The first person to really open up my world to yoga was Nikki Costello. She told me about Jivamukti, and I started to go religiously after class at NYU. I was a kid in a candy store and couldn’t get enough. When I graduated NYU in 1996, my parents gave me a gym membership to Crunch. I can't believe how lucky I was. The Crunch on 13th Street had a weekly lineup that looked something like this: Cyndi Lee on Monday, Peter Rizzo on Tuesday, Dana Flynn on Wednesday, Sharon Gannon on Thursday and Nikki on Friday. I studied with everyone I could; I went to my first Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park in 1999, where I then studied with Richard Freeman, Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller, John Friend, Angela Farmer and Sarah Powers. I continued studying and teaching in Manhattan and going to workshops and retreats – Baptiste weeklong boot camp, weeklong with Richard Freeman, weeklong with Kofi Busia, Yoga Journal Cruise, Shiva Rea, Rodney and so on. I moved to Westchester in 2001 for a year, and it was there that I first experienced a class with Nevine Michaan at her Katonah Yoga studio. I loved Nevine's classes and went every Wednesday to her two-hour teacher's workshop. I rediscovered Nevine about seven years later and took the Metro North up and back from the city to continue studying with her. I have to say my most influential teacher of them all has been Lisa Landphair. Not only has she been one of my closest friends for over 13 years, Lisa is the most compassionate, thoughtful, creative and intuitive individual I know. She teaches me in ways that go far beyond the yoga classroom. We've studied together for years and I study from her as often as I can.
I want students to feel the same way I do after a class. I try my best to get inside each student’s body and guide them into a moving meditation where they can leave the outside world behind for a while and go inside. If I can help people remove self-doubt and criticism and replace it with self-love and respect, then I am doing my job. I want everyone to find more space in their body and mind and open up to achieving their highest potential.
I teach from the heart. I've had so many amazing teachers over the years and I blend what I can from what I've learned and from my own practice. I don't do anything too fancy, although I do love creative and mindful sequencing. I love to give lots of hands-on adjustments. I really don't play music at all any more – I just find the practice is enough as it is and I like to concentrate on the breath and the instruction. I teach where I'm at each day and get a sense of where the class is at as well. I may hold poses longer some days and flow more other days.
I truly think we can find inspiration in everything we do when we value our self and others, and live in the present moment. Everything you could possibly ever want have or need is right here inside of you. Find your in-spiration – go inside and keep developing your relationship with your self to become your own best friend, and you will continue to find inspiration everywhere as well as inspire everyone around you.