Smiling Dog Yoga Q&A

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1. What inspired you to teach yoga?

After being inspired by a lifetime of practicing yoga, the first spark of inspiration to teach yoga came from the healing I received, both physical and emotional from my personal practice. By God's grace, I walked away from a pretty serious and traumatic car accident at the age of 18 and within the practice of yoga and meditation I found the perfect medicine for my healing. It wasn't until the age of 20 that my teacher, mentor, and friend, Sue Berkey, truly began to stoke the fire of inspiration that guided me to start offering my gifts as a teacher.

2. Where/who did you do your teacher training with?

I took by first teacher training in Vinyasa Krama Yoga with Shrivatsa Ramaswami at LMU in Los Angeles, CA and my second training, in Sattva Yoga, with Anand Mehrotra, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

3. What is your advice to yoga students?

The greatest advice that I can offer yoga students is to come to "yoga" as you are. Not only to arrive and show up for yourself, but to be truly available to the gifts that are being offered within the practice itself. The practice of yoga has little to do with the postures, how long you hold them for or how deep you go. The practice is about being where you, working with what you've got, in the moment and seeing how you can make that moment shine a little brighter. As if you were slow dancing with the body, guided by deep awareness and breath. I invite you to take the medicine from the practice that serves you and leave behind the rest.

4. What is your favorite yoga pose and why?

 Photo by Ivan Ditschener

Photo by Ivan Ditschener

My favorite yoga pose would have to be mermaid pose, Eka pada rajakoptasana. I like to think that I live with my lips pressed against my edge and with my heart yearning to remain open. As Anais Nin put it, 'I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.' I feel this pose encourages that level of unraveling heart open expansion along with tender vulnerability. 

5. What inspirational quote/ saying do you live by?

One of the greatest inspirational sayings I tend to live my life by, are words spoken from Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: "Yogastha kuru karmani." First establish yourself in Being and then perform action. To me this saying whispers the reminder to first pull back the arrow on the bow, dive deep into the Self and then release the arrow... move forward into your day, into action. I believe the deeper we go, the more silence we cultivate, and the more we tap into the infinite field of pure consciousness within, the more dynamic, creative and fulfilling our life will become. 

6. What does health and wellness mean to you?

Health and wellness to me is a symbiotic balance between mind, body and Spirit, which is our original Nature. This level of holistic wellness is cultivated and maintained through a 24 hour living practice in the awareness we bring to our every day habits and activities.