Lotos Teacher

When did you start with yoga and how long have you been practicing?

I am a professional dancer, and I have been dancing since I was very young, so I’ve had a relationship with movement for as long as I can remember. I started taking yoga classes on and off about 10 years ago. Four years ago I discovered some teachers whose style and approach really impacted me, and I have been practicing more consistently since then. I have been building my personal practice and developing my teaching practice for about two years now.

Why is yoga important in your life?

I understand yoga as the faithful return to the effort of directing the mind towards one-pointedness. The attempt to find clarity and simplicity. The consistent repeated practice of this attempt. My yoga practice connects me to my values, and helps me centralize love and generosity as I move through life. Yoga helps me find home in my body. In yoga, I withdraw from stimuli, and peel away layers of socialization, business, emotion, defense, and aspiration, which create distance from stillness, quiet, and seeing an essential goodness in other people. For me, the communal aspect is an important part of yoga – the awareness of people focusing on their internal world, sharing space together. I hope to foster this shared experience of yoga practice in my teaching. In this way, I understand yoga to be both a journey to free my own life from suffering, and a guide to a collective resilience that we may mobilize in order to create a better world day by day.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their yoga journey?

Try to find one or a few teachers that you really like, and go to their classes consistently. Figure out what things they talk about that resonate with you, and what kinds of sequences they offer that feel good in your body. Try to bring those elements into your self practice. Approach self practice with curiosity and without expectation. Commit to practicing every day! If some days you only do a few sun salutations in the morning or five minutes of breathing, that’s enough. If you miss a day, practice self-compassion, and return to your mat the next day. Remember that “the yoga” is the journey itself.

How do you include yoga in your daily life?

I usually start my day with sun salutations, a few standing asanas, a few seated asanas, or I use a gentle sequence to wind down from the day, physically and mentally. Sometimes I see yoga as restorative practice and cross-training for my work as a dancer. If I don’t find time or energy for a full physical practice, I end my day with one or two asanas, some pranayama or sitting in stillness. I think mindfully washing the dishes can also be a yogic practice, or sharing a laugh with a friend. Yoga is not only asana practice; the attempt to live moment to moment with full awareness is at the core of my day-to-day yoga practice.

What can I expect when I join one of your classes?

You can expect: a thorough warm-up, simple transitions, in-depth alignment cues, sustained postures, heat, strength, and stretching, and time for observation of breath and subtle sensations We begin practice with a mobilization of joints and activation of key deep muscles, and centering practices, progressing to sun salutations and a sequence of both gentle and vigorous standing and seated postures bringing attention to the coordination of breath, with particular focus on exploring sensation, understanding anatomy, and approaching one-pointed concentration. Class culminates with inversion options, pranayama preparation, and practices of still-sitting and savassana. I aim to guide a practice that creates comfort in the body, fluidity in breath, and a deeper experience of dynamic stillness.

What is your favorite asana?

My favorite asana is chakrasana (wheel pose). I love the openness I feel in my hips, chest, upper back, and shoulders. I get so much energy from practicing chakrasana, and I appreciate the change of perspective – seeing the world upside down for a moment.