1. How would you describe yoga?
For me, Yoga means developing an awareness of self – a deep personal connection to my own body, mind, patterns, stuck places, open places, etc…all with the hope of becoming more intimate with my own experience in my body. The more conscious I am of my self, the more conscious I can be of others. It’s all about compassion and love – for the self and others – in the long run!
2. How did you find your way to yoga?
I’ve always been interested in how to keep the mind and the body in a state of balance and ease. I was always someone who struggled with anxiety and worrying and my only physical way of calming my mind was through running – which just didn’t seem like a complete enough solution. So my senior year in college I had to take a yoga class as part of a science elective (we did the anatomy coloring book!) and I found myself really looking forward to it every week. It was a tumultuous time – 2008, recession, no idea what I was going to do when I graduated – and yoga grounded me. And I kept coming back to my practice, which is how I realized it was so integral to the overall health of my body and mind.
3. Who is your primary teacher right now?
Well I’m new to town! So I’ve been meeting and working with so many amazing teachers. I love taking Jess Emilfarb’s class at The Portland Yoga Project; she keeps my alignment honest. And Melissa Landers at Niraj is super inspirational and devotional which I love.
4. What inspires you to keep teaching?
I love seeing my students grow – and that growth happens in so many different ways, both on and off the mat. I used to teach middle school and it’s sort of the same thing – you don’t just see kids learn to read or write an essay, you see them become thoughtful, compassionate human beings. With adults, I don’t just see a stronger warrior two, I also see people start to find a deeper sense of peace and joy off the mat.
5. What is your practice like off the mat? How would you say you live your yoga?
I definitely have more of a “we’re all in this struggle together” feeling now. I practice approaching everything and everyone from a place of kindness and curiosity – I just think there’s so much negativity and we need more open-heartedness.
6. Do you have a routine or ritualistic way to starting each day? If so, please describe.
I studied Ayurveda with Ali Cramer in NYC, and the Ayurvedic daily routine is called Dinacharya. In the morning, that looks like waking up before sunrise (tbh this part rarely happens for me) and then sense cleansing: splashing your eyes with cool water, putting sesame oil in your ears and nostrils, scraping the tongue, brushing teeth, and massaging the skin with oils. I use a lot of yummy smelling essential oils. Oh, and I always wear my yellow knitted wool slippers in the morning to keep my feet warm and make me feel cozy.
7. What are some non-negotiables you have in your life right now to maintain balance and health in everyday living?
I’m getting settled in Portland right now so spending time getting to know my new community is a priority. I’ve been finding a good balance between getting settled in my apartment and making that space feel homey, and exploring Portland and being social. It’s early winter so it feels so good to snuggle in at home and nest a little.
8. What draws you to the Lila community?
I love how at home all of the students are. The space really invites EVERYONE in and says “this is a warm and safe space.” That’s so important at a studio! The energy is so lovely.
9. If you would suggest one book to the community to read as an opportunity to deepen their learning on life, yoga, and all things, what would it be?
Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, is a magical read. If are a wild woman, or like reading about the wild woman archetype, this book is for you!