In 2009, I'd just moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and was prepping to begin my first year as a high school English teacher. A good friend encouraged me to come to yoga with her. And so we went. The studio offered heated vinyasa classes. No idea what that meant. Unprepared, with NO towel of any kind, I distinctly remember sweating so much that I was wiping my face on my pants in every single downward-facing dog. In savasana, I lay there trying to piece together what I had just experienced, and the teacher said something to the effect of (I paraphrase): "We constantly have to work to accept and love ourselves, to stop being so critical. It's daily work." In high school and college, I struggled greatly with my body-image, and on that summer evening in '09, I was preparing to begin a new and highly stressful job. The yoga class and the teacher's message resonated, so I promised myself I'd give yoga a chance.
I tried out more classes at the sweaty studio in Cambridge. I began to learn that the very nature of yoga, as a daily practice, can become therapeutic, can lead to compassion for and more acceptance of one’s self, body and mind. From what I could tell, a practitioner is never actually done with yoga. Didn't take long before I was hooked.
Even so, years of soccer and running and months of constantly standing on horrendously hard floors (...my teacher friends, you know) made the ideas of 'open hips' and 'strong arms' feel like improbable and impossible fantasies. Resting half-pigeon made me feel one hundred percent angry - like, why are we here, "easing into" this torture?
I kept showing up to my mat. In 2011, I moved to Washington D.C. where I practiced at a number of great studios: Flow, Yoga District, and Epic Yoga. And then in 2013, I moved out of DC-proper and decided to do a 200-hour teacher training at Inner Power Yoga.
Several years have passed since that training finished, and it's only now that I feel like I'm beginning to understand why I did it and what it's given me. I love classes that are challenging and energizing just as much as they allow me to reset and find some quiet--to really listen--and so these are the classes I try to create. I structure classes around key elements of classical vinyasa, a tiny bit of Ashtanga, and more recently, some Rocket. Classes are playful and also feature (no bias here) great music. I spend a ton of time creating playlists. Ultimately, I want students to feel they have space to experiment and discover, to try new postures and transitions, to grow and deepen their own practices. As students increase strength and flexibility through a physical practice, my hope, too, is that they learn to feel more grounded, more aware of their bodies, more confident. I am a big believer in the transformative qualities of yoga. It's changed my life.