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Are you living from your heart? I believe that’s what I’m here to learn about. Born with a congenital heart defect, I had open heart surgery to repair a faulty heart valve when I was just a few days old. 27 years later, that same valve had to be replaced through a second open heart surgery.
Preparing for and recovering from the second open heart surgery was beyond intense. I learned a profound lesson in accepting the things that are out of my control and discovering what I could control, such as my thoughts and my breath. It is only when recovering from my second open heart surgery and working with various healers that I came to the realization that being born with a heart defect was no fluke or accident. It was actually a great gift that I continue to learn from.
As someone who is book smart, I struggle with getting out of my mind and into my heart. Living in the heart isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. It sounds so simple and obvious–even romantic, but it can be dark, scary, and lonely. That being said, I believe residing in your heart is where you can truly uncover your life’s purpose (or dharma) and achieve inner peace.
The classes I teach are focused on getting you out of your mind and into your heart, where you can fully live in your purpose. It takes courage, discipline, and fortitude to live in the heart. But the reward is great.
My yoga journey began when I was in college when I took a Vinyasa class and fell in love with the flowing movements and the way the postures not only stretched my physical body, but also opened something in me deep inside. Due to the rural location of my college, I did not have access to a yoga studio. But I did find Yoga Today, a subscription based video streaming service, and I learned a lot from their excellent teachers. I still consider Sarah Kline of Yoga Today to be one of my first teachers and was thrilled to take class from her in person while I was at the USA Yoga National Championships in Jackson, Wyoming in 2016.
While in graduate school, I became a group fitness instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I taught group strength and yoga/Pilates classes. I didn’t necessarily consider myself a true yoga teacher at that time since I hadn’t been through a traditional teacher training, but it was a great opportunity to prepare for what was to come.
In 2010, I moved to Stockton, California to become a music librarian at the University of the Pacific. I joined a studio, Bikram Yoga Stockton (now True You Hot Yoga). I instantly got hooked on Bikram Yoga and completely dedicated myself to the intense practice, which is also around the same time that I learned that I would need a new heart valve. The surgery was incredibly stressful, but yoga was my saving grace. It kept me calm, strong, and healthy and I believe I recovered relatively quickly due to my consistent practice (not to mention the excellent care of my wonderful husband).
After recovering from surgery, I set my sights on a new goal — yoga competition. For me, the yoga competition has been an incredible opportunity to further develop my practice. I have participated in regional and national yoga competitions since 2013. In 2018, I earned 2nd place in Adult Women for the state of California.
I completed my 200-hour Yoga Alliance certificate on the Bikram Method from my mentor and yoga mama Helena Monica, owner of True You Hot Yoga. In 2015 I attended Paul and Suzee Grilley’s 100-hour Yin Yoga Teacher Training, Level 1. That same year I attended a Vinyasa training with Bel and Emily Carpenter.
In 2015, I started working with Nicole Wilkerson at New Leaf Ayurveda. Under her guidance, I made some really big changes to my diet and lifestyle based on my dosha — Pitta/Vata. This included reducing the amount of time in the hot room (not easy!) and also incorporating more meditation, yin yoga, and restorative yoga into my regular routine. The results have me feeling stronger than I ever have before.
I currently teach Bikram, Vinyasa, Yin, and competition training. I’m available for workshops, coaching, and private lessons.