What’s your yoga story?
My first yoga experience was at the back of the class in a crowded gymnasium with the instructor on a small stage, far away from me at the front of the room. It was cold. I had no idea what a “Down Dog” was and could barely see the instructor to understand what it was supposed to look like, let alone feel like. Needless to say, I decided it wasn’t for me.
Cut to a few years later, I took my first heated vinyasa class. I loved it. It was so different from what I had previously experienced, in a small intimate environment with lots of hands-on assists by a woman named “[Sarah] Stretch.” How perfect, right? I finally understood what the big deal was, quickly became a member and shortly thereafter, began working for this Yoga company on a corporate level. I completed my first teacher training and began teaching. For 10 years it was beautiful… until it wasn’t. As my professional duties grew, I felt that I didn’t have time to teach yoga, so I gave up that role. I began traveling more and more and soon felt I didn’t have time to attend classes, and wasn’t. The balance of my life was out of wack. Since I wasn’t practicing the physical act of yoga, I realized I wasn’t living a life of yoga on OR off my mat… It was time for a change.
I left my corporate job and 2 days later got a new job as a “Yoga Instructor.” That was it. Just like that, my identity was back. My sense of purpose and fulfillment was back. I began taking classes regularly, attending workshops and yoga festivals. I learned SO MUCH MORE about the practice and about myself than in the 10 years dedicated to one company. I was empowered and brave enough to start my own business while still maintaining my yoga practicing and retaining my identity as a Yoga Instructor.
I studied yoga philosophy. I began meditating. I finally understood that the practice doesn’t come in parts. The union of physical and spiritual are the practice. I began taking and teaching more restorative formats. I finally learned how to slow down. To experience life and understand what it means when people say, “life is a journey.” Why we call it our “Yoga Practice, ” and not “Yoga Perfect.” Every day is different. Every experience is an opportunity for growth and change. For new beginnings and reflection of our past, which allows us to do and be better in the future. I’m grateful for the journey and to where it’s brought me. I look forward to how my life will continue to advance and grow.
What’s your favorite way to slow down?
Generally, I am a very social person and love being around people and community. But as we know, slowing down is essential and sometimes I still need reminders to do so. I’m grateful for my restorative and meditative practices, and also grateful for hot baths, essential oils, and quiet moments of solitude. I find its just as important to connect with myself as it is with the people around me, which allows me to better serve the people around me. I’ve also adopted “Friday Hikes” into my regular routine. Typically, just me and my dog (Luna) and a chance to get out and immerse myself in nature.
Describe your most peaceful day.
Colorado Mountains. Hot Springs. Light snow fall. Stillness. Tranquility.
Why do you love teaching Supportive Yoga formats?
It took me a while to realize that Yoga is more than the physical practice. We live in a world where the norm is a constant “Go! Go! Go!” Our standard response is reactive, constantly increasing our stress state to the point where we don’t even realize how stressed we are. A moderate level of stress is the new “normal.” WTF? When we slow down, we allow ourselves to drop out of that stress state, working towards homeostasis and closer to equilibrium. In supportive formats, we’re moving deeper, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. That is where the magic happens. When we allow ourselves to release the stress and tension we’re holding onto in our bodies, we’re finally achieving the union of body and mind, which is the exact definition of Yoga. Supportive formats are a critical for that balance and I’m honored to be there for our students as they make these small improvements in their bodies and lives, which inevitably make huge impacts on our culture and society.
What is mindfulness?
Awareness, acceptance, patience, understanding. Practicing non-judgement and believing that there is not a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.