The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
When my husband and I were looking for a house, we had our hearts set on the Woodlawn Lake area. Though we particularly liked the area on the other side of the lake, where all the older homes are, our realtor managed to convince us to take a look at a house in the University Park area. And when we drove up and saw the big oak tree out front, we were glad we listened to our agent. We fell in love with that tree and with the house.
The location, with St. Mary’s University and its beautiful architecture to the west and Woodlawn Lake to the east, can’t be beat. We’ve now lived here for 21 years and love the community we’ve built. Much of my life revolves around our house and Woodlawn Lake.
I’ve worked very hard to live a life that I enjoy, so I make my home a sacred space. I have an area where I do my prayer and meditation and an area where I practice my yoga for me. My husband, son and I all work from home, so we’ve created our own office spaces that work for us. It’s a very simple, humble little casita, but when people come over they feel comfortable. And that’s what I want.
If I’m not home, I’m probably at Woodlawn Lake. I love humans and think it’s important for people to feel seen and heard, so when I walk at Woodlawn, I always say “hi” and offer a smile to everyone I encounter. Not everyone responds, but it’s still worth it if I can connect with just one person. We live every day with so much stress and tension and heartache, so I try to spread a little bit of joy. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, so it feels like everyone knows me.
The lake is also a big part of my family’s life. I started walking at the lake before I was pregnant with my son Abraham and continued during my pregnancy. Then, after he was born, I would take Abraham for walks in his stroller, and he eventually learned to walk there. Now, at 19 years old, he goes out there on his own to play basketball and run around the lake.
Woodlawn Lake has always been a community gathering place, but it’s been especially beautiful recently to see so much community building there. I’m with the Esther Vexler Yoga School, and when the pandemic hit, we lost our home space. We now have a new studio space, but it got me thinking about one of Esther’s missions, which was bringing yoga to the community. And it reminded me of how I got started in yoga, during a time of grief and anxiety after unexpectedly losing my mother. Learning yoga and becoming a yoga teacher reminded me of the joy that still lives in me.
I first started teaching for free at St. Paul’s Community Center because I wanted to make yoga more accessible and approachable for people who might not have been able to afford it or maybe felt like it wasn’t for them. After the pandemic disrupted our lives, I was feeling hungry for community. That’s when I had the idea of teaching yoga at Woodlawn Lake. I made it donation optional, with all donations going toward the nonprofit yoga school. At first, it was just me and my friends, but then word started spreading. I had one family who would bring someone new with them every time they came out. Now classes are at 30-50 people.
Community is everything, and I feel so grateful to be part of this beautiful Woodlawn Lake community. We all have so much going on in our lives, but this space allows us to decompress in different ways, whether it’s through yoga, a run around the lake, a game of basketball or just taking in those lovely little details around us. Even after all these years, I still find more to love and appreciate about this park. I’ll take photos from my walks and post them to social media. Sometimes people will ask where I am and are surprised when I tell them. Yes, this beautiful place is tucked right here in the West Side of San Antonio, in my neighborhood.