How did I find myself on the path of Yoga? It wasn’t so much an epiphany as much as a simple occurrence that sparked my interest. There was no trauma or tragedy, or even a small catastrophe. Sometimes I feel odd for not having a more striking story like so many of my peers. However, I can tell you that one need not wait to explore Yoga for any reason other than a basic desire to feel good.
Hiking 11 miles out to Kalalau Beach on the rugged Napali Coast fulfilled my desire for a wild experience. It also initiated the gradual growth and discovery of a purpose that I did not know. It was there that I was invited to try some Yoga. I assumed it would be easy. Having been blessed with natural flexibility, I had danced my way through my school days in Southern California and prided myself on the ability to fly into the splits effortlessly. However, I discovered places within my torso and shoulders that were stuck, that didn’t move as I intended. These limitations awakened an unquenchable curiosity.
What, me? Not flexible? This needed some attention. Returning home to Park City, Utah, I sought out all the Yoga classes I could find. Not so easy back in 1979. The University of Utah surprisingly offered Yoga in their curriculum, so I went back to school that summer joining not one, but two Yoga classes, along with running, swimming, backpacking, and accounting. (I failed accounting.)
Forever emblazoned in my memory is that long held downward dog in which I watched beads of sweat dripping off the tip of my nose onto my yoga mat. “Hmmm, this is so much more that a good stretch,” I found myself marveling. Increasing my flexibility while equally developing my strength had me hooked. Daily practice became a pattern and then something else shifted deeply in my soul.
My behavior started changing. Patience became more evident along with self-confidence and a much nicer attitude. And then “she” awakened, my inner witness, and I saw myself in a much broader light. I became conscious of how I was treating my body; what I was eating, how much I was sleeping, and my choices to “party” took a turn. Living in a ski town in the 80’s had its influences and the choice to partake in drugs and alcohol quickly lost it appeal. I felt a calling and headed down a very different path, departing a community of dear friends that no longer aligned with my new beliefs. It was difficult to let go, and yet it was what I had to do. The term holistic health was now at the forefront of my passion and the new journey began.
Becoming certified as a Holistic Health Practitioner, Herbologist, and Massage Therapist launched me into alternative healing. I dove into as many workshops, certification courses, and retreats that I could. My training in Mind-Body Fitness combined Aerobics, Weight Training and Yoga along with Tai Chi, Anatomy, and Nutritional Counseling, and I returned again to University to focus on the science of Sports Medicine.
Moving from Maui to Bozeman in 1983 gave me the opportunity to introduce Montana to this new wave in wellness. At that time the term Yoga instilled a fearful resistance so I launched a course called Strong, Stretched and Centered, which enabled me to sneak Yoga in by sandwiching it around aerobic dance and calisthenics. The mind-body modalities of right/left brain exercises, energy balancing, and deep relaxation were well received and I made my mark as an innovative pioneer in the fitness field. For several years I traveled back to Maui where I had trained with Gloria Keeling stepping up as the Director for the Strong, Streched and Centered Teacher Trainings.
Over time, I was able to drop the aerobics and teach Yoga in its truest form as one of the only Yoga teachers in Montana. With the production of my first video, YogaMotion was born and I courageously opened the first yoga studio in Bozeman in 1998. It was a hit. Classes were packed and students were eager for more in-depth studies. They also wanted to learn how to teach the art and science of Yoga.
Their desire for more inspired me to design and launch the YogaMotion Teacher Training. Now in its 16th year, I have graduated 40 groups of students throughout Montana as well as Utah, New Mexico, and Costa Rica. This is my most exhilarating and effective method for sharing Yoga. I cherish my role as a Teacher’s Teacher and I am deeply appreciative for my many teachers passing on their wisdom. Always the proverbial student, the learning, healing, and personal growth never stops.
Why do I do what I do? Yoga has been my guiding light on this journey and it is my honor to pass the torch by sharing the tools of transformation that help to heal and support an authentic, heart-centered life. I am dedicated to educating, motivating and inspiring others as I witness their joy, confidence, and contentment expanding. Over and over again, through this work, I see women awakening their passion and living their life on purpose. We benefit ourselves when we embrace the deep stirrings of soul. We benefit the world as we let our own light shine.