Where are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I grew up in Massachusetts and Germany, and moved about once a year for the first 22-ish years of my life. I got really good at adapting, a little too good actually! Now in my early 30's, I've consciously been learning the beauty of commitment and rootedness. I still compulsively re-arrange furniture all the time though!
What was your first yoga class like?
A sweaty light-headed mess! A really good friend introduced me to hot power vinyasa and it kicked my butt in an empowering way. It got me out of my head and into my body and my intuition. I have spent a lot of my life assuming my body couldn't do things very well. I internalized a story about being awkward, disembodied, slow – the chubbiest ballerina who couldn't do the splits. My yoga journey over the last decade has gradually chipped away at lots of unhelpful assumptions, in body, heart, and mind. When I encountered yoga therapy in 2011, I felt like I finally had access to deep mind-body healing. Yoga and yoga therapy have been life-changing for me.
What’s your favorite pose to teach?
In my classes and workshops, you'll find yourself following cues that focus more on intention than an exact pose, I'm a bit of a rogue yoga teacher in that way. But in my personal practice, I need freedom within the structure of a class to drop in and clear out the gunk (physically, mentally, and emotionally). So I teach my personal practice which is deeply rooted in my work as a yoga therapist. For example, I love teaching heart opening in a way that allows you to explore different ways to create an opening around your heart, and to give you ten breaths to really spend time with the experience, to feel it, breathe it, and listen to your body. It's amazing to witness students expressing their own practice within the structure of the group experience.
As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
I'm very aware of yoga instruction that reinforces dynamics most of us are trying to get free from. For example, poses and cues that value willpower and achievement over listening deeply within to find your body's actual edge. Body shaming, effort shaming, teachers making assumptions about what's happening for the student, all of that reinforces dynamics in our society and culture that we could actually be transforming on the mat. Teaching with awareness is an ever-evolving process; I'm always exploring language, power dynamics, and class introductions to lay out expectations that can transform how we show up for ourselves and our bodies.
Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
My day job is to work 1-on-1 as a yoga therapist! I see clients at my office space in Roslindale Square. Clients come to me to deal with anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, life transition and the like. It's therapy that goes through the body instead of through the head. We explore different poses, hands-on bodywork, and breath, all the while giving you space to process verbally what's coming up in the moment. At the end of each session, you have a take-away that you can apply to make shifts in your day-to-day life.
What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
I love playing music in my classes because it's another way to move energy. World events are often on my mind while I'm teaching, we each make the world a better place when we improve the impact we have within our own spheres of influence. As I've been writing this, I've been listening to Jane Winther's Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu. This sanskrit mantra translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” What kind of world would this be if we all were striving for that? <3