I live in Chicago with my partner Tim, our 38 year old turtle Freddie, and 11 year old dog Fagan. We lost our 21 year old cat, sweet Belle, a few years ago, may she rest in peace until we meet again. We live in Lincoln Park and absolutely love living in the city. We enjoy taking Fagan to the park, living so close to the lake and the beach, the restaurants and the food, and the energy of the city... there is just so much to love. I love my job and enjoy a career as an animal welfare research scientist, a role that I worked hard with a number of colleagues to establish and we have an amazing team. But this is just a part of my life, and I am a big believer in a balance. Not long ago, I was very much a hermit... I didn't get out much beyond work, didn't have a lot to identify with... My life has really opened itself to me in recent years. Finding balance and connectedness was an inside job that required time. It's amazing how much happiness, connection and balance can bring. In our free time, I support Tim as he is building an independent business, where we have met amazing people and formed lasting friendships. I also love everything music - see my Music and Yoga Playlists blog for more on that - but I enjoy both playing and listening to music. I also enjoy cooking, spending time with friends and family, and staying healthy by exercising and practicing yoga. I discovered yoga about 10 years ago, during that moment in my life where I was seeking balance and connection. The timing was perfect, and yoga helped me to find peace in accepting that at any moment, life is as it should be. I immediately knew I wanted to become a teacher, to share with others the experience and practice that was so profound in my own life. I completed my 200-hour teacher training in 2014 with Alyson D'Souza at Village Yoga Chicago. As a yoga teacher, I appreciate the practice from a different perspective and am grateful to be able to share it with others, seeing the profound impact it has on the lives of those who practice.
A bit deeper... From studying psychology and behavior, to the desire to work as a substance abuse counselor, to thinking I wasn't cut out to be a substance abuse counselor, to entering a graduate psychology program, to study addiction in rodents instead of people, to studying neuroscience, to working as neuroscientist studying depression, anxiety, attention deficit and Alzheimer's Disease, to realizing my passion had shifted, to working to create a roll to fit this passion dedicated to refinement, replacement and reduction of animal use in research, to finding yoga, to enrolling in yoga teacher training, to teaching yoga... I never really planned to do any of this. Who knew we would wear so many hats before the age of 40? Listen up 20-somethings that are stressing out over identifying what you want to be you grow up! Here's a bit of advice, stop trying to figure it out, and just BE. Then there are the more personal roles I've played as a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, niece, partner, kitty-mama, puppy-mama, turtle-mama, god-mama… No matter how many hats we wear, under all of them is the one thing that could hold us back from all of the goodness - from opportunity, from love, from experience, from joy, from faith - and that one thing is fear. Fear of not being enough, fear of failure, fear of what others think, fear of the unknown and even fear of ourselves. These are fears we all encounter on a daily basis. They're showing up every day to test us, to try us, to hold us back which is why this is one of my favorite themes to incorporate into my yoga classes - whether I'm teaching or practicing, the yoga mat is the perfect place to practice presence, practice letting go of the mind chatter, getting out of our head space. See, fear isn't really an emotion at all, but rather created from the ego-driven mind. Fear is a set of stories our mind tells us, a result of ego driven thinking and hypotheticals – just ghosts. There is a reason that the greats teach presence. With presence, there is no mind chatter and no conscious thought. And without conscious thought, there is no fear. But let’s be practical, we all think. We all question. We were pre-programmed and gifted to do so. Technically the only species with the ability for metacognition, or thinking about thinking – which is amazing! But this also means that we were also pre-programed for fear! But with love, there is no fear. My life philosophies... connect with others, live with presence and most importantly, DO IT ALL WITH LOVE.
From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.