A: I began practicing yoga 5 years ago when a friend recommended it for an old injury that was causing me discomfort.
Q: What got you hooked?
A: I began practicing yoga at first for the physical benefits, the body awareness and the tension it was releasing in my body. However, I was officially hooked to yoga after my first class where I was actually able to go inward. I was able to turn off my constantly running mind and just be in the moment. Just focusing on my body and breathe. It left good to be able to let all my stresses go and be present.
Q: Where did you do your training (The space/the style of yoga you teach)?
A: I did my training with CoreWorks Institute at Sweetwater Yoga and Fitness with Shannon Kidwell and Lee Clise. I was taught Hatha yoga that focused on core work and therapeutic alignment. I teach classes that range from a powerful vinyasa flow to gentle to yin. Even though I bring a different energy into each one of these classes, my primary focus is to safely move people from pose to pose, hoping that everyone leaves the class feeling better than they did when they walked in.
Q: Advice for a first-timer?
A: Know that everyone in the class has been in your shoes before, intimidated by the practice and hesitant to take the first step. The more you learn about yoga, the more you realize how much there is to learn. No one knows everything about the practice. It’s a constant study for everyone, we are all beginners.
Q: What is your favorite pose and why?
A: My favorite pose is Shavasana. It’s my favorite because it was one of the hardest for me to learn. Laying still and letting my mind go was very difficult for me when I first started practicing yoga. I would just lay there thinking ‘When is the teacher going to end class? I have things to do. I like yoga but hate this part’. It wasn’t until I was able to let go and focus inward that I began to appreciate Shavasana and receive the benefits. In yoga we move the body to help quiet the mind, helping us to get to a more meditative place, Shavasana is the pose that helps us prepare the mind for meditation.
Q: Private studio better/different than a yoga class at the gym?
A: I feel a private studio is better than a class at the gym because a class at a gym is focusing on the physical aspects of yoga, when that is just one layer upon many. Meditation and breathing are just as important as the poses. In my experience, a private studio creates an energy and ambiance that a gym cannot create. You do not have a bunch of people talking and doing different workouts throughout the building, instead everyone comes together to share their practice and energy in the studio’s community, helping to heighten the benefits we are all trying to receive from yoga.
Q: Advice for a practicing yogi to take it to the next level?
A: Branch out. Focus on different aspects of yoga. Meditation. Breathing. Sutras. Chakras. Different styles. Start learning more about yoga so you can start going deeper into your practice.
Q: What tools are essential for starting a yoga practice?
A: Dedication to the practice. Even if you can only make a class once a week or once a month, make time for yourself to practice.
Q: Is there an essential yoga mindset?
A: To be present in your practice and move mindfully from pose to pose. This means to let go of all the thoughts racing through your head, all your worries, stresses and lists. Not worrying about how you look in a pose or if you were unable to do something. Instead, focusing on your breathe and body. Feeling the pose, listening to what your body is telling you in each pose. Places that are tight and sore. Tension you are carrying places that you were not even aware of. Feeling the muscle engagement and moving slowly and safely. Thus allowing yourself to go inward in your practice and begin quieting the mind.