“The fabric of the modalities weave together a beautiful tapestry of living life more fully aware of each moment, and walking with greater confidence and ease.”
Q: How do you find balance in your daily life?
A: Nature is what brings balance to my life with the greatest ease…walking in the woods or down a quiet snow covered road, sitting near a lake or watching the night sky. If I am feeling stressed out or imbalanced in my life, I know that being outside in nature, if only for a few minutes, will have a calming, healing effect on me.
Also, starting the day with little rituals, like my morning cup of tea and my pranayama practice. Just the process of picking up the blankets and folding them, surrounding myself with little bolsters and setting my timer, it all sets the tone for a more balanced day ahead, regardless of what that day may bring.
Q: What motivates you? Your mission?
A: I am motivated mostly by experiencing something inspiring, creative, or joyful and wanting to share it. If it somehow changes something in me that makes me feel more alive, then I want to shout it from the mountains. I love to travel and explore different cultures, meet new people, see their art, hear their stories and listen to their music. I have a passion for yoga and the vastness that it encompasses, and I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share it with my students and walk this path in a way that embraces many of the teachings. My mission is to live my life as authentically as I can, share the things that have been an inspiration to me, and to collaborate and co-create in unlimited possibilities with the people in my life who embody the qualities of joyfulness, vitality, and integrity.
Q: Which modality are you more drawn to in the UZIT model?
A: This seems to change at various times, but I am most drawn to the restorative poses and oils at this point in my life. I have always been a busy person who stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. I had a strong asana practice for many years, and only occasionally would do a restorative practice. Now I am going to bed earlier, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and spending more time in supported poses. I find this to be an amazingly simple part of feeling healthier. Rest and restoration are integral to feeling good, and taking the time to set myself up in a supported Supta Baddha Konasana or put my calves on a chair with some weights on my shins has been the greatest balm for the ‘busy-ness’ in my life!
I carry several oils with me at all times and I find myself dipping into them throughout the day to feel more enlivened if I’m tired, to feel more grounded and calm if I’m unsettled, or to sometimes just revel in the scent because I happen to love it. The oils are a bonus gift for me from UZ because I had not used them before my training, and they feel like a secret little ‘peace weapon’ that I can pull out at any time and change my, or someone else’s demeanor in seconds.
Q: What is your meditation practice?
A: Using a timer (I use the Insight Timer app with a singing bowl chime) has really helped me stay committed to my meditation practice. I have several “preset” times which currently range from 5 minutes to 45 minutes. I usually do my meditation in the morning after my pranayama practice, since it is quiet and I am already in a receptive state of mind after watching my breath. I set myself up in a supported comfortable sitting position with 2 small bolsters under my thighs and a long thin bolster to rest my arms upon and I usually sit for 15-20 minutes. The meditation itself varies, sometimes watching my breath, sometimes watching my thoughts as they slide in and out of my consciousness, sometimes focusing on a mantra, sometimes getting sleepy and noticing that! Once in a while, 20 minutes will go by and my mind has stayed relatively quiet…that feels lovely. The important thing is to make the space in your life and the time to just sit.
Q: How has your UZIT training changed your life?
A: The contemplative care piece of the Urban Zen training was the biggest eye opener for me. How well do I listen to others? How much of an agenda do I have when I’m in the presence of others? Can I sit back and really be present? All my life I have been told I am a “good listener”, but after the Urban Zen training I now feel that I have the skills available to me to truly be a good listener, and to arrive at any given situation with a receptive heart, an open mind, and at my best, no agenda. It’s still a practice, and always will be, but this beautiful teaching of ‘bearing witness’ is a game changer in life.
Q: How do you UZIT?
A: I UZIT by teaching the nurses at Kent State University all of the modalities to help them with the three most prominent symptoms they incur as busy students working toward their life dream to be of service to others: anxiety, exhaustion, and insomnia. I introduce them to the oils and restorative poses, simple movements they can do to alleviate back pain or stay awake and alert while working long hours, and being able to walk into a room with a strong broad back body and a receptive soft front body. By the end of the semester they come up and tell me many of the little gems they have taken away to help them with anxiety during tests or how they can sleep better at night with a little lavender on the soles of their feet.
I also UZIT by teaching public UZ classes to help people learn to slow down and feel more restored and nurtured in these fast and furious times in which we live. They can go home and do many of the gentle yoga movements they learned in class, and put their legs up the wall after a long day at work, for example.
I recently quit my full-time job and plan to get more involved in bringing Urban Zen to the Akron/Canton and Cleveland area where we have a growing pod of UZITs starting to spread the vision of UZ in northeast Ohio!
Q: How do you live the UZIT modalities in your day- to day life?
A: The fabric of the modalities weave together a beautiful tapestry of living life more fully aware of each moment, and walking with greater confidence and ease. When I begin my day with an oil, like Valor or Frankincense, and lie in supported bound angle pose with self Reiki, then head out into the world to teach a class, have dinner with a friend, or sit down to do my taxes, I am doing these things from a place of feeling more grounded and at ease with whomever and whatever comes my way. It’s not like one thing sticks out more than another, they all blend together to help create a more rich and fulfilling way to live each day. If I never taught another UZ class, client, or teacher training, I would still be forever grateful for what I have gained in my personal practice and my life from these beautifully integrated modalities.