership with the Miller Dwan Foundation, Courage Kenney Northland, the YMCA, the College of St. Scholastica, and UMD. She loves this work where she gets to combine yoga with her passion for supporting people who are marginalized by disability. Robin also works with people living with ALS. She is part of an ALS Clinic at Essentia Health that helps people live their best possible lives in a supportive, collaborative environment while their disease is progressing.

Robin’s caring heart can be seen in the ways she cares for people beyond the walls of the hospital or yoga class. Several years ago she had a patient who needed to move, but didn’t have the resources or physical ability to do so. With the help of Warren Post, Jim McLean, Scott and Phyllis Mead, and others, the patient was moved into a new and better apartment.

Robin defines her sankalpa, her life’s mission, as “I will support myself and others on a healing journey.” It is what she does.

Thank you so much Robin!

Interviewed by Kathy Nelson