Birthplace: Miami Florida
When and how did you start practicing yoga?
My first experience with yoga was during physical education class in elementary school. I remember my teacher using The Beatles in her playlist and a wonderful guided relaxation at the end. I took yoga in PE again in college. The favorite pose at that time was “the sponge” aka savasana. I then took up yoga again later, after sustaining a few sports related injuries , looking for a gentle way to regain strength and flexibility and I found it in yoga! I also found an interesting community with many kind people, exposure to different ways of thinking and wonderful strategies for managing stress.
How has it helped you “off the mat”?
I have to say that this is the area in which it has helped me the most! I am calmer, more balanced and more positive.
When did you decide you wanted to teach Yoga, and where/with whom did you do teacher training?
As I continued to go deeper into my practice, talking with some of my teachers, trying out workshops with other teachers and reading yoga texts, I was encouraged to enroll in a teacher training. Friends and coworkers would see the benefits that I gained from my practice and would ask me to share what I knew with them. I also work in the field of mental heatlth, as a clinical social worker, and knew that yoga could benefit the people that I work with. I thought about it on and off for quite some time. In 2009, I surrendipitously met Kristin Cooper and felt like an opportunity had fallen into my lap- all of the necessary pieces lined up for me at that time and I was able to enroll in a 200 hr teacher training program with her through the Wilmington Yoga Center. I am currrently working toward my 500 hr certification.
What styles are you most influenced by in your teaching, and who are your favorite teachers?
That is a very complex question! There are so many styles, each with their own benefits! I enjoy a strong, challenging, creative vinyasa style which combines an awareness of mental development along with the physical . One of my influences in this area has been Johnna Smith, with her strong, encouraging, uplifting and challenging style, addressing mental/emotional aspects of the practice as well as the physical ones. I have of course been greatly influenced by Kristin Cooper, who promotes living our yoga off the mat through respect for the yamas and niyamas in everyday life, an awareness of Ayurveda and its compliments to yoga and her creative sequencing style. I appreciate as well, the benefits of slowing down at times through a slow flow or yin class and the awareness of proper alignment. Some additional teachers whom I enjoy and learn from are Kathryn Budig, Shala Worsely, Marlyssa Sullivan and many local teachers here in Charlotte!
What do you like to do when you’re not doing yoga?
I like to walk, hike, dance, swim in mountain swimming holes with my family, friends and dog, read, garden , go to festivals and creatively upcycle things that I have or find.