How did you get into yoga? What aspect of yoga got you on the mat in the beginning?
I started practicing yoga my first week in college. I went to a small school in Cambridge Massachusetts where I was recruited to play soccer. At a team meeting my coach suggested that we do yoga together. The class was taught by a girl on my team and we did it in an old Church. As we were practicing I realized many of the stretches we did to prepare for a game were yoga poses. It was this first experience that hooked me into the practice. As my interest in yoga grew I realized that during my years playing soccer I was doing yoga without even knowing it. The ability to be completely present was the feeing I was chasing on the field. Thankfully yoga felt less competitive and helped calm my nerves. Over the years this practice became an outlet for me to go inward and take time to pause and become more self reflective.
After my first year in college, I hated my experience and quit playing soccer. Mentally, I was in a place where I was dealing with depression and anxiety and yoga made it easier to deal with those emotions. I was in such a rut and my Mom really wanted me to go back to school. Since I was from New York, I wanted to try living in another city and moved to Chicago to attend school at DePaul. When I arrived in Chicago, in order to ground myself, I knew I needed to find a yoga studio to practice at. I took the redline all over the city until I found a place that worked for me.
Eventually, I reached a point on my yoga path where I wanted to know more about why yoga made me feel better. I enrolled in my first 200hr. teacher training not intending to teach but to soak in information about the practice and its history. I’ve been teaching full time in Chicago ever since!
For me yoga is more than just a physical practice and I am thankful that it has been a constant in my life all these years.
What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most?
My yoga style recently has been a mix of many things but my primary focus is on body mechanics. Body mechanics consists of exercises to improve posture, coordination, and stamina. I’m also highly influenced by Iyengar Yoga and almost always incorporate the use of props in my classes. My path to this style of yoga began with my teacher Noah Maze. During my 500hr teacher training with Noah he sparked a passion in me that focused on alignment based asana with a traditional approach that helps to maintain the safety in the alignment of the poses. I’ve also been influenced by Gabriel Halpern who has a background in Iyengar yoga, Darren Rhodes who is the founder of Yoga Hour, and my Chicago favorite teacher/ friend Sara Strother.
If you could change one aspect of the modern yoga world, what would that be?
Social Media. Specifically Instagram. Instagram is all about image, it is a visual medium and yoga isn’t about image. It’s about what’s inside and it almost forces yoga teachers to act as celebrities instead of just being yourself. Honestly, I get it, I myself use it but I think that it has in many ways affected the way we see yoga today. The physical practice of yoga is not old and each time I go on instagram I find that there are many yoga poses that are newly created. I honestly dislike how many people rely on this platform to determine the popularity of a teacher or the experience of the teacher maybe before they even step into the classroom. Don’t get me wrong I still continue to use social media and I have benefited from this platform. I just wish there was a different way to reach people while staying completely authentic. I also wish that there were less competition. At the end of the day, yoga is supposed to bring us together.
Why do you love teaching at yogaview?
I love teaching at Yogaview because I feel supported in many ways by the staff and the community. It’s not often that you get the ability to be creative as a teacher and I feel like I can truly be myself. I’ve been teaching in Chicago for many years and I’ve noticed a shift in my teaching once I started at Yogaview. I’m grateful to be on the schedule at Yogaview and take class with my coworkers.
What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you've had while teaching a class?
One time when I was teaching I had students grab blocks and I wanted them to set up the block in a specific way. I said place the block under your nose and as I said this I literally watched students put blocks UNDER THEIR NOSE!! After I stopped laughing I asked the class why they thought I wanted them to SMELL the block and everyone couldn’t stop laughing.
If there was one spiritual teacher or guru that you would desire to study under (dead or alive) who would it be?
I really do wish I got to study under B.K.S Iyengar. I don’t think I’d ever get certificated in Iyengar Yoga but it has influenced my teaching. Some styles of yoga are not for everybody and I think he does a great job incorporating many different props to fit everyones’ needs. In many ways I align with Iyengar yoga as a movement practitioner but there are parts of his teaching that aren’t for me and that’s ok too!
What is your favorite non yoga activity?
I like to believe that the yoga doesn’t stop but when I’m not teaching I enjoy growing my veggies in the summer and selling flowers at the Logan Square Farmers market. For the past 4 years I’ve been growing flowers in and out of the City with local farmers and it has sparked a passion in me that I didn’t know I had. One day I hope to start my own urban flower farm but for now I need to save up.
Monday 12:30 - 1:45 pm Level 2 Chicago
Wednesday 10:15 - 11:30 am All Levels Chicago
Thursday 4:30 - 5:45 pm Level 2 Chicago
Saturday 8:30 - 9:45 am Level 2 Chicago