Yoga is the one pursuit in my life that has remained consistent: the longest relationship I have had with anything. And though it may sound trite, yoga has saved me. Without yoga I am fairly confident that I would have ended up either dead, in a mental institution or incarcerated. I started practicing yoga twenty years ago in Los Angeles. I was stuck in a job I couldn’t stand, in a toxic environment, feeling as if my soul was being crushed daily. I came to yoga as a way to escape this daily torture, and with each yoga class the turmoil of life outside of my practice seemed less and less important. Ultimately, I asked myself why I was escaping through yoga and not escaping to yoga.
Two decades later I have the privilege of being a full-time yoga instructor and teacher trainer. I have studied with some of the most incredible teachers working today - Maty Ezraty (founder of YogaWorks), Lisa Walford, Seane Corn, and Carrie Owerko. I have taught yoga to thousands of students and conducted trainings all over world. Most importantly I am able to do what I love everyday.
What do you do best?
I've always been very intuitive and after 18 years of teaching and studying bodies and body language I am able to quickly read a room of students and take the temperature. I adapt quickly and think on my feet which allows me to serve the needs of who is in front of me rather than pushing my own agenda.
What makes you the best?
Not thinking I'm the best.
What are your aspirations?
I want to stay curious and continue to learn. I'm interested in so many things, there's not enough time in the day to read everything, to see everything, to engage with the world on so many levels.
I'm working on a book about losing my family; my brother and my father to suicide; 1996 and 2004 respectively, followed by my mother in 2007 (heart failure).
In 2011 I hit an emotional bottom and realized I had been abusing prescription drugs and alcohol as a way to avoid dealing with the trauma. I was teaching yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings; which included mentoring new teachers. Essentially, I led a double life. I felt like a fraud and was filled with shame. Sharing my experiences in recovery is something that I've been afraid to do but I know it's important to show that side of myself.
Letting go of the need to be "the best" and learning that supporting people, rather than competing with them, makes me a much happier and satisfied human being. I truly want others to succeed! Sutra 1.33 starts off with "Be happy for the happy.." This was not always the case.
Most Challenging Moment?
Oh man, there have been so many. The one that most quickly comes to mind is the moment (and I continue to have these moments all the time) when I let go of trying to control the outcome. Specifically the moment when I realized I'd been beaten and if I didn't stop abusing alcohol and drugs, I was going to kill myself.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. As a yoga teacher, my job is to be of service to others. I don't need to reinvent the wheel or have thousands of followers on Instagram. I need to see who is in front of me and take the next right action.
My parents- years after they passed they still influence so many of my decisions. They taught me about fairness and integrity.
I've had many incredible yoga teachers over the years, especially Maty Ezraty, Julie Wood and Carrie Owerko.
Griffith Park, hiking with my dogs.
The Herban Alchemist Argan Face Oil is the one I'm currently obsessed with.
Making my own green juice every morning.
My home yoga practice is essential to me feeling inspired as a teacher.