My Yoga Journey
The Circle of Life
Here is a little about me and my yoga story.
I started practicing yoga when I was 16 years young. I took a yoga class as an elective in high-school. If I am being honest, I really didn’t like yoga at all at the time. I found it to be restrictive and challenging as I wasn’t allowed to talk to my friends during the class… I am an energetic and talkative person so I am sure you could imagine why I found this practice problematic at the time.
I truly believe that I am part monkey because I have always preferred to be upside down rather than upside right. Something about flipping my perspective has consistently appealed to my senses. Of course, pushing your physical body to its maximum has its consequences. Reluctantly, my body has let me down twice in my life in ways that most humans do not typically experience. The first was when I crushed the growth plate in my knee ending my career as Canadian National Team gymnast.
I then re-purposed my flipping ability and become a national level springboard diver and was recruited by Southern Methodist University based in Dallas, Texas. I was medically disqualified during my sophomore year of university as I destroyed my back. At the time yoga seemed like a middle ground between high-performance athletics and pain management as it provided me with the ability to be upside down while teaching me skills to control my body.
I turned to yoga to keep my physical body strong. Meanwhile, on an academic front, I turned to anthropology and psychology to better understand myself and the world around me. At this time my physical body and my mental body functioned independently of one another. At the time, I did not know that the two were so intricately connected.
Much like the beauty of a dragonfly, my practice began to transform. Sophomore year I would wake up early before my 8:00 am classes and practice at home. Every once in a while I would go to a studio to get inspired but I mostly preferred my practice at home. My practice continued to transform, no longer just being a physical workout out. My mat; which symbolizes my practice, became my safe place that I could fall to no matter where in the world I was.
Since I graduated from University, I worked in psychiatric practice in South Florida. I was treating patients suffering from various mental illnesses with non-invasive brain stimulation. Afterward, I began working with the manufacturer of these devices. This gave me the opportunity to travel most of North America to train mental health practitioners (doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.) on how to use this device. The adventures were amazing but it also meant that each night was a different city in a different hotel room. My Manduka mat was pack-able and easy to roll out in my room. I could rely on my practice no matter where I was.
I then noticed that I would go on mat to elevate my mood, to control my anger, to work out a physical problem, a work frustration, to blow off some steam, to anchor or ground myself when I felt untethered to this world, and/or to make me feel even happier. My partner was the one who really opened my eyes to this because one day when I was unnecessarily grumpy he gently asked me “if I had ‘yoga-ed’ yet today?” I realized that yoga had become more than a physical practice, it was a combination of mental and physical components that kept me both sane and strong.
This was when I decided it was finally time to make the leap and delve deeper into my practice through a teacher training course. I then embarked on a 500 hour Hatha Yoga advanced teacher training with Zuna Yoga, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. This two month-immersive program was not what I was expecting but exactly what I needed. I had come into this teacher training with the intent of deepening my connection to my mind, body, and spirit. I didn't necessarily go there to learn how to teach yoga but rather to learn yoga. It allowed me to explore this science, this philosophy. in a completely different way, leaving me with a better understanding of who I truly am and where I want to go. During this process, I realized that my favorite part of my previous job was teaching others; breaking down something that seems intimidating, or daunting and making it simpler and appear achievable.
In my adult life, I have worked hands-on with death as a death investigator; helping to determine the cause of someone's unforeseen death. I"ve been a technician assisting in various clinical trials with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS); where I treated some very ill patients who were on the edge of life and death. What I've realized is that I've seen both sides of the coin of aliveness (or therefore lack of) and now I want more than anything to teach people how to live!
Through my personal experience of treating patients, I have seen the impact of an imbalanced life. How not eating, sleeping or exercising properly can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.
I educate others on the importance of balance through the practice of yoga. My goal is to teach people how to strengthen the three major pillars in their life: how they move (through exercise, linking breathe with movement), how they eat (holistic nutrition), and how they sleep (which is influenced by the two previous pillars). I aim to teach strategies that increase the vitality of my client's life. Teaching my students how to move and control their bodies and how to control their mind and their energy. With these tools, comes the power to live authentically and unapologetically. There is nothing more vibrant than being your truest self!