to the mat
After years in the corporate world, spending a good deal of my energy arranging meetings and travel around sneaking away to yoga classes any chance I could get, I decided to take the leap out of the office and into the studio. In 2005 I began teaching and practicing yoga full time and I haven't once looked back. I've been physically active my whole life, beginning as a serious ballet dancer until dance became too much of an emotional and physical battle. I turned to running and weightlifting and then a guy in my office said, “my wife teaches yoga and I think you’d love it.” He was higher up than me so I said, “I’ll try it out this weekend for sure, thank you!” That was the first time I legitimately considered quitting my job in order to avoid what I was certain would be an awkward and decidedly un-magnificent afternoon. Needing to be able to communicate with him at work, and rather than avoiding him for the rest of my professional life, I went to the class. The first thing I noticed was that everyone had long muscles, seemed incredibly calm and had excellent posture. That class was the birth of my practice which has continued without sabbatical until this day, and I hope never stops. It seemed that everyone in that class was smaller, but stronger than me. Part of what made me go back the next day was a sense of competitiveness (that I’ve long since learned to let go of but which served its purpose at the time) — I needed to be as strong as these people and they seemed to be holding some sort of secret “yoga key” to strength and flexibility that I didn’t have.
But there was an even stronger pull: I had been a ballet dancer and, when I quit classical ballet in my teens, I resigned myself to the fact I’d never be in that “zone” again — that place where time and space are irrelevant and your mind and body are in perfect sync and you feel like if you really wanted to, you could fly. About 10 minutes into the class, and many years since the last time I had felt it, I was back in that zone and it lasted until savasana. But it was better than ballet — the goal was my overall well being and not the position, or how I looked in a particular shape. My goal when I teach is to get people in that zone. It’s a place where you can’t think of your office or your ipad or you’ll fall down. It’s a place that nourishes you inside and out and it’s so meaningful.
Taking your space
I decided to open a yoga studio. I owned a yoga studio for eight years and sold it in 2013. It was an incredible learning experience and I grew both personally and professionally far more than I would have if I had stayed on the “corporate track”. But it became time to move on and focus completely on teaching. Now teaching doesn’t seem like work or a job, and it’s the most natural thing to me. I’ve had years now to watch students grow and reap the benefits of the practice, especially inversions, and I've joyfully watched some become teachers themselves.
My teaching philosophy
The most important thing to me as a teacher is that I remain a student. I love practicing by myself at home but I try to make myself take two public classes a week. I also try to keep up with foreign languages (which I'm terrible at) and a run 3-4 times a week (which I'm also not good at). Doing these things reminds me of what a new student in my class might be feeling and I think it's important to always intimately know the "new student" feeling (after 15 years of practice, it could be easy to forget.)
I credit my teaching style to a dedicated self practice as well as the incredible teachers with whom I have had the great privilege to study with including Brock and Krista Cahill, Dharma Mittra, Ana Forest, Lynne Begier and many other inspiring Boston yoga teachers.
My classes are a powerful vinyasa flow that will challenge you to explore the edges of your physical and mental edge with loads of humor and joy. Always a student first, my teaching is informed by strength and integrity in alignment, curiosity and challenge. Yoga is more than a workout, and much more than a flow, it is a potent means of tending to the health and wellness of the entire body.