"Yoga has the ability to help all people make friends with
their mind body and spirit."
Why did you start practicing to yoga?
What began as a journey to lift myself from injury, depression and binge eating disorder, has become a personal mission to encourage people of all walks, shapes, sizes and ability levels to feel comfortable and confident in the body they are in. As I watched and felt my body and mind change through the practice of yoga, meditation and pranayama breathwork, I knew I needed to share the practice in a much larger way.
Did you instantly feel accepted in the yoga community?
I took my first yoga class in 1997 in college. Over the next 14 years, I played with many different yoga styles using videos in the privacy of my own home. When I moved to Seattle in 2001, I was floored and exciting by the availability of studio classes. I tried many group classes and found I was more comfortable in my own home because most of the time, teachers did not know how to work with someone with a fuller figure. Even in the better classes I was forced to adapt poses for myself.
How did you become a yoga instructor and passionate body-positive yoga advocate?
In 2005, I found a teacher who I felt comfortable with and that made all the difference in the world. Dylan Noebels was teaching Iyengar style yoga. In Iyengar, there is a strong focus on alignment and proper body mechanics in the Asana. I found him a joy to work with and so much more about the practice of yoga opened up to me. For years, I was content with my personal practice complementing the wellness work I was doing in massage. After a emotionally and physically devastating knee injury, my passion for yoga began to evolve. The experience of yoga bringing me back to wholeness from injury was what ultimately fueled my decision to expand my career in holistic health to include yoga. It is my hope that because of my teaching more folks, especially those with body-types not seen in most studios, can access this amazing life changing practice.
What are classes with you like?
You will find my classes to be adaptive, welcoming, playful and anatomy
specific. Oh, and I'm told I have a great laugh and tireless sense of humor
I have a spiritual side too. My personal practice and my professional training
have both included immersing myself in the practice of all 8 limbs of Yoga
philosophy. While not all my students embrace the practice of all 8 limbs, I
expose my students to these aspects and invite them into deeper
conversations and reflections.
What influences your personal style of teaching yoga?
I have worked for 10 years in the wellness industry as a massage therapist
which has required mastery of human anatomy and physiology. My yoga
teaching is greatly informed by what I have learned working with massage
therapy clients through the physical, emotional and spiritual transformations
that occur with attention to the mind-body connection.
My style of teaching is heavily influenced by Iyengar, and my teachers in
Seattle: Dylan Noebels, Angeline Johnston, Glenn Tousignant, Kate Towell
and Janell Hartman.
You mentioned a devastating knee injury. Tell me more about how yoga
helped you recover.
A: In 2010 I suffered a complete ACL rupture and MCL tear playing roller derby. That injury was physically and emotionally devastating for me. I came back to a very gentle and restorative yoga practice as a way to find balance and activity post injury. I am happy to say that I have not required any surgery, as my muscle strength does a great job of holding that knee together. While I will never play competitive roller derby again, I enjoy an active life full of bicycling, roller-skating, and yoga of many types.
Anything else you want to share?
I am super excited about moving from Washington state to Washington DC in order to share my passion with the people of this nation's capitol!