What First Drew You to Yoga and Why?
I was drawn to yoga for many reasons. The most important reasons were to heal my body from numerous past athletic injuries, and to deepen my spiritual practice. In the early 2000s I was a world ranking high jumper and current school record holder for the University of Oregon. During my athletic career, I sustained numerous muscular sprains and strains, and three arthroscopic knee surgeries on my right knee. Before starting my practice two years ago I had thought it was a foregone conclusion that I would need another surgery, or even a knee replacement. As of today I can say that I am pain free, and fully enjoying that feeling of peak physical form/clear mind that I was once took for granted. Now that I have followed the path of yoga to heal my mind/body/spirit, I wish nothing more that to share my direct knowledge and experience to help others heal. My first name in Greek literally means “healer” or “to heal”.
What Do You Find Most Satisfying About Teaching?
The most satisfying part about leading others through their practice is the connection that I feel with other people’s physical bodies. I have a finely tuned mind-body connection, or proprioception of the physical body. I can tune my consciousness into other’s space and “feel” movements, adjustments, and the sensations of others. I can then leverage this information to guide others through their own practice. I also feel the energy of the room quite profoundly. During my athletic career, working the crowd’s energy was one of my strong points. Getting a crowd of a few thousand people all clapping in unison, focusing their energy on me, and then redirecting that energy back is quite an enlightening experience. I often get this same experience inside the studio during class.
Teaching Style and Classes Taught
Vinyasa style classes drew me in instantly to yoga. The dynamic flow of movement in the body directs energy around in ways that I wasn’t familiar with. Also, the importance of pranayama to keep the mind steady and still, while still working hard and having an elevated heart beat is a profound experience. To me the body is a magical tool that we are only starting to understand how to fully utilize. Vinyasa practice is my way to explore the far edges, and the unseen inner spaces that hold all the secrets. As within, so without.
Words of Wisdom
To me the most important parts of my practice are the hours and minutes away from the mat. It isn’t what happens on the mat that defines us, it’s how we take the lessons learned in the studio out into the outside world. And in the words of my favorite spiritual guide Kryon “And so it is…”
Why Do You Practice Yoga?
There's an innate part of practicing yoga...something I can't really explain, that makes me feel amazing. It has always, somehow, made me feel strong and beautiful and WORTHY of MY attention to myself. Like a lot of us, I spend a lot of time beating myself up and I feel like yoga is the perfect opposite to that. It has truly taught me to accept my mistakes, my human-ness, and to move on and just try to be the best human and the best teacher that I can be.
Teaching Style and Class Styles Taught:
Intuitive and improvisational. If I try to plan a class ahead of time, it almost always fumbles me up. I enjoy the venture of walking into a room with no plan and sensing what is needed. Some might say I teach a “challenging” class and I would like to think that is true. But we all have different challenges. Some of us need to work harder, and many of us need to work less. And I seek to challenge all of my students in whatever way they need in that moment; to offer them the space to figure that out for themselves without any judgment, and the guidance to bring them to a place of balance and loving kindness towards themselves.
What you love about teaching at SGY:
Oh wow, where to begin? I have taught and practiced at so many studios for over 17 years and SGY is HANDS DOWN the absolute best space I’ve ever experienced. First of all, Jess, our incredible leader. She has set a foundation of knowledge, appreciation, love and acceptance that ties us ALL together as a FAMILY strong in those values. Somehow, she has brought together the BEST group of instructors and students I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Even when I’ve had the absolute worst day, the minute I step foot into our studio, I immediately feel nestled in at HOME; warm, loved, appreciated, accepted. I am so grateful for her, our amazing teachers, our incredible students, and this COMMUNITY that brings pure bliss to my existence.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you -David Whyte, House of Belonging