What brought you to the mat as a student and then as a teacher?
In 2011, I found myself burnt out from my work with affected communities where natural resource extraction was resulting in harmful public health and environmental consequences. I had stopped taking care of myself and developed some bad habits. After a health scare, I enrolled in a holistic health counseling program that had the option of integrating one-on-one yoga instruction. Yoga proved to be a perfect balance to my pitta/fire disposition. I loved the postures but the breathwork had incredible eye-opening effects that made me curious about avenues to deepen my practice. I enrolled in a 200-hour YTT in Fall 2016 and received my certificate of completion in March 2018.
What inspires you to keep teaching?
I am a new teacher and I love getting to know the people in my classes. Each class is a gift of opportunity to facilitate an experience for everyone in the room and build collective energy. I love thinking through creative ways to develop and integrate themes while being true to the Pranakriya philosophy.
What is your favorite pose and why?
Such a tough question! I love the strength in Virabhadrasana but right now, Ardha Matsyendrasana is my jam! I love twisting in both directions and the connection of energy shining out through the sole of my extended foot and simultaneously through my crown.
What pose is currently challenging you and how are you working with it?
Udarakarshanasana. I had mono and developed an enlarged spleen (named Serena by a fellow student) during my YTT. Sadly, Serena actively enjoys being large and in charge, which shows up in knee-down twist on my left side and a little on my right side. I like taking the “Princess and the Spleen” approach when I do that posture. Bolsters and blankets help to soften and support my twist, making Serena sing rather than bark.
Do you work with any special populations/volunteer/donate time etc. – share with us your story?
I work in the environmental field. As a result, I have the unique pleasure of working with communities throughout Pennsylvania and New York who are interested in evaluating water health to collect and use data for local change. Stemming from my own burn-out and subsequent awareness around self-care, I am passionate about cultivating healthy, supportive collaborations with partner organizations and our volunteers. I identify along the Queer Rainbow (LGBTQ+ spectrum), and strive to create class experiences that are safe and supportive for any body and everybody, creating spaces where students, friends, family, and community feel comfortable and safe to be their genuine, authentic selves.