"I have always enjoyed fitness, and rode horses in junior professional competition from the age of 10. I also trained in Ballet and modern dance from the age of 6, and was very much a ‘tomboy’ always running up this tree and down that one. I started yoga and jazz dance when I was 14 with my mother, and kept up with yoga while also choreographing modern dance until the age of 19 when I devoted more of my time to International humanitarian work in Romania, Kenya and the Dominican Republic. The few years that I spent ‘giving myself’ to humanitarian aide taught me that I am of little use unless I am at my peak mentally, physically and spiritually--a state hard to reach with a non-stop job and little ‘life’ time. On returning from my final trip to Romania I forced myself to carve out three hours a week that I would commit to Yoga and exercise and three hours a week that I would commit to healthy cooking and integrative nutrition. These times were sacred and essential to maintaining both my potential and a healthy outlook in a sometimes cloudy atmosphere. I then decided to complete the upward trend and train to become a vinyasa yoga instructor, a decision that I have not once regretted. I now practice every morning, and I practice with my group classes. The connection that I have to my body pacifies anxiety and stress, and the integrity of my breath and movement is truly the foundation of each day. I especially love to teach one-on-one because I can work directly with a client as they move through the stages of gentle to very challenging vinyasa sequences, and we can observe improvements to health and well-being together in such beautiful and individual steps.
I started to train in Vinyasa Yoga because of my background in dance and fitness where moving and 'flow' is a common theme. Vinyasa 'flow' incorporates the steady movement or 'flow' from one pose to another, and I find that students develop a far greater understanding of the poses and their benefits by understanding how to move through them, to use them to gracefully create an atmosphere of strength and flexibility tied to a deeper understanding of the body and the mind. This form of movement, often called the tai-chi of yoga (although the students in the most challenging level of the class wouldn't say so!) allows for the mind to rest in meditation as the instructor guides the student at his or her level.
Although my training is from one of the most prestigious training programs in the country, I believe that anyone can learn technique. What sets me apart as an excellent teacher is the fact that I love to teach, I love positively affecting others, and I love seeing my clients realize that they are truly advancing in their practice and that their practice is bringing clarity and ease to their lives. I also have a deep understanding of psychology, anatomy and nutrition which supports my entire commitment to teaching and practicing yoga.
I am able to modify hundreds of poses and sequences in precise alignment to challenge, nurture and benefit all of my clients, and I think that my clients specifically like that we are able to improve strength-building, flexibility and breath-training/relaxation through our classes. Some people think of yoga as just sitting on a matt and levitating or some such thing, and some of it is…(wink), but my Vinyasa classes are founded on the idea that everybody yearns for grace and flow within their life, and the first step to creating that grace is by creating it within yourself. This grace requires A LOT of strength and A LOT of flexibility, the potential to hold firm and breath, and the potential to fold and allow the universe to hold you (not the other way around). I think that this way of teaching is especially applicable to Western cultures as we seek both challenging fitness training and the space to release and reach through our bodies, to extend ourselves and find peace during our workout. I also believe deeply in the spiritual benefits of yoga and am an avid practitioner of meditation and spiritual nurturance. This aspect of yoga can come into the class at varying degrees depending on the client.
I have a questionnaire that I like any new client to fill out, including questions concerning previous injuries, focus of fitness, current fitness level, and interest in starting yoga. I meet with all of my private clients for 1/2 an hour for a free consultation during which I gather necessary information and talk about areas of concern and desired benefits. After the initial meeting, I arrange to teach a preliminary class to see where the student is stronger and more flexible and where we need to focus attention, especially if the client has injuries. This first class is often both challenging and uplifting for my clients and serves as a great reference point to remember just how far my clients have come in a short amount of time. I usually prefer my clients to commit to three sessions scheduled to occur at least once a week, but I can also work session-by-session for the client who needs more flexibility in their fitness schedule. All of my students are now practicing twice a week with me, so I have confidence that even the most reticent client is a yoga-lover at heart!
I enjoy the fitness and wellness industry because I have always wanted to positively impact the world, and I tried to in my humanitarian work. I have since found a way to benefit others, to help others in their esteem and enjoyment of the world, without having to give at the expense of my own health. I have a challenging hour-and-a-half Vinyasa practice that I do every morning, and I also tend to always be moving, walking, breathing and enjoying the outside world (an art of health in itself!) By practicing what I preach, so to say, I live in a state of peak condition and am able to share this with others, and to make a living at it! I can't imagine a better way to live, especially as my knowledge of physiology, psychology and nutrition deepens. Yoga specifically tunes the awareness into the body and the mind to heal and strengthen each person where they need it the most. It is incredible."