How did yoga become part of your life? What led you to a devoted yoga practice?
I started playing around with yoga when I was 14 after I saw some poses in a magazine and thought 'Hmm, I wonder if I can get my body to do that?' At first I enjoyed the flexibility benefits, then was surprised that it helped to build strength as well. The pranayama was the last piece to fall into place, once I realized the purpose of connecting the breath to the body's movements I found I never wanted to move without being body-aware ever again. Later on during times when life was difficult, I found I needed the focus and resulting peace from my practice. Yoga has become my chiropractor, my psychologist, my best friend, my laboratory, and my playground.
What do you think are the biggest misconception people have about yoga?
The first is the classic “I'm not flexible enough for yoga.” It's a side effect, not a prerequisite.
The second is: “Yoga is only for women.” Men have just as much to gain from yoga as women, and we both need it in different ways. There is nothing predominantly feminine about yoga, other than we get the trademark pants:)
Name the non-negotiables in your life.
--You need to make yourself a priority. You can't take care of others if you don't also take care of yourself.
--Pursue your passions; in work, social life, hobbies, family, etc. You don't have to be passionate about everything in your life, but the things you are should balance everything out.
--Always choose laughing over crying.
What is the pose that challenges you most? Why do you think it challenges you?
Lotus pose: because I have to carefully temper myself with that one. I can do it after a targeted warm up, but its more I have to give myself permission 'not' to do it. Its a trademark yoga pose, and I've felt in the past that I should be able to do it since I teach. There are other poses that are 'harder' for me, but this one has taught me to silence the ego and practice from a place of safety and compassion.
If you had to pick one mantra to share with your students, what would it be?
Om Mani Padme Hum: 'The Jewel is in the Lotus. There are various interpretations of the translation, but basically it means that all of your potential lies within and gives you ownership of your own awesomeness. I have it tattooed on my wrist to remind me that I am my own clay to mold and to keep me humble as a teacher while my students are molding themselves.