My journey to yoga started in the mountains of Western North Carolina. While attending Appalachian State University, I was challenged by a co-worker to try a yoga class at the school. She thought I would like yoga because of the positive effects it had on her own life – the way it made her feel, the way she treated herself and others off the mat, and the physicality of the practice. I went to a class with her and was unimpressed, but I continued to practice once a week. My feelings drastically changed that spring when I went on a Karma Yoga project to help prevent and repair erosion on one of the beautiful mountains near ASU – we planned to work all day and finish with yoga on the summit. There were about 50 people that attended and I only knew 4 of them. In this group of mostly strangers, we set down all of our differences to work together for these few hours. Everyone dropped their guard, put a smile on their face and a tool in their hand, and made it happen. After working for a few hours, we ascended the mountain for yoga and lunch. During the yoga asana, I caught myself looking around and feeling inspired and uplifted by all these wonderful energies around me. I was amazed at how deeply connected I felt to these strangers – such positive people, doing authentic and honest movement together as a community. When I realized that yoga and the communities that engage in the practice of yoga could inspire me and connect me so strongly to this positive energy, I was hooked. Yoga was for me.

In my own life, I use yoga as a skill set for dealing with the stressors of life and the fluctuations of the mind that come with stress. Yoga, for me, is a set of tools for life – it is meant to be honed, cultivated and sharpened on the mat, but ultimately wielded off the mat. I have a multi-sport athletic background (football, wrestling and lacrosse), but wrestling is my athletic backbone. Through wrestling, I learned anatomy, body awareness, and how to take care of my body. Yoga has allowed me to explore these skills further and has most importantly helped me to take care of my mind. By grounding myself in breath and the present moment, I am able to quiet the chatter in my head, connect to my most honest and open self, and be more open to new discoveries/possibilities, both physical and mental.

I decided to take FSYC’s 200-Hour Teacher Training Program because I want to be able to share this skill set that has done so much for me with others. My intentions during every class are to help others breathe, move, and focus mentally in a safe space and with safe and healthy body alignment. In any of my classes one could expect to focus on breath work, cultivating a sense of community through a group practice, and lots of laughs.

My daily inspirations include music, laughter, children, courage under pressure, when the “under dog” wins in sports, my friends and family, and those who are no longer with us.