What is your personal mantra?
Breath In. Breath out.
You are teaching a masterclass at the SoulLove Fest Sat., Sept 17, how did that opportunity come to you?
What a blessing! Shine, my home studio in Batavia, IL is a sponsor of SoulLove Fest. I am humbled to represent Shine during a master class where I will teach a class themed The Pancha Mahabhutas – The 5 Great Elements!
What advice do you for woman aspiring to be a yoga instructor?
Practice, practice, then practice more!
- Take care of yourself unapologetically. Love yourself fully. Accept yourself endlessly.
- Accept every layer of your being: the light, the dark, the strong, the fractured.
- Be authentic. Find your voice. The students that are meant to be with you will be drawn to you, and you to them. Remain on your path, and your students will find you.
- Do not teach to be idolized, teach for the sake of teaching. Teach from the heart. Teach because it is your gift and you cannot help but to give it away.
- Empower rather than compete with other teachers. Allow space for professional cross-pollination. Work humbly and in harmony at the studios where you offer classes.
- Be a vessel of the knowledge you are so blessed to have. Knowledge is not accessed equally across the globe. With knowledge comes responsibility. Honor this immense gift. All are welcome.
How has being a single working woman changed your perspective on life?
I am at peace as a single woman. Being single has allowed me space to step further into myself. Being single has deepened my will to create. The need to be self-sustained and able to provide for my son I, spearheaded the creation of two business which I am blessed to own and operate. Although I am open to partnership, I am at ease alone. I have gained greater clarity into who I am and who I will allow to enter sacred space with me. Being a single working woman has also changed my perspective all together on deeper cultural norms such as marriage and monogamy. Perhaps we will leave that for the next interview…lol!
Has your son shown interest in yoga and meditation?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. He is a very body oriented young man that loves to be physical, so he will do yoga with me from time to time, but overall, he prefers competitive sports. While yoga is physical, it is non-competitive, so it doesn’t fully jive with him. He always trying to wrestle me to the ground, so I pin him and kiss him. He tells me there is no kissing in sports! We are opposites in that sense. I prefer non-competitive activity!
What advice do you have for people who want to start a mediation practice?
Slow and steady. Begin with short meditation times and in postures that are comfortable.
Begin with 1 minute, then two, etc. Gradually intensify the posturing. Begin with a reclined and supported posture then eventually a more traditional upright seated posture. Explore various techniques until you are ease with one in particular. Dwell in that technique until you are comfortable challenging yourself with a new one. Be patient. Breath in. Breath out.
How has yoga impacted your life?
Yoga has connected me to spirit. Yoga has liberated me from the bondage of self-doubt and led me into radical self-acceptance. How wonderful it is that we get to come to the mat and practice embodiment. We are encouraged to observe ourselves without judgment, to love ourselves without conditions and to honor ourselves without doubt.
It has taught me that as we become more self-aware, we become more compassionate towards others. The illusions that divide you dissolve and you see that there is in fact only connection. All beings are valued equally in the yogic system. So as we discover ourselves, we too discover all beings. This revelation through yoga has been a game changer!
As I have gone deeper into practice, I have gone deeper into a yogic lifestyle. In order to physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually reach higher levels of expression in yoga on the mat, it is necessary to reach higher levels of mindful living off the mat. Through my 20 years of practice, I have evolved into a plant based diet, I use several wellness techniques based in the ancient Ayurvedic system, I go to nature often and in full reverence, I work to leave the smallest environmental footprint possible, I practice non-attachment and I strive to be a loving and compassionate human being.
Travel is very important to you, what is your dream place to visit?
In a world full of incredible destinations, top on my list to visit is India. I have faith that I will know when the time is right to go. I want to go as a student. When I am ready, the teacher will appear and I will visit the motherland of this incredible scientific system that has changed the course of my life! As a teacher, top on my list to bring students for a retreat is Bali. I want to teach at Michael Franti’s Retreat Center, Soulshine!!!!
What goddess do you connect most with? Why?
Akhilandeshvari – The Goddess of Never Not Broken. She gives me permission to be flawed and imperfect. She reminds me that there is always space for work, reflection, self-observation and radical self-acceptance. Her vehicle, the crocodile, is one of the most fierce and ancient creatures. Even as a broken being, Akhilandeshvari has the strength and balance to connect to this wild creature and ride it in harmony. I believe it is because she has put the ego at bay and does not consider herself more valuable than any other being or creature. She is a beautiful reminder that we have the capacity to make our brokenness our strength. We have the capacity to recreate ourselves endlessly! She chooses to remain broken so never to appear perfect, as that would be an illusion. This is the ultimate in self-acceptance! She would even feel limited without her fractures, as though people might think she was hiding her shadows or being inauthentic. Akhilandeshvari understands that our brokenness does not have to make us weak. It can make us strong!
What is one of your favorite yoga teaching memory?
This past summer, I taught yoga at Blue Ox Music Festival in Eau Claire, WI. Festival goers are wild, free spirits and each morning, when we gathered at 10am after a night of dancing, celebrating, loving and connecting, we prepared ourselves for another day of the same through a sweet morning practice. Festival yogis enjoy hip opening classes that prepare them to dance, detox classes that help them re-energize and soulful classes that raise their consciousness. Music and yoga are two of the most important components in my life. They feed my soul on an equal level, so when in combination, I am in my happiest place.