If you asked me 10 years ago if I ever thought I'd be practicing yoga, let alone sharing the practice with others as an instructor, the answer would have been no. I giggle as realize I had never even heard of yoga growing up so now when I’m asked, ”How did you end up teaching yoga?" it's not a short answer. There are several life experiences along the way that stand out which helped me profoundly discover my own yoga practice and gave me no choice but to delightfully pay it forward.
It's fair to say my theme of loving to teach has been a big part of my life. As child I taught choreography to my dolls; in middle school I had my own dance students; in high school I became the dance team captain and moved on to instruct through college. For the past 12 years, I’ve been privileged to teach adorable 2-8 year olds. I was given a scholarship with MSU's Sugar Bear Dance Team where I continued to develop my craft. I graduated from MSU and immediately flew to Japan on Performer Contract with Tokyo Disneyland. I had never been out of the country before. I was swept up in the spirituality, beauty & amazing culture. I traveled to Buddhist temples, shrines, palaces, gardens and holy mountains. I was extremely lucky that dance was my ticket out of small town life. I realized there was a whole world of opportunities beyond my hometown in Missouri, so off to LA I went.
I moved to LA in 2000, age 22, with wide eyes and dreams of being in the popular dancing GAP commercials. I landed in a city filled with souls searching to find their way to break out and be seen. Dancing is what made my heart soar, and I believed in my talent. The success I was having professionally was encouraging but didn't come without a lot of heartache, self-doubt, disappointments and concerns about my future. "What will I do in 15 years?" I asked myself, when my body wouldn't be able to keep up. A friend recommended an acting class. I fell in love with the craft of acting. I performed in my first two plays, booked multiple National commercials, and guest starred on hit shows, finally landing a role on ABC’s Daytime Soap General Hospital. My career was flourishing, and I felt proud to say, "I'm an Actress."
My achievements and public image looked great on the outside but looking on the inside, I was not balanced at all. I have always had a high metabolism so eating what I wanted was a careless luxury. Alcohol and sweets didn’t make me fat but they were masking a lot of other things.
I was experiencing extreme joint pain, bloating, fatigue, red itchy patches on my skin, sugar cravings, adult acne and hormonal imbalances. I had just ended a 7 years relationship and was heartbroken and sad but was doing my best to wake up day in and day out and show the world how great I was. I needed some well rounded healing desperately.
My first step was to see a holistic doctor who diagnosed me with the early stages of an auto immune disorder. With his help I changed my diet and my habits and soon I began to heal.
I discovered yoga when I was 29 but didn’t get addicted until I took my first vinyasa flow class, it was my jam! I started taking classes all over town. Finding stillness, releasing stress, feeling my joint pain dissipate... something was happening, something really, really good and not just in the room on my mat. I started to experience more joy in my everyday life. The realization that a consistent yoga practice was changing my life left me no choice but to combine it with my love for teaching, get certified and share this with as many people as I could. I want people to know how having a consistent yoga practice can be, LIFE HEALING.
If you listen and pay attention your body will show you signs of what it needs. Each of us has our own relationship to food and exercise and sometimes it’s struggle. Because of the severity of my symptoms, I changed my diet completely. But even small changes can have a big effect. You have to find the recipe that works for you.
Life is a rollercoaster so learning how to find balance inside and nourish yourself with compassion & gratitude will help you ride the up’s and down’s. Living well is a choice. I challenge you to ‘check-in’ with yourself and to open up to the understanding you are NOT a perfect being. Give yourself permission to grow, be open-minded and see that possibilities are everywhere.
I’ve been passionately teaching mindful vinyasa flow classes, privates sessions, small group & company privates for 2+ years now. It feels ever evolving for me as a practitioner and as an instructor and I’m incredibly grateful to all the students I share a space with and to the instructors sharing their gifts with others. I truly feel honored and excited about this beautiful communal and yet personal thing we call YOGA.