Birthplace: Chicago, IL

When and how did you start practicing Yoga?

I started my yoga practice in college, I remember purchasing a yoga DVD my sophomore year. I would practice in the common room of my sorority house. Shortly after I started I convinced some of my sorority sisters to join me, we would all do yoga on Sunday nights.

How has it helped you ‘off the mat’?

Yoga has not only helped me mentally focus and relax, but I have also experienced great  improvements physically. I suffer from cornice back pain, yoga has help relieve the pain and improve my posture.

When did you decide you wanted to teach Yoga, and where/with whom did you do teacher training?

I have known from many years that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. I have been a fitness professional since I graduated from college. I started my fitness career as a Group Exercise Instructor and then Personal Trainer. After years I teaching and training individuals the importance of strength and cardio training I knew it was time to turn my passion for practicing yoga into teaching. I completed my training with Bella Vita Yoga Teacher Training at Noda Yoga. I had the pleasure of learning and growing under the guidance of the lovely and talented Carrie Williams and Jillian Scuderi-Longsworth.

What styles are you most influenced by in your teaching, and who are your favorite teachers?

When I first started practicing I gravitated towards fast faced power vinyasa classes. Though I still love a good energizing power class and often incorporate some into my vinyasa classes, I really enjoy a mindful slow flow. I would say my personal practice is a vinyasa, but when I get the opportunity to enjoy a deep stretch or yin class I am a happy yogi. The great thing about Charlotte is there is no shortage of wonderful talented teachers, I am a little biased toward my mentors Carrie and Jillian. I always like to explore new classes and experience new teachers.

What are your favorite Yoga-related books or DVDs?

I love the books Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, by Mark Nepo and Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit: A Return to Wholeness by Donna Farhi. The DVD Vinyasa Unlocked does a wonderful job of breaking down poses and sequences. I also love the blog site YogabyCandance, she has a very positive outlook on living your practice. Candace also offers wonderful photos that help show proper alignment which is fantastic for visual learners.

What do you like to do when you’re not doing Yoga?

I try to live the life I promote everyday professionally and personally. I am a Fitness Director for a Country Club and believe living an active lifestyle is important. If there is an activity to do outside, then count me in. I love running, working out, watching football and spending time with friends. I am a Stand-Up Paddleboard Instructor so any chance I get I am out on the water for some paddle boarding or yoga. Mostly importantly, I love spending time with the people and things that mean the most to me. I have an amazing dog that brightens my life daily!

Email Jen