Studio classes at Yoga Blend:
Sunday 9:45 - 11 am Slow Flow
Tuesday 6 - 7:15 pm Mixed Level Flow
Thursday 6 - 7:15 pm Mixed Level Flow
I am Yoga Alliance-certified RYT-500, E-RYT-200.
Looking for an inspiring yoga retreat? Email here for info.
I am a certified non-denominational minister through Universal Life Ministries. Reach out to discuss creating a special wedding ceremony
for you and your beloved.
MY YOGA TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
Many times, learning that I teach yoga someone has said to me, "I can't do yoga because I'm not flexible." Well, I couldn't play guitar before I played guitar. I couldn't write a song before I wrote a song. We are not seeking an end-goal, but the practice of yoga itself is what increases flexibility, strength, and stability in the core of our bodies, and in our minds and hearts.
More than simply a fitness practice, Yoga is a healing art for the body and spirit. It has given me the strength to move through many difficult times with conscious awareness, strength, and stamina.
In group classes at the studio, I strive to help every student experience moments of joy. I bring a lightheartedness to every class, offering radical acceptance for every body type and level of ability. I challenge my students to practice self-care even as I sequence challenging poses in the vinyasa flow. I bring my guitar and sing Sanskrit mantras inspired by the spirit of the practice. In all my classes I integrate the 8 limbs and believe that my greatest goal is to assist students to find moments of true Yoga (with a capital Y) -- a sense of peace, celebration of the journey that brought them to class, playfulness, and confidence.
This is my offering, whether it's at the yoga studio, in a private or semi-private session, or at one of my Create & Flow retreats.
Practicing since 1999 and teaching since 2009, yoga's multifaceted approach to integrating body/mind/spirit has been essential to my growth in every aspect of my life -- as songwriter, musician, writer; as a teacher and student; as a partner, parent, friend.
My personal practice has evolved over time. It started in group yoga classes at gyms and, later, seeking more dedicated community, yoga studios. During class my mind would journey through joy, sadness, frustration, anxiety, and confidence as I "achieved" understanding or mastery of certain poses. It didn't take long before I developed increased strength and flexibility in my body. I also noticed an increase in body positivity, as my self-criticisms abated and I discovered new ways of moving in the world.
The next shifts arrived as I developed more mindful breathing and awareness of my physical self. I found a level of compassion I had not previously known for my physical limitations or temporary injuries.
By degrees, I softened into myself -- that is, the previously adversarial relationship between my mind and body that had led to disordered eating as a teenager and over criticism that lingered through my 20s developed into kindness. Instead of wishing my body was more like something I had seen depicted in magazines, I began to admire it for its own beauty and abilities. The fluctuations of my mind and moods minimized both in and out of class as I acquired an awareness of the natural variations of my thoughts, emotions, and moods. Through the practice in yoga class of becoming less reactive to my discomfort in challenging sequences, I developed greater patience and fortitude outside of class to manage discomfort in other areas of my life.
By 2009, I became curious to better understand the philosophy underlying the physical practice that my teachers presented. I felt certain that there was some unspoken foundation, because while my teachers presented great variety in their sequences and class banter, there was a connective value of awareness, self-acceptance, kindness, patience. There was no request for pollyanna dismissal of past experiences or present emotions. Instead, I sensed that the yoga practice encouraged self-examination and provided tools for assuaging sharp edged emotional pain.
That year I began learning more about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a series of non-dogmatic, logically-presented "threads," compiled in Sanskrit around 400 C.E., that offer wisdom about what behaviors trigger or relieve the natural mental fluctuations all humans experience. Through continued study, I have developed a personal practice that draws on the 8 limbs of the Yoga Sutras -- movement (asana), breathing practices (pranayama), turning inward (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), contemplation (dhyana), ethics (yamas), discipline (niyamas), and, when it comes, a sense of flow (samadhi) -- along with mantra, journaling, and visualization techniques.
Ultimately, yoga is about joy. The truth is, being human is hard. We are here on earth temporarily, as is everything that we love. Yoga helps alleviate the suffering that we all feel as part of this organic, temporal experience of living, so that we can celebrate the joys and pleasures of what this world has to offer.
Reach out if you have questions, or if you're interested in learning or practicing with me.
I am endlessly grateful to all my teachers. In particular, my RYT-200 teachers and Rising Lotus Yoga owners, Claire Hartley and Daniel Stewart, and my RYT-500 teacher and Yoga Blend owner, Christy Marsden, and my Create & Flow partner and husband, Darby Orr, have all impacted my life in immeasurable ways. Thank you, too, to singer-songwriter/yogi Wendy Beckerman, who first introduced me to yoga, on an early November morning at the Northeast Folk Alliance conference.
Thank you especially to all my students over the years who have been my greatest teachers.