Originally, I found yoga to fix myself. I was in college studying to be an actor. According to my college professor, my posture needed work – my pelvic tilt, to be exact. I used yoga for many years later as a way to fix other parts of myself I didn’t love – my body, my anxiety, my obsessive personality. It’s taken me many years and I’m still learning that each and every day, the very attitude of wanting to fix myself is the deeper wound. My personal yoga practice teaches me to resist ingrained habits of striving and motivations toward self-improvement. It offers me a framework for feeling better so that I can tap into my innate playfulness, curiosity and joy – emotions that show me that who I am right now is exactly enough.
It is what I have found most life-changing about yoga that forms the essence of how and why I teach.
I am an experienced 200hr and 300hr teacher, teacher trainer and mentor at YogaWorks in NYC as well as an integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher and trainer. My life has taken me around many learning curves, ones in which I battled feelings of inadequacy and not belonging. From small town Wisconsin where I grew up to NYC to be an actor and eventually a yoga teacher, trainer and workshop presenter, life keeps teaching me that self-acceptance is the super skill. The key to relaxed confidence and a feeling of belonging, no matter where you find yourself, is to befriend yourself. In the classes and trainings I teach, I invite students to quietly and persistently pay attention and trust. Whether it be in their power to do a pose, to relax fully, or to stand up in front of a room and lead a yoga class, my aim is to help students uncover a sense of belonging in their bodies that helps them to feel more relaxed and confident in their lives.
I foster a learning atmosphere of playful inquiry.
I teach yoga through the lens of anatomy and biomechanics. In my experience, I’ve found gaining body knowledge to be a powerful antidote for feeling body shame. Additionally, I’ve also gained so much confidence as a teacher in my ability to help students practice in a way that reduces their pain and suffering. My signature yoga anatomy and biomechanics workshop series Body of Knowledge™ is inspired by my years of informal study and inquiry – including a full cadaver dissection workshop and thousands of hours of trainings, workshops, reading and writing – as well as experience leading yoga teacher trainings. To know our bodies better gives us the tools to help ourselves and our students out of pain. I teach anatomy and biomechanics in an experiential way that makes complex concepts accessible and that inspires a habit of learning more.
For me, the practice of self-massage using therapy balls has been an incredible tool for both recovery and uncovery. It has been a tool for recovery from the grief of losing my mother after caring for her in hospice, lingering pain from old sports and yoga related injuries, and the constant stress of living in New York City. It has also been a tool for uncovery of connections between my physical tissues and the more ephemeral features of my emotions, mindsets and belief systems. While use of the therapy balls might stray from traditional physical practices associated with yoga, at its philosophical root, yoga, both its active practice and its definition – its means and its end – teach us that the nature of reality is relationship and connectivity. Unwinding tension locally – say, in the shoulders – can lead to a global feeling of presence and poise. As a bonus, the therapy balls are excellent tools for imprinting key muscle groups and joint regions on the somatosensory map so they can be accessed and explored with more keen awareness in practice. We explore between 10-15 minutes of self-massage in my asana classes, and a bit more in my Yoga Tune Up® Self-Care classes.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I am an avid student of the subject matter I share.
Some of my most influential teachers include my first mentor Jenny Aurthur, who laid the foundation for my technique and taught me the beauty of keeping it simple. Carrie Owerko’s poetic and playful transmission of the Iyengar Yoga practice was very formative to my practice. Jason Ray Brown, of Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers, lit the fire of my passion for studying the body. I did a cadaver dissection lab with Gil Hedley, otherworldly in his ability to reveal spirit in anatomy. Currently, I study therapeutic movement and self-massage with Jill Miller. I also regularly attend my friend Chrissy Carter’s class where I am inspired on a weekly basis.