How did you get into yoga? What aspect of yoga got you on the mat in the beginning?
In short, two magnificent M’s are responsible for introducing me to the mat. Margret, my childhood bestie, and I wanted to spend time together being active and stumbled upon a hatha yoga class at a Sheil Park District on Southport in the Chicago Lakeview neighborhood. We had just graduated from college, it was the late 90’s and yoga was not as ubiquitous as it is today. A few classes in, Margret stopped coming to class, and I was occasionally attending two times a day! Viscerally, I knew a fire had been ignited. After about a year of attending hatha yoga classes with a lovely yoga instructor, Joyce, the other “M”—Madonna, heeded my attention. She was featured in “W” magazine referencing her practice of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Method. A style I knew little to nothing about. The article highlighted Madonna in several asanas adorned in couture and heels! As superficial and trite as it reads...it led me to become curious regarding the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga tradition. Joyce helped me locate two Ashtanga studios near my neighborhood, Global Yoga and N.U. Yoga Center. I attended Suddha Weixler’s 10am Saturday led Ashtanga class where I stayed for the next 4 years. So Margret and Madonna—thank you!
What would you consider your yoga style and who were a few teachers that influenced you the most?
I practice the traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Method. I’m inspired by all that surrounds me, as I try to be as observant and open to all that may be for me. Yoga teachers....if I’ve been in your class...know that I’ve gleaned something from you. I’ve been at this for a good bit of time; there have been so many Ashtanga Vinyasa influences over the years. I’ve had the good fortune to practice with Kino McGregor, Tim Miller, Dena Kingsberg, Harmony Slater, Sharath Jois, and Daylene Christensen. Blessed to study with Tim Feldmann, Richard Freeman, Lino Miele, and Suddha Weixler. Grateful to have practiced and taught alongside Bill Shapleigh, Cara Jepsen, Mary Klonowski, Erica Merrill, Tom Quinn, Quinn Kearney, Sharyn Galindo, and Alexia Bauer.
It is thought that when a student is ready—the teacher appears. That has been my experience with Tim Feldmann. Well beyond asana, Tim’s spiritual teachings and method of teaching resonate with me.
If you could change one aspect of the modern yoga world, what would that be?
I disregarded this question upon first read. In part, because it seemed like it would take a considerable amount of space to unpack it, and it might not be very constructive. After a second look, I concluded the optics didn’t have to be so adverse.
It’s to my understanding that a cultivated yoga practice invites one to sit with one’s thoughts, ideas, and emotions as an inward exercise. In stark contrast to, the “live out loud” aspect that gives the impression to be trending or prevalent today via social mediums. Not saying I’d change it, but maybe more posing the question, “are you really doing the work—the inward application?”
Author, Glennon Doyle, talks about sharing when what you have is wisdom, rather than when what you have is existing heavily in the trenches. In other words, ruminate before soliciting the world. Share your reflections, not so much the minute-to-minute account. I vibe with this sensibility.
Richard Freeman says it best (as he tends to do) regarding the work in, “we often begin our study of yoga with a desire to alleviate our suffering or to find happiness or to get a little pleasure. We may come to the practice to relax, or because our back is out of alignment, we feel frustrated, our knees hurt, or we just want a distraction. As we continue, however, our reasons for returning to yoga begin to change. We find that the practice solves our initial problems—but then deeper problems, desires, and aspirations that appear to be linked together in a chain of preferences begin to reveal themselves. We realize that although we use our body to experience the yoga, the purpose of the practice is not to cure our ills or to meet our desires, nor is it about relaxation or stimulation...instead yoga is a path to undo the root of all types of misery through the direct experience of deep, clear, open awareness. Ultimately we find that it is an attraction to the joy of this liberating experience that underlies all our other desires and that attracts us into the realm of practice in the first place.”
What was one of the funniest or most humbling moments you've had while teaching a class?
When students say to me, “thank you for being here.” That one tugs at me every time. The daily decision to show up to our own lives is difficult at best. My role as a teacher is to hold space for students to connect with themselves, and the world —beyond their mat. I can’t request them to show up, if I don’t. And not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. There has to be a level of modeling in a teacher/student relationship.
My dear friend, Jessica Lindberg, taught me that we all embody the scope to be teachers in life. But in order to employ the position, you have to be able to connect with each person. And possess a profound grasp that everyone wants to be seen, heard, and loved.
In less than 140 characters, describe your inner experience going about daily life pre vs. post developing a regular yoga or meditation practice.
Ok I’ll play. In the spirit of one of my favorite childhood game shows “Name That Tune”—I’ll answer this question in far less notes...I mean characters!
Type A (pre)
Recovering Type A (post)
What is your favorite non-yoga activity?
Dining out for breakfast (@shannonhillenmeyer and @npiacenti can confirm☺️). Favorite meal of the day, and makes me so satisfyingly happy!
I think we all have a superpower/s or gift/s. What is/are yours?
I’ve been told that I hold the ability to accept others as they are, where they are, and enter into that space with them. I also possess a MacGyver-like resourceful nature.
Monday 8:00 - 10:15 am Mysore Chicago
Thursday 11:30 - 12:45 pm Level 2-3 Wilmette
Friday 8:00 - 10:15 am Mysore Chicago