LIVE YOUR YOGA & not just practice your yoga!
I have always been one to push myself physically. I was a ballerina and gymnast for 13 years when I was younger, then later in life took up fencing, karate, and belly dancing. I was also a bit of a gym-rat, pumping iron and running my heart out on the treadmill. Sound familiar to some? Well, back in 2000, my husband, Don, who was taking yoga classes at our local health club, urged me to try out yoga thinking that it would be a great balance to my workouts. Right away I was hooked. But my competitive nature took over, wanting to perfect every pose and look good doing it. I practiced yoga in that manner for many years.
Then in 2006, as a contestant on CBS’ Survivor: Cook Islands, my life and my yoga shifted dramatically. Survivor is a physically and mentally draining competition, it is everything you see on TV and so much more. During that time I was away from my husband and son, Casey, for two whole months without any contact. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. On my 23rd day on the island, starting to feel lonely without my family, hungry, tired, and mentally drawn, I was so distraught, almost wanting to throw in the towel. Instead, I found a secluded part of the island, sat down, meditated and began practicing asanas. When I woke from my savasana, I realized “THAT is what yoga is all about!” I didn’t care how pretty my yoga looked. Instead, I FELT my yoga. I connected my mind, body, and spirit into my yoga practice on that beach, and listened to myself internally, feeling more focused, connected, and at peace.I lasted 25 days on Survivor and did not win, which is fine because I came back a whole new person with a desire to share that “a-ha” feeling with other yogis.
My Yoga Journey
I have since gone on and completed my 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification training through my teacher Daren Friesen of Moksha Yoga in 2008. Plus, I have been fortunate to have studied with many great, master teachers, (Noah Maze, Andre Lappa, Rod Stryker, Dharma Mittra, Aadil Palkhivala, Judith Lasater, Leslie Kaminoff and Deepak Chopra) all of whom have inspired me to delve deeper into my practice and find greater joy within my yoga.
Now, with over 5000 hours of teaching and over 1000 hours of teacher training credits, I am registered with Yoga Alliance as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-200 & YACEP). I continue to add to my skill set by taking courses in Advanced Teacher Training, including completing both Advanced Asana and Demystifying the Subtle Body (Chakras, Vayus, etc.) courses taught by my teachers and mentors Jim Bennitt and James Tennant of Tejas Yoga Chicago. More recently, I completed a Mindfulness and Meditation program via The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ.
Adding to my studio classes, I founded Yoga Within You Yoga Retreats in 2012 (www.yogawithinyou.com) and have partnered up with a few amazing yoga instructors from the Chicago area, adding Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Portugal, Oregon, Utah and New Hampshire to our favored yoga destinations.
My desire is to provide a vigorous yet calming yoga practice, pairing the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga to my students. In each class, I strive to offer a challenge for those who desire, and modifications for students beginning their yoga journey. Expect a creative, breath-led vinyasa class that emphasizes functional movement with a strong focus on anatomy and structural strengthening.
Yoga is a path of self-discovery, giving us the opportunity to continually transform the Self, and bringing us to a place of deeper connection to what is truly important. Thus, every class, I weave in dharma talks supported by yoga history and philosophy which help students to understand yoga beyond the physical. My goal is for students to leave feeling uplifted, inspired, light, strong and peaceful so that they may learn to live their yoga beyond the mat.
My yoga practice has brought many positive changes to my life, and I am honored to teach yoga so that others can use the body to reach their heart and mind.
I am happily married to my yoga teacher husband, Don, for 27 years. We both just recently moved from Chicago to Venice, California in Aug 2019 and are getting used to our new normal. Outside of practicing yoga together, we love traveling together and spoiling our Siberian Husky baby, Keira. Our adult son, Casey, lives the Cali Life too with his loyal pup, Amy.
My Yoga Accolades
The journey never ends! On October 17 2010, I was named Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica! It’s quite an honor and it motivates me to continue sharing yoga to everyone!