How did you begin practicing and teaching yoga?
I first came to yoga my sophomore year in college. I was feeling pretty lost and overwhelmed with various life stressors and something about yoga was calling out to me, but I wasn’t exactly sure of quite what that was. I grew up as an athlete, playing pretty much every sport I could get my hands on in my formative years through high school. I released my identity as an athlete as I came into college, without consciously recognizing that I didn’t have a relationship with my true identity. It has taken me years to realize that when I was seeking yoga in those early years, what I was truly seeking was connection - connection with Self and connection with Spirit.
Without any prior knowledge on yoga, I hopped onto Amazon and ordered the yoga DVD with the most/highest ratings: Kundalini Yoga for Beginners and Beyond by Ana Bret and Ravi Singh. I can remember being so confused when I popped it into the DVD player - “This is yoga?” I could only complete part of the class and had a lot of difficulty keeping up, mentally and physically. My collegiate distractions took precedence over my peace of mind at that time, and I was not immediately hooked on yoga, though I often heard it calling out to me as a way to find respite from the fast pace of college. I finally mustered up the courage to attend a public yoga class - a leisure offering at LSU, and walked into a quiet, dark room. I quickly closed the door behind me and found a place to sit. The instructor came over to whisper to me that class was finished - I had just bombarded their Savasana! Mortified, I didn’t return to the remainder of the series. A few months later, I found a local studio which was offering free yoga for work trade via manning the front desk. It was at this studio, Yoga Bliss, where the unfolding truly began to take shape. Something deep within my heart stirred in those early days at the studio, and I knew from within that I wanted to learn to teach and share the practice with others. It took years for me to find the courage and belief in myself to attend teacher training. It was absolutely worth the wait and without a doubt the best venture I have ever done for myself. I encourage anyone, whether they desire to teach or not, to give a thought to deepening their practice through teacher training. My experience through teacher trainings have helped me to come to know myself like I never have before and have granted me the gift of a firm foundation for my home practice. I am always hungry for more trainings and hope I never sway from maintaining a beginner’s mindset - each day, each practice, each breath and each moment is new.
How has yoga been transformational in your life?
Yoga has facilitated an unpeeling of myself to reveal who I am inside. It was through yoga that I first learned how to feel - and therefore, how to heal. Each day this process continues, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to know and love myself a little more each day.
What’s your favorite part about teaching yoga?
I love to see the spark of yoga light up in students eyes.
What do you do to prepare for class?
I prefer to practice in some manner before class, be it a few sun salutations or 3 minutes of Ego Eradicator (an empowering Kundalini kriya/meditation which features breath of fire, a breathing practice which is energizing and centering). Finding and residing in my center before class allows me to better hold the space to help my students feel supported as they navigate the path of finding their own space of being.
Do you have a favorite pose or movement?
I love a good Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) after a long day. It’s even better when fully decked out with a bolster, blanket and eye pillow… pure bliss.
This is a little different...If you were a yoga pose what would you be and why?
Sweet, sweet Savasana. It’s where the magic happens :)
What’s your favorite type of music to play while practicing?
I love to practice to mantra, fluid music with minimal/no words or music that simply makes my heart light up. I’ve found that I easily become distracted when I practice to favorite artists of mine and wind up singing and dancing on my mat… but that certainly can be needed some days! An album I presently can’t get enough of is Ajeet Kaur’s Indigo Sea - so, so beautiful and great for a slow, nurturing practice. I have included this album as well as a playlist of some of my favorite mantras - they are great to put on shuffle while you work at the computer or around the house… or pretty much any time!
Does your personal practice differ from how you teach?
The heart of my home practice is my Kundalini practice, my daily Sadhana. I practice first thing in the morning to connect with my Self and set my vibration for the day, even if it’s just a few minutes of breathing and movement. In the Kundalini tradition, we practice the same Kriya and/or meditation for different stretches of time (40 days, 90 days, 120 days, 1000 days) to cultivate a relationship with those particular practices on a deeper level, and I’m typically working with ones which support me through various challenges I may be facing at that time. The remainder of my practice depends on what the day holds for me and what my physical, mental and emotional bodies are calling for — ranging from a strong physical practice to something more slow and introspective like Restorative, Yin, or Yoga Nidra. Some days it just looks like laying on my mat and cuddling with my fur babies - it’s all yoga!
Recommended reading (yoga and/or non-yoga)
The Untethered Soul, by Michael A Singer
The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
Outside of yoga what is your passion/Where can you be found?
I love live music and dancing, and on a day off you can likely find me on the trail with my pup, Bodhi.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I have been home-brewing kombucha for over a decade (wow, I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about that!)