I practice and teach yoga because it helps me figure out what it means to be human, and alive, and breathing. And also because I’m a mom with too much laundry piled around whose shoulders get tight and whose belly gets anxious.

I’ve been practicing yoga since 2008 (when I realized it seemed to be helping with my chronic writer’s block during grad school), and teaching since 2014. Over the past five years, I have grown more and more interested in both the latest scientific research on movement, breath, and meditation — I’m a biomechanics and pain science and neuroplasticity nerd — as well as in immersing myself in studying Vedic, Tantric, and Buddhist philosophy, mythology, and history.

I live in South Philadelphia with my husband and daughter, and teach group classes, private lessons, series, and occasional workshops at Wake Up Yoga, Old Swede’s Church, and out of my home.

I’m especially interested in gentle and restorative yoga as tools for managing stress; in building progressive and functional strength and mobility (so we “householders” feel good in our real lives); and in connecting the skills of mindfulness, kindness, curiosity, and courage that we practice on the mat to our lives off the mat. 

I am certified in vinyasa, prenatal, and restorative yoga, and have specialized training in biomechanics, myofascial release, yoga for chronic pain, adaptive yoga for brain injury, and private yoga.

I teach yoga because yoga practice has profoundly changed my life — been with me through pregnancy, parenting, injuries, grief, growth, joy, and creativity — and I love sharing it.

I especially love witnessing the gradual but real shifts over time in how people breathe, move, and feel when they commit to a yoga practice. 

I am grateful to the primary teachers who have nurtured the roots of my practice: Corina Benner, Felicia Comisar, and Kate Howell at Wake Up Yoga, and Zhenja LaRosa and fellow Yoga Nerds in West Philly, as well as to those whose trainings and mentorship have been deeply influential to me: Jacci Gruninger, Marlysa Sullivan, Trina Altman, Jules Mitchell, and Francesca Cervero.

Find out more about my group classes, private sessions, and workshops at the links above.

 

The longer, messier version: 

I always kind of like hearing people’s origin stories. How and why they got interested in doing what they’re doing. So if you want to know more about mine, here it is:

For basically as long as I can remember, I struggled HARD with perfectionism. I’ve been a writer since I was a kid, and the entire time, I’ve also battled writer’s block and depression.

There was a voice in my head, my whole life, telling me I wasn’t good enough.

That I’d never be good enough.

Who knows where it came from. Our culture is really good at selling people on the idea that we should DO more, BE more, BUY more, EARN more, be more FAMOUS, be more BEAUTIFUL, be more impressive in all-the-ways — so it’s not like I had to invent this on my own.

As a teenager, I thought I was rebelling against it — that cultural to-do list — by reading Sassy magazine and shopping at thrift stores, by giving the middle finger to a certain kind of beauty ideal. But the reality was, I was still incredibly caught up in caring what others thought of me.

I’d constructed an identity for myself as a rebel, as an artist, as unique — but inside I still feared I was a fraud.

And I still had the voice in my head telling me I wasn’t ever good enough.

So I kept looking for what I jokingly call Solutions To My Life.

Maybe if I got a super meaningful nonprofit job?

Maybe if I got my act together to write a Really Important Novel?

Maybe if I got in better shape, wore the perfect vintage-quirky-flattering wardrobe?

Maybe if I listened to cool enough music?

Maybe if I traveled around the world?

Maybe if I got an MFA?

I was still grasping for something. Something other than what I had, than who I was.

Then I found yoga.

This was during the worst bout of writer’s block I’d ever had.

Right around the time I started grad school for fiction writing, I also happened to (thankfully) order this yoga DVD by Hemalayaa Behl. It was called Yoga for Urban Living. I’d play it in my tiny living room in the apartment we were renting on 8th Street in South Philly.

I remember I really liked the thread-the-needle twist, and the balance poses, and the breathing.

See, grad school kinda shook every gritty piece of anxiety in my belly into a frantic, rattling frenzy. I walked around roiling with it. I didn’t have this language at the time, but looking back, I was SO dysregulated.

I was stressed out all the time, and putting on a brave, rational face at work and with my grad school mentors, and faking eloquent, sane, self-reflective positive-spin thoughts that deep down I didn’t believe at all.

The (mostly unconscious) story in my head was if I don’t prove to be a worthy writer, I am not a worthy human being.

I literally was operating as if writing was what justified my existence on the planet. If I wasn’t good enough at it, might as well take me out back and shoot me.

No pressure, right?

That’s my origin story.

And, spoiler alert — the yoga didn’t magically solve things overnight. But I did start to notice that while I was practicing, and usually for a few hours afterwards, that voice in my head — the “you’re never enough, everything you do is stupid” voice — it would turn off.

So I got really curious about that. I got more and more interested in the connection between movement and creativity, mind and body.

And then when I was pregnant, I had the added motivation of noticing that on days when I did even 5 minutes of yoga poses, I’d sleep better, have less hip pain during the night.

Seriously — 5 minutes vs. nothing was that major.

So I started doing a little something just about every day.

And a little something became a little more.

Until I started to feel like — this is an important part of my life. Yoga became  something steady enough to rely on. No matter what — no matter where I was in the world, what time of day it was, how I felt — I could do a few minutes of yoga, and it would help.

So I started to feel more and more desperate to understand it. To know *why* it worked, and *how*, and what its history was.

I chose to take my teacher training at Wake Up Yoga in 2013 because I loved the teachers there, and wanted to understand what it was they were sharing with me each week.

Bit by bit, through trainings and books and podcasts and perpetual curiosity, I discovered the vast ocean that is yoga philosophy, Buddhist meditation practice, and mind-body integration research… and have been gulping, swimming, practicing, integrating as much as I can of it ever since. 

There’s so much here. And I’ve always been a curious agnostic, an explorer, a rebel, an artist.

So I wasn’t someone to dive into one small stream of that vastness and assume it was “right” and all other ways were “wrong.”

I wanted complexity. I wanted breadth. I wanted to compare and contrast and find my own path, with the help of wise teachers who knew more and could guide me.

And there did come a day — sitting in a coffeeshop and writing in my journal — where I realized, with very little fanfare, that I hadn’t felt like looking for the solution to my life for a while. Not because things were perfect; there were that day and are still plenty of things I’m working for and trying to change in my life and in the world. But I’d let go, so thoroughly, of feeling like I wasn’t a worthy person until I achieved X or Y thing. It was like taking off a heavy coat in summer and realizing — I didn’t need that — it was just weighing me down. 

I feel compelled to say — if you have read this far and you’re curious about practicing together — that if you secretly want someone to tell you exactly what to do, and claim it is the ONE TRUE WAY — if nuance and gray areas and uncertainties stress you out — I am probably not going to be the ideal teacher for you.

I can certainly guide you into a practice that lets you relax and sink into the experience. I can offer lots of tools and ideas and things to experiment with.

But will I tell you I have all the answers? Will I tell you there’s only one right way to do something? 

I won’t. I can’t. My heart just doesn’t work that way.

I integrate things. I make metaphors. I test out everything. I like to learn from my mistakes, take in new information, try every day to grow and to be willing to change.

I have to be honest. I have let go of nearly all vestiges of perfectionism, and spend more of each day feeling aware of the present, connected to breath and to purpose… but life is still life. It has ups and downs. Things aren’t necessarily any easier this way, but my life feels way more satisfying.

I feel more grounded in my body and mind, more accepting of what I used to think of as “imperfections”, more open to trying new things, stronger and more resilient, and so much more open to both joy and sadness.

I feel more alive.

I might be for you if:

You believe change is possible, but know — like a seed becoming a tree — real, sustainable growth takes time.

You’re open to the idea that how you feel in your body can affect how you feel in your emotions and thoughts.

You want to get over perfectionism and feel more present for the joy, creativity, and aliveness.

Even if it also comes with sadness, grief, and mistakes.

I might really be for you if:

You secretly wonder if your body could feel better than it has in years. 

You secretly wonder what magic you might be capable of if you could manage to get out of your own way.

You secretly hope that making a shift for yourself could also help you connect to your purpose, show up for your community, and maybe help foster more justice for the world.