What led you to your career as a yoga instructor?
I was going through a divorce and working as a realtor to make ends meet for me and my three children. Although I was having success in real estate, I knew without a doubt that it was not a passionate profession for me. I also knew without a doubt that someday and truly someday very soon, there would be a need for me to be completely independent and be supporting myself and my children strictly on my own income.
I began to work with a life coach with the sole intention of finding purposeful employment that would provide enough for my family. Even to this day I have never sat in the same room as my life coach or seen him face to face, but I credit him for prodding, questioning and inspiring me to dig deep within and find what I love. Through a series of exercises, questionnaires and multiple sessions it became very obvious that I loved and have always loved anything having to do with health and fitness and moving the body.
I have been a runner since the age of 14 and my very first job was teaching aerobics at 24 Hour Fitness at the age of 17.
I first dived into personal training and loved it. I became interested in the mind/body connection and took on my first Pilates certification a couple of years after that.
Pilates resonated with me in its entirety and I loved the core strength and connection from the classic order and design of the philosophy behind the movement. At this point I was working a full load and building a nice clientele base.
In truth I actually was working a lot and I started feeling my own body breaking down. It’s interesting when you preach all day long about rest, taking care of your body, balance, & overall health you somehow forget to take your own advice for yourself. I had been on such a frantic path to succeed and provide that I was overworking and definitely over stressing.
I had a friend rave about a new yoga studio that he had enjoyed and invited me to come to a practice with him. I had practiced yoga before at several different studios but it never seemed to stick. I thought of it as a workout and nothing more. That soon changed after I attended my first practice at a studio that was much more.
After that first session I was hooked.
I immediately signed up for my first 200 hour certification and I practiced on a regular basis. I loved everything about it. I loved the spiritual. I loved the letting go and surrendering philosophies. I loved the feeling at the end of practice in savasana when the mind is quiet and the body is spent.
I love YOGA!
Thankfully every time I practice I feel that exact same way. Yoga has changed my life and probably saved my life. It has taught me to be still, to listen to myself, to give in and let the universe do its thing. It has brought me closer to my creator who I know without a doubt loves and cares about me more than I will ever fully know or understand. Yoga has saved me!
What does a typical day look like for you?
My typical day might not sound so BALANCED!! Because of my profession, being available and accessible is key to your success. But it can make for a long day. I start with my first client at 6am so I have an early wake-up call at 5am. My typical day goes straight from 6am until 6pm, with a couple of hours break in between clients to grab some lunch and take my own yoga practice, go for a run or swim at the local rec.
I still have my daughter who is a senior in high school home and an amazing husband (we just celebrated our one year anniversary this summer) and three crazy dogs waiting for me get off work.
Most nights it is a collaboration in the kitchen. We all like to cook and it has been my kids’ and my thing to use the kitchen as our bonding time. Dinner is when we all catch up, share our day and re-connect without the T.V. or any other electronic device turned on or within distance.
I mentioned the crazy dogs and a walk on most nights is in the schedule.
I try very hard to start slowing things down around 9pm.
Knowing that it all starts again the next day.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love everything that has to do with being outdoors. I love everything that is active. We kayak around White Rock Lake, play tennis, hang out by the pool, go to movies, ride our bikes, sip drinks on a patio and enjoy the days of nice weather in Dallas.
I mentioned we love to cook. We hit the gourmet markets and find things different or intriguing to try. I receive a Local Box delivery of all local, organic, pesticide free produce that has been incredibly fun and inspiring to try new things and learn how to cook with them. Fresh, whole, nutritious food is very important to me and my family.
As you know, The Balanced Life is all about empowering women to approach health & fitness with a balanced mindset. How do you handle the pressure as a woman to look or act a certain way?
I think it is challenging wherever you are in your life to not get caught up in what society is telling you. How you should look, be, act, feel, eat, not eat, etc…
There is a philosophy in yoga called Brahmacharya. It means moderation. Knowing when enough is enough.
This has to do with all things: food, exercise, materialism, ego, wealth, even our yoga practice. It means turning off all of the noise from outside and being still with yourself. Being o.k. with exactly how you are now in this moment.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t want things to be different, or lose a few pounds, or have a few more $$$. But it means that we value ourselves and our relationship with our Creator over what externally we are being told. It means that we surround ourselves with acceptance and love and try our best every day to set up that balanced healthy way of life.
What does balance mean to you during your current season of life?
My oldest son just turned 22 years old and I still can’t understand how this happened when I am still 29 years old!!!!! I am actually 45 and I live in a very plastic, injectable, Botox community. I also have a few not so great role models in my life that has left an extreme impression upon me for the need to age gracefully.
I think GRACE is balance.
Grace is acceptance, forgiveness and self-love.
I am hoping as I continue to age that I will embrace my wrinkles, which I already have, and giggle at my roles which I’m sure will come someday, and see in the mirror a beautiful smile that hopefully can still light up a room.
I hope to stay fit, healthy and continue to practice yoga until the day I die. But I know that a day will come when my yoga practice will change, when a handstand will not feel so good, when an arm balance will be out of reach, when going into the splits might mean not coming out. Until then I will continue to move, stretch, strengthen, and breathe as full and deep as I possibly can.
Who/what inspires you to keep living well?
I have a saying that has become a motto for me throughout the years… “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.”
I wholeheartedly believe this. There have been times in my life where I have not felt so healthy and I know without a doubt how that feels, inside and out. I also know what healthy feels like and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything. I work with many clients that have not made health and fitness a priority in their life and now at a later age they are drastically paying for it. Whether it is obesity, joint pain, lower back issues, diabetes, heart issues, high cholesterol and blood pressure, hip or knee replacements because of overuse, or mental issues as in anxiety, depression, and high stress.
If you don’t make yourself a priority, life and sickness catch up to you and it can become irreversible or at best incredibly difficult to change. I want to make sure that I can be physical and enjoy moving and being outdoors and using my body for as long as it is humanly possible.
What is your best tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a busy life?
Getting a good night sleep would probably be at the top of my list. If you are not rejuvenating each night with some good solid sleep it is almost impossible to feel good the next day. It is challenging to make wise health and fitness choices when you are tired and run down. It is also almost impossible to lose weight. Your cortisol levels will remain constantly high if you are not getting enough sleep. Your body needs rest. Your mind needs rest. It cannot function without it.
What does a balanced way of living mean to you?
Walking into a bakery and seeing a luscious treat, purchasing it and enjoying every last morsel because you know that for the most part you eat clean and tomorrow you will eat clean again.
Getting a pedi and mani every two weeks because it is an affordable pleasure and just feels darn good to be touched and massaged.
Working out as many days in a week as possible because things come up and a missed day here or there is bound to happen.
Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day.
Sitting at the dinner table with the T.V. turned off so that you can talk, share, laugh and engage.
Being aware of the energy that you bring into a room.
Smiling at a stranger.
Saying no to a possible business client or opportunity even though you could really use the money, knowing that the alliance is not in agreement with who you are and who you enjoy working with.
Eating a multiple array of fruits and vegetables from the color of the rainbow and filled with vast vitamins and minerals all fresh and local.
Working out with multiple styles and disciplines knowing that your body will only change and respond if it is stimulated and worked in various ways.
Listening to your heart.
Learning new things and trying new things.
Turning off technology. Connecting to your Creator.
Having a curious mind.
Watching a gruesome zombie movie because you know your loved one is ecstatic about it. Being O.K. with conflict because conflict is a way of life and conflict can open your mind to new things or it can confirm existing beliefs.
Not buying in to what you hear, see or read in the news.
Making a difference in someone’s day. You have two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly. Letting your opinion to be heard even though it is contrary to the group.
Putting yourself in uncomfortably situations, knowing that you are growing and learning.
Loving yourself so fully that even when you don’t like what you said, how you look or what you do you have a deep lying love for the amazing human being that defines you.