I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s in Washington, Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh in the rust belt. It was a time and place in which I don't think anyone at all did yoga. I did however have an awesome record called Movement With Music that introduced creative dance concepts and classical music. I must have listened to that a thousand times as I danced around the living room as little girl. We also did do plenty of breathing exercises to increase our lung capacity in my 4 years of marching band practice at Trinity Public High School. It's not quite the same as yogic breathing, but it was a start at training my breath!
My first class experiences with the joy of movement came at Oberlin College (in northern Ohio) when I explored modern dance with a teacher named Deborah Vogel and others. Vogel in particular was very knowledgeable about body mechanics, and she made dance enjoyable and accessible even for History-majors like me with no experience whatsoever (nor a lot of talent). She encouraged us to feel and reflect on how the movement felt and how it affected our bodies and minds and vice versa.
After moving to Oregon, with my Eugene-born sweetie in 1993, I got my M.A. in Teaching from the Pacific University branch here in Eugene in 1995. This program also employed a fairly philosophical, reflective structure which encouraged self-study and critical thinking.
I began my personal yoga journey in 1997 while teaching in the Eugene 4j public elementary schools. Donna O’Neil, (fellow 4j teacher and new yoga teacher) offered classes through the school district. I cannot believe how lucky I am that my first teacher was Donna--she was great even then. Over the years I explored various yoga classes and NIA™ in my personal practice. I love to incorporate creative intuitive movement into my classes.
In 2008 I discovered Yoga Calm™ through another 4j colleague. This program was developed by Jim Gillen (ERYT-500) and Lynea Gillen (LPC, RYT-200) of Portland, Oregon, to bring mindfulness, self-control, and safe asana practice into public school classrooms. I did the 30 hour Yoga Calm for Youth certification module which I used in my classroom for several years. I particularly appreciate the way Yoga Calm incorporates social-emotional learning and a deep understanding of how children (and really most adult humans) live in, learn about and cope with all that life brings. After resigning from my 17 year career in teaching, I decided to combine these two passions and continue my path of study with the Gillens. The Yoga Calm adult training similarly emphasizes the teaching and practice of non-competitive, inclusive, self-aware, alignment and safety conscious yoga. I completed my RYT-200 training with Yoga Calm™ from Sept. 2015-June 2016.
In the summer of 2017 I added a Bo Yoga® certification course, taught by founder Nate Guadagni (RYT-200), to my repertoire. Bo Yoga helped to expand not only my teaching skills and repertoire, making classes even more accessible with this great new prop, but also my own personal practice. I miss my Bo Staff if I am gone for more than a few days! You can read more about Bo Yoga on the Studio Classes Page.
Most recently in March 2018 I attended a four day training called Relax Into Yoga for Seniors which was organized through Yoga Calm once again. It was lead by Carol Krucoff (E-RYT, C-IAYT) and Kimberly Carson (MPH, E-RYT, C-IAYT) who are both well grounded in both yogic tradition and serious scientific health research. Again, I found myself learning from amazing and knowledgeable teachers about how to make yoga much safer and more enjoyable for folks living with a variety of chronic health issues, who want to improve their daily function and ability to enjoy life as the years progress.
49 Years in Fewer Than 1000 Words
I feel immense gratitude for finding such big-hearted, and simultaneously rigorously intellectual teachers, who encouraged me to find my own way, to think and feel -- not just memorize or blindly follow directions -- at every step of my journey along the yogic path. I continue to learn every day through practice, reading and experiences with various teachers and students (who are of course also my teachers).
I find many of the same rewards in teaching adults as I did children: sharing knowledge to help people become more in tune with their physical, mental and emotional bodies. I particularly enjoy introducing reluctant beginners to the simple joys of yoga in a light-hearted, non-judgmental, safety-focused fashion. Helping students learn how to reflect on their efforts, find their power and to advocate for themselves brings me great satisfaction.
When I am not practicing yoga I enjoy fiber arts such as spinning, knitting and weaving; playing a little piano/ banjo/bass; patting my cat, Bumbles; and helping the love and anchor of my life, Seth Kimmel, keep his double-bass-violin building business in business by doing IT support and marketing.