1. What does yoga mean to you?
Yoga is light. Illumination. Unwinding. Healing. Living. Transforming. Aligning with reality kindly. Yoga is intimate and intimacy. Yoga is truth and compassion. Yoga is now. Yoga is subtle effort. Yoga is witnessing without reacting. Yoga is every moment. Yoga is nourishment. Yoga is you and me. Yoga is union. Yoga is a portal to our essence and the ocean of goodness that surrounds and supports us.
2. What impact has yoga had on your life?
It is difficult to express in words how much yoga has impacted and enhanced my life. When I started practicing 21 years ago it was a complete life changer. It awakened me to another level of reality - the subtle energies of prana and shakti - and supported me in embarking on a healing journey based in loving awareness, self-acceptance, and the growing trust that there is an innate goodness and subtle intelligence within and around all of us. From the time I started yoga until now this amazing practice has been the quiet architect of my life... continuously offering me new and unexpected gifts for how to support myself and others... and bringing me home again and again into deeper and more gratifying layers of my own being. I began teaching InnerYoga classes, workshops, and teacher trainings to share the approach to yoga that has been most helpful in supporting my continued healing and happiness.
3. In what ways does yoga help you off the mat?
In what way doesn't it help me? I think that would be an easier question to answer. Yoga supports me in endeavoring, everyday, to simply live with the view that all circumstances that arise on my path are the practice... and to hold these "poses" with awareness, kindness, breath, and, the intention of ease. I find that yoga is, at its most potent, inward and intimate and very very practical - we are faced with a momentary awareness of an emotional contraction and the choice, in that instant, to relax and soften… or to react. Life is a series of these continually unfolding moments. Can we choose ease? Can we love and accept ourselves in a moment of dis-ease? Can we trust that regardless of the flavor of this moment it is the portal to our own buoyant inner stream of well being?
4. What do you recommend for people who are brand new to yoga?
First - know that yoga is for everyone. It doesn't require you to have any particular body type, flexibility, or peace of mind. The true practice happens on the inside. Start as you are. Start slow. Start by learning how to let go... how to soften... how to exhale. Start simply. There is no rush. Use yoga as an opportunity to refine your relationship to yourself by imbuing your time on the mat with kindness and the intention to be at ease amidst whatever is arising in your practice. Let go of any goals or ideas of how you think you should be and simply enjoy your experience. Savor the delicious benefits of body, mind, and heart that arise each time you are on the mat. It is this deliciousness that will motivate your dedication organically.
5. What yoga tips can you share with people?
Ease!! Everything is better with ease. This seems so simple, but I cannot emphasize it enough. It is so powerful to be able to soften with ease in the midst of any condition or discomfort.... even as you remain uncomfortable.
To cultivate ease take a gentle easy breath in through the nose... and let out an unforced relaxed exhale through your mouth. Notice the pause at the end of your exhale. That is what I like to call the "after exhale." Invite ease in your body, your heart, your mind... in this small space of the after exhale. Do this anytime, anywhere!
6. What drew you to teach the particular style(s) of yoga that you teach now?
I teach InnerYoga. I was drawn to offer this style quite organically. It came out of my own practice. I found that what was most vital to me was that yoga was an experience that occurred from the inside out, and I wanted to teach an approach to the practice of yoga which made this its emphasis. I also wanted it to be easily accessible for almost anyone, very engaging, and practical in real life situations. In InnerYoga, the subtle body and the inner landscape are central to all practice whether it is a Yin Yoga class, an active flow class, or a teacher training on physical alignment that I am leading. Ease, awareness, kindness and breathing are at the heart of every InnerYoga experience. These yogic skills are powerful and practical in the face of real and frequent on and off the mat challenges we all face as yogi humans. I am so grateful to the teachers and the traditions that have supported me and which I have drawn upon in my practice and teaching. Iyengar Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Buddhism, Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong, Jin Shin Jytsu, and Neuropsychology have all played a profoundly influential role on my path of growth and continue to do so. My unending gratitude …