HOW I GOT STARTED
I took my first yoga class – Bikram Yoga – in 1999 (or 2000) after a lot of nagging from my roommate. At the time, I was a rollerblading junkie and thought yoga would most definitely pale in comparison. To my complete surprise, it turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. My body and my mind felt so calm and so peaceful, something I rarely felt in my life up until then. Tears of joy rolled down my face during the final Savasana. (What?! Crying in a yoga class?) From that day I practiced Bikram Yoga daily for the next 2 years.
During my time as a Bikram Yoga student, I got curious about other styles of yoga. I found two incredible yoga teachers: Monti Mayrend, an Iyengar-style teacher, and Robert Boustany, creator of Pralaya Yoga. I studied with Monti intensively and privately. Monti taught me the art of precision and alignment according to the Iyengar style, and he introduced me to a completely different world outside the 26 Bikram Yoga postures. Robert impressed me with his brilliant understanding of human physiology and taught me modern applications to traditional yoga techniques. I experienced many milestones on the mat under Monti’s and Robert’s tutelage. In 2001, I completed my first yoga teacher training with Lex Gillian at the Yoga Institute. That same year, I started substitute teaching Monti’s yoga classes. In 2002, I completed Robert’s year long teacher training and also traveled to India for about a month to study with Dharmavirsingh Mahida, a senior Iyengar Yoga teacher. I had fallen head over heels in love with yoga and wanted to keep learning and experiencing everything about it. I landed my own yoga classes around town, and throughout the years, maintained a growing weekly teaching schedule in Houston.
JOURNEY INTO FORREST YOGA
In 2005, I moved to Boston, MA. As I explored the yoga scene there, I kept hearing yogis rave about Ana Forrest and her style of Forrest Yoga. Ana came to town to teach the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training during summer 2006. I signed up for 11 morning intensives to find out what this whole Forrest Yoga thing was all about. My first class with Ana that summer was unlike any yoga class I had ever experienced. I loved the longer-than-usual holds, the emphasis on healing through breath, the physically and mentally challenging practice, Ana’s clear and compassionate teaching style, and so much more. My body convulsed as tears streamed down my face in Savasana. As someone who rarely cried, I cried uncontrollably that day!…while layers of repressed emotions were loosening up and moving out of me. It was powerful and euphoric. I had to learn more about Forrest Yoga and continue on this healing path.
I immersed myself in Forrest Yoga and took Ana’s classes whenever she was in Boston. I enrolled in her 9-Day Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training (FYATT) in 2007 and then her 200-hour Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training (FYFTT) in 2008. Both trainings changed my life. I learned to take responsibility for my own life and healing, to breathe deeply, to be more self-aware, and to love more with less fear. In 2008, I enrolled in the Forrest Yoga Mentorship Program with Mentor Guardian Ann Hyde, who is an invaluable mentor to me. Soon after, I began to work closely with Ana and assist her trainings:
- FYATT 9-Day in Rhode Island (2009)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in Connecticut (2009; Lead Assistant)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in Rhode Island (2010; Lead Assistant)
- FYATT 9-Day in Massachusetts (2010; Lead Assistant)
- FYCET 5-Day in Massachusetts (2010; Lead Assistant)
- FYCET 3-Day in Massachusetts (2010; Lead Assistant)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in Massachusetts (2011; assisted half of training)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in Texas (2011; Lead Assistant)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in Denver (2012; assisted half of training)
- FYATT 9-Day in Texas (2012; Lead Assistant)
- FYATT 9-Day in Denver (2013; Assistant)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in San Francisco (2013; assisted part of training)
- FYFTT 200-Hour in Houston (2014)
- FYATT 9-Day in Connecticut (2015; Apprentice)
- workshops and intensives around the country (2009-present; Lead Assistant)
In addition to assisting Ana, I am a Forrest Yoga Mentor Guardian, Teacher Training Program Development Director, and up through 2015 was the Teacher Liaison. As the Teacher Training Program Development Director, I manage and edit all of Forrest Yoga’s syllabi and manuals for teacher trainings and classes as well as oversee the development of new trainings and teaching products. As the Teacher Liaison, I supported our global community of Forrest Yoga teachers in their certification process. As a Mentor Guardian, I run Mentorship Programs that help our Forrest Yoga teachers become excellent healers and teachers. Ana has authorized me to be one of the first Mentor Guardians to teach the 200-hour Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training and the 9-day Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training.
My Forrest Yoga practice is the foundation for my life. As I evolve, I can draw tools from my practice to intelligently respond to my needs in each moment or phase of my life, especially when life hands my ass to me. As a result, I feel more more connected with myself and with others. I make better decisions and feel more contentment with myself and my relationships. My mission is to live my life with consciousness and connectedness and to help you learn how to do the same for yourself. I believe that this world is a better place the more we live together in consciousness and connectedness.