I started practicing yoga when I was 18. Five years later, I met my teacher Sri K Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India, founder of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of yoga. I was young and struggling with some physical challenges and pain but also I felt a lot of emotional distress. I was searching for myself. During my many visits with him, Pattabhi Jois taught me to not turn away from the pain, physical or emotional, but to meet it, breathe into it, to work with it. As counterintuitive as this sounded, when I did this, the pain shifted, and some new understanding always emerged. Pattabhi Jois taught me about surrender and helped me move beyond what I had previously thought were my limitations.
In 2000 Pattabhi Jois gave me his blessing to teach the Ashtanga method. I am a level 2 authorized teacher with the K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, and I have been teaching in and around the Bay Area since 1998. I have owned and operated Mission Ashtanga, a traditional mysore ashtanga studio in San Francisco’s Mission District, for the past 10 years. My yoga therapy practice comes directly out of this experience.
In 1999 I met yogic scholar and non dual teacher Dr. Richard Miller. For the next twelve years I studied closely with him, focusing on the classical texts of yoga and tantra. Richard modeled for me the ease and authenticity that come when we honor all parts of ourselves and have the willingness to face whatever confronts us.
A large part of my studies with Richard has been integrating the practice of yoga nidra, an ancient mediation practice that provides tools for staying in touch with the sense of health and well-being that is there for us at all times. I use this practice as a foundation for all my work, because it emphasizes the wholeness that is always present.
The Value of Working in Relationship
Throughout my years of study, I’ve been guided, supported and inspired by many, but the special relationships I’ve had with my primary teachers — Sri K Pattabhi Jois and Richard Miller — have been life changing. Pattabhi Jois modeled discipline, unyielding commitment, and embodied practice — three guiding principles of my life. Richard modeled a relentless willingness to face all that is present, and in turn, this has helped me trust in the practice and in myself. They both demonstrated authenticity, humility, commitment to process and fierce determination, and they inspired me to find these qualities inside myself.
My teachers and the practices they taught have helped me discover a deep pool of inner wisdom I wasn’t able to contact on my own. In my work, I carry on this tradition. I am sharing what I’ve been given, so others can find the wisdom and healing within themselves.