I first decided to try Yoga in 2006 shortly after moving to Florida. I was looking for a way to get in shape and keep active, and kept hearing things about this “trendy exercise that all the stars are doing.” I found a studio in Ocala and fell in love with yoga, Pilates, and yogalates, taking as many classes as I could. In 2009 I moved to North Port and had quite a bit of trouble finding a studio that was able to meet my picky standards. When I finally found The Yoga Sanctuary, I was so thankful and eager to get back on track!

I can honestly say that I credit yoga with many of my most courageous life choices. As someone who grew up with both social anxiety and poor self-esteem, yoga has helped to build my confidence both emotionally and physically. I’m a lot more confident now in expressing myself, as well as my ambitions and goals, without fear of what other people may think. And from a physical stand point, yoga has helped me create body awareness that I previously lacked.

Outside of yoga, I have always been very passionate about music. I play guitar and bass guitar, and recently began singing as well. I have played in several bands, and currently play bass for a band called Team Cybergeist. With late nights, bar food, and crazy stage performances, yoga has been a lifeline for me to help keep me in balance. It is a perfect harmony 🙂 I also love animals, nature, and recently got my scuba certification.

I have been with The Siberian Husky Rescue of Florida since 2006, and was Adoption Director and a member of the board from 2007 to 2008. The joy of helping is one that is incredibly fulfilling. In 2012, my grandfather passed away and appointed me Vice President and a Director of his foundation that helps the blind and visually impaired, as well as veterans, seniors, and animals. I have never felt so honored in my life, and this has been a wonderful and rewarding journey, really getting to help make the world a brighter place.

When I first decided to enroll in the yoga teacher training program at The Yoga Sanctuary, I had no intention of ever becoming a teacher. I really just wanted to learn more about this mysterious yoga, and felt it would be a great way to deepen my understanding as well as enhance my personal practice. As time went on, the more I learned the more I couldn’t wait to share it with my loved ones. It became a new goal to share all I had learned and continued to learn with my friends and family, and possibly volunteer my time and services. It is impossible to go through a program like that and not want to pass that gift on. I have been in love with TYS since the moment I took my first class here, so becoming a teacher here is an honor, privilege, and dream come true for me. I am excited to share my experiences, as well as gain new ones in the times to come!

The change in my practice understanding of yoga after taking the training feels like night and day. I can truly say that I am a completely different person than the one who first enrolled. The broad spectrum of knowledge that was shared with each of us really opened our eyes and deepened our understanding of not only the physical practice of yoga, but also our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. There is definitely a much more intense appreciation and love of yoga than ever before.  Even with all that we learned (and we learned a lot!), we still barely scratched the surface, and I’m excited to spend the rest of this life learning all that I can.

Yoga has pretty much cured every type of pain-related ailment that I previously had. Since getting on a regular yoga routine, I’ve all but forgotten the chronic lower back pain and restless leg syndrome I suffered ever existed in me. It has also given me priceless self confidence that “the old me” never would have believed. Not to mention, I’ve gained a beautiful relationship with myself.

Favorite Book: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, The Pawprints of History by Stanley Coren, and anything by Dan Brown.

Favorite Food: Sushi. Also, potatoes prepared any way that is bad for me.

Favorite Yoga Pose: Gomukhasana (cow face pose), if I must name just one. I have notoriously tight shoulders, and feel a wonderful stretch in this pose. It also feels fantastic on my outer thighs since that area is difficult for me to get to. Other notable mentions: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) and Prasarita Padottonasana (Wide-Legged Forward Fold) both for the calming effects.

Most Challenging Yoga Pose: Parsvottonasana (Pyramid Pose). My knees like to try to hyper-extend in poses such as this, so focusing on keeping my quadriceps engaged is tough, on top of the deep stretch in the back of the leg, and the abdominal and balancing work. I’m getting better at it though!