I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk with you about Yoga/Fitness, as I am now learning to try new things on my fitness journey. I’m so excited to learn about you and your relationship with yoga!

First and foremost, how and why did you start yoga?
I came for the sweat and found a way of life. I started back in 2008 looking for something to complement my running routine at the time. A friend tried talking me into the practice for weeks, and I completely judged “that weird, breathing yoga thing” as some strange fitness trend. I was totally hooked after my first class and a big heaping slice of humble pie!

Do you have a mentor/teacher?
Through and through, everyone is my teacher. My greatest teacher is my son and the students I have the honor to meet on their mats every class. I have studied closely with a few teachers (and will continue learning from others), all who specialize in different styles/lineages of yoga influence. Being a student first and foremost sets the tone of my teaching. I’m always curious and always learning.

Tell me about your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
Mostly, I teach power vinyasa, a strong flow, linking breath with movement to strengthen, stretch, and ground. If you attend my live classes, you may find yourself moving to the beat of the music, or you may find a lot of space for yourself. It depends on the day and what I am being called to give. Lately, I have been incorporating some ashtanga (the foundation of vinyasa) into my classes which has been wonderfully grounding and challenging in a new way for me. My online classes are a bit different; they range from 5 min to 90 min: meditations, slow-flow, calm and mellow, tutorial shorts, and vinyasa.

What are some types of challenges you’ve experienced during yoga?
Teaching through it all. Showing up and doing it anyway; on my good days and bad. On the ones that I feel like hiding as much as the ones, I feel willing to be seen. Standing up in front of a room full of people in my vulnerability is not easy. I am rather shy or quite the introvert in person. I get the nervous jitters every single class and yet I show up and do it anyway. Through grounding with the class, the jitters fade with my breath.

How important is nutrition to you?
Food is life and my sanity is also important. I am not a restrictive eater. I want my relationship with food to be a loving experience. I think this stems from growing up in a low-middle class household. I am the oldest of 5 children. If you wanted to eat in our house, you better be at the table in time for dinner. Otherwise, you might not eat. You ate what was served or not. I’ve always enjoyed food and probably in the last decade began to actually taste food, instead of inhaling it, like when I grew up (in hopes for seconds). I believe in eating what feels good. Some days it’s fresh and whole meals and other days it’s a burger and fries. I never skip dessert! Nutrition, for me, has very much to do with my mindset and what my body craves. Every bite is good, nourishing, and loving no matter what I am eating.

How do you incorporate healthy eating at home with your children?
Lots of patience! Try, try, and try! One of the best things we did this year, started a home garden. Getting our son involved in the process of planting, watering, nurturing vegetables and herbs was something that lit him up.

What’s your favorite cheat meal?
I don’t believe I can cheat with food! If I were to say something I’ll never say no to it would be dessert, especially dark chocolate!

Do you meal prep?
I’ve not tried it.

Do you have a philosophy for yoga?
Every day is a chance to show up on your mat, as you are, and live wildly present. Let your mat be a safe space for you to be you. Whether you come for the strong abs, to center yourself with breath, heal yourself or dive into deep connection with loving yourself, let this practice guide you in any way that you are called. It is a never-ending practice for life.

Have has yoga changed your life?
In many ways, yes. It is a practice for me to center and know myself deeply so I may go out into the world and be of service to others.

Do you feel yoga is important for the times we live in?
Absolutely. We live in an age of constant noise and distraction. We are overly stimulated. We’ve become disconnected from our natural rhythms with nature. One of the greatest ways we can come back to the Self is to sit and breath, close down the eyes and turn inward to ourselves. The yoga invites us to live from our heart. It is the most powerful source we hold from this center: love.

What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
When life feels like one big obstacle, yoga provides a space to remember to breathe. It is still a work in progress through my depression.

How often do you work out or practice yoga?
3-5 times per week.

Have you ever practiced prenatal yoga?
A few classes from a DVD. At the time I was pregnant, there weren’t any classes near me.

Do you incorporate yoga with your little ones?
My son loved it when he was a baby/toddler. He now jumps in from time to time, but only on his own accord.

What does Namaste mean?
The same name, you and me, same name.

Do you have a favorite yoga position?
I love chaturanga! It makes me feel strong!

Do you practice dhyana (meditation)?
Yes, I do my best to give myself at least 5 min a day. My yoga practice (asana) often becomes a moving meditation for me too.

Have you found more balance & clarity in your life since you started practicing yoga?
I think so. I will say that yoga is a tool that creates space for balance and clarity. Sometimes an hour on my mat feels like I’m moving through life on my mat.

What kind of music do you listen to during yoga?
I love all kinds of music; chill beats, house, funk, hip-hop, instrumental, etc. I am very intentional with my music, and it is a part of the experience of my classes. Some days, the greatest music of all is the sound of the breath and the beat of the hearts moving together.