I grew up as a competition dancer, with a twin sister and single mom who both supported me endlessly. My first stab at yoga was when I was in high school, struggling with my body image and weight, yet another side effect of competition dance. I took several classes the summer after my senior year at a hot yoga studio in Chandler, AZ. The kind of studio that was a little intimidating to go to, required a fancy towel rental and had stone floors, was full of super strong, flexible, thin white women, but as a young white lady myself who couldn't imagine a life of going to a 9am yoga hot yoga class every day in lulu lemons, I figured yoga wasn't for me. Plus it was like $25 per class and I just couldn't keep that up.
Fast forward to my first year of college. I moved to Tucson, one of the hippie capitals of AZ, and found an incredible studio, that held classes for $4. It was close to campus, but still popular enough that it wasn't strictly for college kids. There was one studio, and the teacher was also the receptionist. They locked the doors once class started. I took a couple classes, before finding my first Teacher, Dave Hernandez, who changed my relationship with Yoga for the better. He used humor, light, singing, laughter, autonomy, and incredible seeds of wisdom that made me fall in love with yoga. He would line everyone up facing each other, to reinforce community. He changed it up every class, but always gave us room to guide ourselves. He facilitated incredible body awareness in every class, simply by inviting me to tune in.
I was a religious yogi while in college, practicing once or twice a week to stay sane. Occasionally I would lose my way, but I always found my way back. Then I moved to New York.
Moving to New York ripped the rug out from under me. I'd never been more broke and afraid I couldn't pay my bills, I had just enough time to work my two jobs, hustle, audition, and sleep, with no room to take care of myself. After about a year living there, when I had finally figured out my job and bills situation enough to take an occasional breath, I found yoga again. I was seeking purpose