How did you get into yoga? What aspect of yoga got you on the mat in the beginning?
I got into yoga because I heard it was good for lower back pain, which I had from an accident that left me with 2 fractured vertebrate in my lower back and a shattered ankle. I also had been studying eastern religion in Michigan and Japan so I thought there would be a connection. My first classes were at the Sivananda Center in Edgewater 15 years ago. Soon after I took a yoga course at Columbia College when I was getting my B.A. in Poetry.
What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most?
I would consider my yoga style as contemplative and non-dogmatic. I pull from my own experience having had multiple injuries and feeling strongly that creating space in the body(even in the challenging poses) is transformational. Having experienced the benefits yoga has on anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress I pull inspiration from this. As a student I honestly and wholeheartedly feel inspired by teachers who are honest about their own journey, who walk with integrity and humility, and teachers who help me remember what is most important to my heart. The ones who swing me back on track. These days I am over the yoga celebrity and teachers who have a huge following on social media. Give me a teacher who will show me in a real way that the yoga is helping them live a happier, more loving and accepting existence. A teacher that can see through the games and bullsh*t of even this industry and live in their own purpose with confidence.
If you could change one aspect of the modern yoga world, what would that be?
welp...I think I may have answered that above! lol.
As a teacher that teaches at both Chicago and Wilmette locations, why do you love teaching at yogaview?
I am allowed to be myself here. Creative expression. I can create sequences and themes without being told to do it in a certain way. Because of this I feel trusted and held accountable. In turn, I want to be trusted to create a safe class that is unfiltered with intentions. Yogaview owners and management do not stifle their teachers. Because of this the pulse of what is really going on in yoga, our personal life, the world can be addressed alone/together on our mats. Yogi's are meant to ask the deeper questions. A studio like Yogaview supports their teachers to do so.
Within the 8 limbs of yoga, the experience of Samadhi is often described as the top rung of the ladder. It's considered by many to be indescribable, yet it is often described as such and more. Can you please describe your personal experience of this state or what the concept represents to you?
In my experience this journey is not linear. There is no goal to get to the "top rung of the ladder." It is like saying that once you finally get handstand and hold it for 5 minutes you are a master yogi. If you have practiced yoga for a short while you start to realize that there is so much more than this. And in my experience I can still be sad and hold handstand for a long time. Holding handstand doesn't necessarily make me happier. (although I am exhilarated when I can do it;) One day as we get older we won't be able to hold handstand anymore even if we could at one time. Then what? What is the lasting thing? Live your life now and do things that align you to your highest truth. Mess up sometimes. Don't worry so much about attaining Samadhi.
What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you've had while teaching a class?
These feel sacred to me.
In less than 140 characters, describe your inner experience going about daily life pre vs. post developing a regular yoga or meditation practice.
It is so interesting because so often I forget about the way I navigated my life before yoga. I am still me but I can handle stressful situations a bit better. A friend put it really well the other day. She said, " I don't get road rage as often." I remember to breath and trust more.
If there was one spiritual teacher or guru that you would desire to study under (dead or alive) who would it be?
Pema Chodron, Indra Devi, Dr Maya Angelou, Dr Martin Luther King, Dr Vasant Lad.
What is your favorite non yoga activity?
Biking, rollerskating, my dog Nora, live music, writing, eating delicious foods.