City/Town of Residence: Coventry
Occupation: Yoga Instructor at All That Matters
Your sport or fitness passion: I’ve been practicing yoga for 16 years and have recently started cycling, which I love!
Recent events you’ve participated in: When I was learning to teach yoga, my teacher at the time, Tom Gilette told me “Every class is an event.” I have done my best to live up to this statement in the past eight years that I have been teaching. Every time I teach, my goal is to create an environment for the yogi to have an authentic experience of going inward and finding a bit of self truth through hard work and sitting with the challenges of yoga practice. So right now, I lead eight ‘events’ a week at all three All That Matters locations—in Providence, East Greenwich and South Kingstown.
Events planned for the future: I am beginning my 500-hour advanced yoga teacher training later this month. I’ve been waiting for several years to take this on and am so excited to dive deeper into my own practice, to refine my teaching and learn even more about anatomy and yoga philosophy.
As a teacher, I will be co-leading the 40 Day (R)EVOLUTION at All that Matters beginning in January. My heart holds a sweet spot for the 40 Day program—it’s an opportunity to practice yoga daily, to learn to meditate or to deepen your meditation practice, and to bring mindfulness and awareness to so many areas of your life from relationships, to food to work.
What is your proudest fitness accomplishment? In yoga, chaturanga is our version of a push-up and it’s frequently used in classes. I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor, and after my double mastectomy with reconstruction in May of 2013, I thought I would never be able to do a chaturanga again. My upper body and pectorals were left really weak and damaged. I truly had to let go of it in my practice and worked with modifications for a long time. It took about a year, but I have mostly regained that strength and my chaturanga form is now better than ever. It’s not a super impressive yoga pose, but I worked diligently and patiently for a long time and am grateful to be able to practice it again. I’m definitely proud of myself for that.
What motivates you? I feel so good after I practice—I usually feel really calm and strong and grounded. We use the Sanskrit word ‘samadhi’ which basically means bliss, and this is often my experience post-practice. I’m also really interested in the layers that we can work with in yoga—physical, emotional and spiritual. And there are so many ways to work the yoga shapes. For me, it’s an endless adventure and I’m continually curious about the body and its subtleties.
Tell us something about yourself that many people may not know: I’ve been a musician since the age of 4. I played classical piano for many years and sang opera in high school and college.
Best thing about living in RI: The yogis! Rhode Island has the most amazing yoga community with the kindest, most loving and supportive people you could imagine. I’m so grateful to be among so many amazing yoga teachers and practitioners in RI.
Words to live by: “Difficulty is the name of an ancient tool that was created purely to help us define who we are.” – Paulo Coelho
Fitness tip for RI Fit Readers: Pay attention to your body! What you need physically shifts over time. What feels right for you to take on one day of the week might not be the same a few days later. Learn to listen to your body, your intuition and your wisdom. Be curious, work hard, and challenge yourself, but also love your body and take care of it!