Where were you born/raised?
Tell us a brief history of your personal practice
My very first yoga class was at Mavericks Gym around 15 years ago. I practiced on and off, dabbling in other fitness routines through college but nothing really stuck. In 2008 I was going through a rough time and my friend took me to Corepower Yoga where I met my very first heated vinyasa class. I instantly felt at home, connected to my body, and genuinely bonded to my practice.
Tell us a brief history of your teaching experience
I had a daily home practice for a while and my friends started asking me if they could join me and follow along. Eventually I ran out of space on my patio so we moved to local parks and invited the community. My first park class was July 29th, 2015. This is officially the day Grassroots Yoga (then known as Ventura Grassroots Yoga) was born! I raised all my money by donations from the community that I was able to attend my 200 hour vinyasa teacher training in January 2016 at a local studio in town under Rob Hess. In October 2016 I completed the Chakra Vinyasa module with Shiva Rea.
What’s your favorite yoga pose?
Upward Facing Dog. When done properly, it has such a beautiful transition out of Chaturanga that allows you to literally feel your heart space open and expand in sync with your inhale.
What’s your favorite yoga/self help/spirituality book?
Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates. So many yoga books are too heady for the average student. Rolf writes in a way that is simple and relatable. His teachings encourage imperfection and vulnerability in our society that tends to be filled with perfectionism and self shame.
What is your advice for beginners?
Work first on letting go of the idea that you must look a certain way to do yoga. Yoga is about the sensations we create, not the shapes we attempt to recreate. If you have a body, and you can breathe, then you are a natural born yogi.
What does community mean to you?
As humans, we are hard wired for community. We need a “tribe” in order to survive and thrive. In caveman days, we made choices based on what was best for the tribe as a whole, not what was best for us as an individual. Only the tribes that had the strongest bonds survived. Having each others backs had literal meaning back then, nowadays having each others’ backs means many different things. But if we can keep it simple by acting on behalf of the good of our community, everything will fall in to place. Actions of separation destroys communities, actions of connection strengthens them.
What’s your favorite thing about Ventura?
I love that Ventura is so centrally located. You can hit the beach, the desert, and snow covered mountains all in one day if you wanted to. Although I grew up here, I truly feel that Ventura gets more beautiful by the day.
What’s your favorite non-profit organization?
RAKlife! These people dedicate their time doing random acts of kindness across the globe. They also spend a lot of time paying it forward, which is such a genuine action. They truly don’t want anything in return except to spread kind vibes across the world. We are so blessed to have them here in Ventura, and I’m honored to have them as Grassroots’ in house charity.