I have a confession to make. I didn’t always love yoga; in fact, I didn’t really like it very much. The first time I did a yoga class was in university (where I was a dance major) back in the 90’s. I hated it. I didn’t understand all the inhales and exhales through my nose, and savasana? Don’t even get me started on my thoughts on “just” lying there at the end of class. Fast forward to sometime in the 2000’s, I was working as a dancer on cruise ships and I was living in LA for rehearsals. A group of dancers & singers would get together for a yoga class every now and then. This time I didn’t hate it, but I still didn’t get it. It seemed like we always did our class right when I was starving and couldn’t concentrate on anything other than my stomach wanting all the food. Fast forward again to me back in Toronto and no longer dancing. I started taking a lunchtime Ashtanga class, the first class was tough, but I loved how athletic the class was and so I went back. It wasn’t long before I was practicing Ashtanga 3 times a week . I was still figuring out the breathing, but savasana became amazing.
I started to really love going to class and getting on my mat. I loved being able to leave class and feel like I was floating because when I practiced all my worries just went away. All that mattered was me and my mat. It made sense for me to get certified as a teacher. I went to Downward Dog since I loved Ashtanga and it was the perfect match for me. As a former dancer, I loved all the anatomy behind what we were learning. I found myself connecting more with that part of the practice and the more I was learning, the more excited I was about the idea of teaching. As soon as I got my certificate I was hungry to get teaching.
For the two years or of teaching I always felt like I was playing the part of a yoga teacher. I didn’t feel authentic. So I started to pay attention to the classes that I found myself at again and again. As a result of that, I got certified as a Jock Yoga teacher. I loved classes where I was being really challenged athletically. So, my teaching started to reflect that…..but I realized something was still missing. I was a dancer for most of my life, starting when I was 3, until I stopped performing at 30. I loved moving my body and challenging how I moved my body, so why not bring that into my yoga teaching and sequencing? So I started.
When I put my classes together I think of it like I am choreographing a dance. The music, the movements are a puzzle to be pieced together. I like to link poses together and move through pose after pose, with each side lasting about 10-20 minutes each (depending on the length of the class). Moments where I flow and moments where I like being still, moving deeper into each pose. The more honest I started to become in my approach to how I taught my classes, the more fun and passionate I became about my teaching and I wanted to share my style with as many people as possible. I mean let’s be honest; there are a lot of us yoga teachers here in the city. We aren’t re inventing the wheel so we need to find our niche, what makes us…us! I like to take chances and push things a bit and, dare I say, rock the boat a little.
You want to know some more truths about me? I am not just a yoga teacher. I am a wife, mother and a runner, who runs many races a year. 2015 I raced 9 races alone (5 of which were half marathons). Running is incredibly important to me, so in order to be at my best on race day, I have a run coach who has me hitting the gym along with training runs each week.
What else? There are actually a lot of things in yoga that my body can’t physically do. Everyone is built differently; we all have bones and joints stacked in a different way. I used to get really down about what I couldn’t do, until I realized it really doesn’t matter. If I can’t do it, why do it? It doesn’t mean I will never be able to do certain things, it just means that I am good with where I am in my practice now, and isn’t that what it should be about? More truths? Are you ready? I am a yoga teacher and I like red wine, I like red meat, I love reality TV and will happily watch The Bachelor each season. There are some days where my practice is a few sun salutations because that is what my body needs. I like to play a variety of music and lately you may even hear some Drake in my classes, because why not? For me it is about moving your body, strengthening your body and your mind. It’s about how your body feels when you stretch and lengthen. It’s about not worrying about anything for however long you are on your mat and letting your breath guide you. It is about taking time for you. I love teaching athletically challenging classes that will have you working up a sweat, break some “yoga rules”, build your strength and have you leave with some serious yoga brain! Because come on, who doesn’t love some good yoga brain?
I hope to #seeyouonthemat soon :)