Mindful movement for people of all abilities, body sizes, and ages
I still remember my first yoga class in 1995 during my first year at Trent University, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Anthropology. It was a beginner course in Hatha Yoga taught by a woman named Astrid, who took her time teaching the fundamentals of a gentle yoga practice. Being a person who shied away from team sports, I quickly fell in love with yoga and its noncompetitive, quiet, introspective, and exploratory nature. For the next 11 years I practiced yoga semi-regularly taking classes here and there and at home following along to videos with renowned yoga teacher Rodney Yee.
When I started the teacher training program at Yogaspace in 2006 I experienced my first vinyasa class, which was much more physical and fast-paced than my usual practice. Learning to teach both hatha yoga from Patricia White and vinyasa yoga from Kathryn Beet and Ante Pavlovic influenced the unique slow-flowing style of my teaching today.
I've been teaching yoga full time since 2009, dividing my hours between private clients, workplace classes, chair yoga classes, beginner yoga workshops, and studio classes.
My teaching style is supportive, encouraging, and gently challenging. I'm not interested in making you push harder or go faster. Instead, I understand that more is gained and learned when we ease off and slow down, so that we learn to use less effort and overcome unconscious movement patterns that may be more harmful than we realize. The practice is about feeling your way through it, always circling back to notice how your breath moves as you move, and whether you’re striving and pushing your way further to fulfill an idealized notion of what you think you should feel or how you think the pose should look. Learning to catch these moments of being untrue to yourself is an important part of the practice.
I usually begin and end my classes the same way: lying on the back in savasana. I encourage my students to slow down, become quiet, to listen in and wake up to the sensations within the body. Most of my classes are taught without music. Silence is a rare thing throughout our busy and distracted lives, and without that distraction comes a greater ability to be present with your personal experience.
I credit a course I took with Patricia White in the spring of 2007 called Adapting Asanas for People with Limited Mobility for giving me the ability and confidence to provide yoga to a broader range of ages and abilities. That summer I began teaching chair yoga classes at retirement homes and continue to today. I also took the Yoga for Seniors teacher training course with Monica Cordes in 2009 and the Yoga Thrive program for cancer survivors with Susi Hately in 2010.
Based on my years of experience teaching people with various health concerns and mobility restrictions, in 2016 I created two Adaptive Yoga courses that I offer to yoga and movement teachers. In those courses I teach others how to teach Chair Yoga and simple and safe ways to adapt the yoga mat practice for people with limited mobility.
In addition to having my 500HR training certification through YogaSpace, I continue to take courses in yoga and other movement modalities that have influenced my contemporary teaching style. These include Functional Movement (Scott Davis), Developmental Movement (Diane Bruni), Pilates (Margot McKinnon), Body-Mind Centering (Mariko Tanabe), Somatics (Kaila June, Nadine Saxton), Mindful Strength (Kathryn Bruni-Young) and Fascial Trains (Tom Myers).
Along with a daily yoga and meditation practice, I enjoy activities that help me connect to the web of life all around me, including sailing, bird-watching, astronomy, and hiking through the forest.
When I'm not teaching yoga I enjoy sailing on Lake Ontario, visiting my parents at Lake Huron, having friends over for dinner, gardening, baking, weaving, and knitting. I live in Toronto with my husband Colin and our two cats.
I am registered as a Continuing Education Provider and an Experienced Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance.