I am determined and well disciplined. I love to dance. For the past 12 years I have studied the rhythms and dances of Guinea and Mali, West Africa. I believe laughter is essential to daily life and try to find humor wherever I can, even if it is dark. I am shy, although I was recently told that my shyness may be vanity. I didn't like hearing that, but it might be true. So I am trying to let go of my fear of being publicly shamed.
I am a mom to two amazing children and I have a wonderful husband. They mean everything to me. I also am blessed with amazing family and friends. As I walk, stumble, trip, skip and run through this life, their forgiveness, love and support keep me going.
What is your yoga journey?
I started to take my yoga practice seriously when I was pregnant with my first child. It gave my changing body comfort and ease. I discovered the connection between mind and body when my mother became ill. Going to class and doing the sun salutations at home calmed my racing, grieving mind. In 2009 I began teaching yoga, when I was asked to take over a class I had been attending. To broaden my experience and understanding I studied Ashtanga yoga for a year as an apprentice to David Turner. I have been through Basic Training with OTYF and will be attending Baron Baptiste's Level One training in August 2013.
What is your approach to teaching yoga?
When I teach yoga, I feel a strong connection to the people in the room. From the moment we take our first collective breath, the outside world falls away and I am truly living in the moment. I strive to get my students to understand how to feel the yoga asanas in their bodies. I often say the work we do on the mat is analogous to sculpting. We come into the studio and plop down on the mat like a lump of clay. As we warm up and begin to move, we start to see our true shape. We create ourselves in layers from the inside out, both physically and energetically. When my mom was in hospice care, she asked us not to take for granted the physiological functions that keep your bodies running every moment of every day. So I end each class by reminding my students of the miracle of their existence.
Where else have you called home?
For years when people asked me where I was from, I said "Wisconsin, but I grew up in Minnesota." At some point in the last decade I dropped Minnesota. I still love the state. I have family and friends there, but all of the adult milestones in my life have taken place here in Madison.
What inspires you?
Kindness inspires me. When I am kind, when I see kindness or hear of acts of human kindness taking place around the world, my heart swells. The natural world inspires me. There are places on this planet, even right here in Madison, that take my breath away. Human creativity inspires me. People being driven to create physical forms of things they conjure up in their minds is amazing.
Why have you chosen to work with Olive Tree Yoga Foundation?
I work with Olive Tree because they are making a difference in the world. They are changing the way people see themselves from within and then asking them to take that out into their communities. This makes the world a more peaceful place where possibility is unlimited.
What is your connection to the region in which you work?
My connection is to people. The common denominator among people is that we all want healthy, peaceful, secure lives in which to enjoy our families and our loved ones.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever gotten?
Aside from my mother's advice about not taking our bodily functions for granted, it would have to be, know your truth and trust it. On the other hand, you have to be big enough and strong enough to allow other people to have their truth as well.
OTYF is a 501c3 non-profit organization registered in the United States