Yoga feels like it has always been with me. I started taking classes my first semester in college.
About 10 years ago I took a chance on myself, conquered a fear of trusting my inner promptings and left, what many would consider to be, an ideal job and lifestyle. For 18 years I was working steadily in Hollywood, making good money, enjoying a flexible schedule and experiencing all of the perks of this life. My appreciation for this challenging work is great and I left with very useful discipline and skills. Ultimately, my deeper self was longing for something else. I was growing more and more dedicated on my path of Self study, becoming freer in my life and choices, releasing unwanted behaviors and patterns, and it was this experience that I wanted to cultivate and somehow share with others on their own journey.
In 2002 I sat my first 10 day Vipassana meditation course under the guidance of SN Goenka. This practice of deep self-examination had a profound impact on me and I sat three of them in the first year of practice. I have continued to sit and serve these courses each year and am MOST grateful to this technique, to SN Goenka and all of the volunteers that work to keep it available and growing throughout the world. It is through this practice that I was able to take a true look at what I wanted in life and was able to begin making the changes that were calling to me (www.dhamma.org). In 2004, I had the fortune of doing my first Yoga Teacher Training with a grand line-up of guides: Saul David Raye, Max Strohm, Shiva Rea, and Sherry Brourman. At this time, I was simply wanting to deepen my understanding of the yoga path but wasn’t seeing my place in sharing it.
When the financial crash came in 2008 it was a true blessing for my life. Though I too was affected in the ways that many Americans had been at the time, I utilized this period as a doorway into the next chapter of my life that had been a growing desire for years. I took the leap, quit Hollywood, and joined another 200hr teacher training program led by Saul David Raye. Saul is a true expression of artistry in Yoga. His presence, teachings and truth helped form the foundation for me to be able to find my voice and the courage to believe in myself and begin teaching. He remains my hearts teacher to this day. Simultaneously, I had found a two-year Therapeutic Yoga program at Loyola Marymount University, called Yoga Rx, created by Larry Payne. I knew I wanted to take yoga to all ages, bodies and situations. The Yoga Rx program is staffed by Medical Dr’s from varying fields as well as specialist throughout the Yoga, Chiropractic and Physical Therapy fields, all endeavoring to bridge the gap between western medical science and the scientific and holistic system of yoga. While in school I did a yearlong observation and internship at UCLA’s MS Center. This program, set up by Eric Small, gave me a deep look at the adaptive potentials of a yoga practice and its ability to fit any and all body-minds that were open to learning.
It was in this time that I started to see the path of teaching; the integration of so many things that I loved converging. As it tends to go when you have connected with your purpose, many “fortuitous” events happened in these two years of training as well as my first two years of teaching full time. Immediately upon teaching I had people with challenging situations asking and entrusting me to share what I was learning to integrate. One of the first was my mother’s experience in getting spinal stenosis. This afforded me the experience, early on, of working intimately with a serious injury and enabled me to see the success that a therapeutic yoga practice could have when a client was motivated and consistent. I worked closely in a mentorship with Dr. Eden Goldman who’s generous teaching style enabled me to learn an immense amount in the process. It has been a mutually beneficial experience and Mom is still practicing her yoga today. I continued with more therapeutic trainings over the first few years as I honed my teaching skills. I completed the 1st part of the YCaT training, Yoga for Cancer and Chronic illness, led by the extraordinary Jnani Chapman in 2012. And, in 2013 did another in-depth Therapeutic Yoga training with Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal which enriched my experience even more. Another leap brought me and my husband to move to the Sierra Nevada foothills to enjoy a life in nature. When I applied at my studio, COIL Yoga in Fresno CA, I “auditioned” and was chosen to be trained in restorative yoga in order to take over for 2 pregnant women who were about to pop. At this time, I had very little exposure to restorative yoga and the owner, Katie Flynn, graciously mentored me. I am forever grateful to her for the exposure and opportunity as restorative and therapeutic yoga are the vehicle through which I have found my heart connection in sharing awareness and conscious movement.
My sincere heartfelt gratitude for all of the teachers listed above and so many more. In sharing Yoga, I am not setting out to do something brand new, rather, I aim to share the knowledge that has been passed down to me from a wellspring of masterful teachers, and perhaps more importantly share what I have learned, and continue to learn, experientially in my own being.
When I knew i was making this career transition, I envisioned bringing Yoga into places where it would be most needed and least likely to be found. So far what i was visualizing has found its way into my classes, workshops and privates providing me with a very enriching experience. My therapeutic work has grown exponentially in the last four years, bringing me ample opportunity to work one on one in a therapeutic format. I was recently accepted as a “Yoga Therapist” (C-IAYT) through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I am honored to participate in this work on all levels and will continue to practice, open myself to growth and aim to integrate and share with others. I also gave myself a few years off from any long format trainings to integrate and learn how to teach and to see where I might want to further my studies down the road. I had been following a bio-mechanists, Katy Bowman’s, work and was always profoundly surprised and pleased by her information. A little over a year ago I called her office and got her on the phone. She was closing her training program in order to keep her teachings more intimate and advised me to read one of her books to decide if I would join. This book “Move your DNA” nailed what I was witnessing and seeing as a missing link in my work with students, with my own body, and in the health and fitness fields in general . . .and so I joined. I am in a 2yr program called Nutritious Movement, learning body mechanics, alignment and the science of movement in a way I had never before. I LOVE her work in my body and see the benefits in my students already. This motivated me to build a home studio this year (2017). The Conscious Movement Studio is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills below Yosemite where i have been leading day long retreats combining yoga, bio-mecahnics and natural movement. I’m looking forward to the convergence of all of this information and am working toward designing trainings that bring the modern science of the body in, to update and assist modern practitioners of yoga, and modern lovers of movement, on their journey.