My mission is to help people use the tools yoga offers to overcome life’s challenges and live a happier life while supporting each other and creating a stronger community.
I relate to beginner and intermediate yoga practitioners who are looking for a realistic physical challenge. My practice is not about looking a certain way; it is about being healthy and energetic. You will learn to appreciate the spiritual side of yoga practice, taught with a caring and light-hearted approach.
My Teaching Philosophy
EVERYONE is welcome because that’s who I am. That philosophy is also in honor of how I was treated (thank you, Jen). I offer variations for every pose. I will encourage you to take this practice into your daily life, not only because I believe it’s the best way, but in honor of my first teacher who did the same for me (thank you, Kurt). You will be challenged physically and mentally. You’ll be guided through meditation. You will hear the message of the practice. You will learn to embody yoga.
What To Expect In A Class
I teach with creativity and humor. I’m constantly studying and learning new things to share in classes. I believe laughter is the best medicine and humor is a way to connect us. I try to keep a light-hearted energy while taking the practice and teaching of yoga seriously.
My Journey To Yoga
Before my 21st birthday I lost my parents separately to cancer. At 24 I found myself depressed, angry, insecure, and scared. My body showed these emotions with lethargy and weight gain. I thought if I could get skinny, find love, and get an impressive job that I would be happy. I began by watching yoga videos, then eventually checked out American Power Yoga (APY) in person because their mailer said “We’re nice.” Plus, I read that Jennifer Aniston said yoga changed her body, so I thought at least I could get skinny. I was welcomed by Jen Johnson, who reminded me of friends I missed. The first months were hard. In high school I was athletic, so I was frustrated that I wasn’t “good at yoga.” I kept trying. Eventually, I worked up the nerve to attend an advanced class. I was afraid I might really embarrass myself, or get kicked out.
Gaining Mental Strength And Physical Skill
It was Kurt’s teaching style in this more intense class that truly ignited my love for yoga. It gave me the space and time to dive into myself. I learned so much. I learned I had not even touched the surface of dealing with my parents’ deaths. Back home, people treated me delicately. I (and they) felt as if I were “orphaned.” I hated it but I also liked it. It made me special. But being wrapped in a cloak of sadness and grief didn’t feel natural. Luckily, while I was trying to burn off cellulite, I was also shedding pieces of that cloak! I felt lighter with each class. Each day I was more mindful of that cloak. I learned I could decide when to put it on and when to put it away. It was empowering when I realized I was reaching for it less and less.
Shortly after my dad’s passing I wrote in my journal that I did not want these events to be a burden on my soul. I wanted to somehow rise above them and help people. I thought about that entry when I was in teacher training in 2006. I realized then that yoga was how I was going to help people be happier and get through life’s challenges. This is why I wanted to teach, and that’s what I’ve been doing every single day since.
My Journey Continues
This journey has been mind-blowing and transformative. I’ve reconnected with the part of me that is innocent and full of life. Life’s occasional blows may knock me off course, but now I know the way back. For me that is through regular exercise, daily yoga and meditation practice, fueling my body with delicious clean food, and fueling my heart with my family and my community. Balance is important to me, working passionately, laughing daily, having energy to keep up with my husband and soon-to-be toddler, and being able to see the bigger picture.
I vividly remember my first year of practicing at APY. I remember the nerves, the feeling that I didn’t belong, the physical shaking in poses, and the cramping in my ankles and wrists. I remember pulling into the parking lot and staying in the car. I say this because I’ve heard the same fear and hesitation from my students. I tell you my story because it’s the same story for so many of us. Life happened and we were knocked off track. You are not alone. We’re in this together!
You Have A Story Too
Our stories are a part of us, but they don’t have to be heavy cloaks weighing us down. The physical practice of yoga in and of itself is not magical. It is you deciding to change, and take action towards that change that is the magic! I keep a small mental scrap of my life’s cloak in my pocket as a reminder that life will be full of joy at times and full of pain at other times. We can all breathe, be kind, be patient, and be respectful, to ourselves and to others.