WHERE WERE YOU BORN/RAISED?
I was born in Cuernavaca Mexico and raised mostly in Zihuatanejo and San Francisco.
TELL US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR PERSONAL PRACTICE
I found this practice during trying times as a confused 17 year old. I started to surf, practice Yoga and went vegetarian all at once! I remember my very first Yoga session was by myself with Ram Das’s famous book, Be Here Now. There is a page with about 12 Asanas in the back. During Savasana I felt a unity, love, and oneness that was truly beautiful. Once I had my first Asana class I was hooked, committed to being a student and never looked back. I was introduced to Mysore Ashtanga practice a year later on the big island of Hawaii and have consistently practiced my own version of the Primary Series for the last 20 years. I have also practiced Vinyasa Flow with various epic teachers in San Francisco and Hawaii over the years. As a massage therapist and athlete, I love anatomy and practiced Iyengar Yoga to deepen my understanding of alignment. When I was in India I studied In the Iyengar Yoga tradition. As I grow, my practice changes. It is a living practice that ebbs and flows with life’s rhythms. Sometimes strong and sometimes mellow. It is often physically intense, but I also incorporate Pranayama and Chanting to access deeper states of awareness and connection.
TELL US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR TEACHING EXPERIENCE
I taught my first yoga class in 2001 in Sayulita, Mexico at a Women’s Surf/Yoga retreat. During that time I realized that I had a lot to learn and decided to become a serious student before taking on the role of teaching. I did several Teacher Trainings and taught my friends and family for many years before I felt confident enough to teach as a full-time job. My main teacher is Bhavani Maki on Kauai, whom I have studied with for 15 years and Janet Stone has been my main Bhakti teacher for the last 10 years. I started teaching full time in 2008 and have taught in Zihuatanejo, Costa Rica, Hawaii and California. I have taught beginner slow flow to the elderly, Vinyasa Flow, Yoga with therapy balls, Yoga Sutra intensives, Bhakti Yoga mantra and chanting intensives, and meditation.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?
Heart openers! Any backbend that helps balance out my tight surfer shoulders and baby carrying arms! I love Dhanurasana, Ustrasana or even a simple Sphinx pose does wonders for my energy level and helps restore balance. I get a beautiful rush of Prana every time I open my heart and that trickles off onto my mat and into the world. When my heart is open, I have more compassion and kindness toward others.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA/SPIRITUALITY/SELF HELP BOOK?
My favorite book at the moment is “The Yogi’s Roadmap: Patanjali Yoga Sutra as a Journey to Self Realization” by Bhavani Maki. I studied with her daily for 4 years when I lived on Kauai, and have done 2 teacher trainings with Bhavani. The Yoga Sutras help us understand our humanness and how to access our spirit and highest path. The way Bhavani gets into the Sutras is very authentic and practical. She breathes life into these teachings in a way that is relatable.
ANY ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS?
As a beginner my advice is that you commit! Once you find a teacher whose class you resonate with, go consistently! Tap into the great power of your breath and realize that this is your true teacher. Let the breath guide you so that you don’t overdo it and you can honor your own pace. There is no “one size fits all” in Yoga. If something doesn’t feel right, ask your teacher for help! Show up consistently, (Abhyasa – practice), modify or rest when you need to, and try not to be too attached to what your postures look like (Vairagya – detachment). Your body will open and get stronger if you simply show up! Commitment is a biggie! Try to make it to class at least 3-4 days a week! You will be amazed at the transformation you feel! The more you practice the more skillful you become. Show up and enjoy the deep breath that unifies your body, mind and spirit! With Yoga the impossible becomes possible!
WHAT DOES “COMMUNITY” MEAN TO YOU?
Community is the reason we moved from Costa Rica to Ventura. Now that we have a little one we wanted to be near family and friends to share our joys and also have trust and support when needed. To me community is a give and take where the underlying intention is to support each other in good times and in bad times. It takes a village to raise a little one surrounded by love, it takes a village to clean up an environmental disaster, it takes a village to…. After living in many great places I can honestly say that I have found that this community is extremely awesome! Community is an extension of our family and our home!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT VENTURA?
My favorite thing about Ventura is family and community! I love sharing our lives with this awesome community! Ventura also has some of the most amazing weather! We have year long surf and gorgeous sunsets. Ventura is a sweet little gem on this big beautiful blue planet! I feel we are all very fortunate to live in this corner of the world!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION?
Surfrider Foundation! The ocean is turning into a plastic soup. As a surfer, I worship the ocean and support any organization that helps battle this enormous issue. Surfrider is all about protecting our oceans and cleaning up our beaches.