Stretch Therapist and Owner of Stretchtogo
Owner of Island Yoga
ERYT, Aerial, Vinyasa, and Restorative Yoga teacher
Certified fitness instructor for Barre, Spin, Kickboxing, Core, Weight Training, Boot camp, HIIT, and Flexibility coach
You never know how capable you are until you practice. Dare to discover your hidden talents.
My first experience with Yoga was at 18 with a Rodney Yee Yoga DVD and I was actually thinking “I’m going to workout” I really liked Yoga at that time because of my genetic ability of being flexible. It is a stigma that everyone has to be flexible to practice Yoga. I actually learned later; I was too flexible (It’s called hyper flexibility) I had to learn to strengthen my hips and shoulders and not allow myself to be so flexible. Yoga is about stretching, breathing, alignment, strength, balance, and most importantly enlightenment.
Of course, I had no idea of the power of Yoga when I started, I just wanted to tone my body. I really loved my first instructor at my local gym, she was 53 years old and taught all different kinds of classes. I remember being so motivated by her. I was thinking I am only 21 and I can hardly keep up with this lady. That was my first inspiration to become a fitness instructor.
Yoga embraces so many important facets of our spirit, mind and body.
I started to learn how to properly practice. My former instructor was honestly so talented but she wasn’t an (RYT) – Registered Yoga Technician. I began learning proper alignment and realized I had been practicing with improper form for years. It makes such a big difference to find correct symmetry, but it took a long time and a lot of correcting to stop my bad form.
It takes time, discipline and effort to get good at anything, just holding a pose correctly is hard and so satisfying. Funny how everything in life boils down to “practice”, such as: our body skills, work and even relationships. They all take practice to reach our fullest potential.
I love Yoga because it continues to give me more understanding of myself. It teaches me how to calm myself through breathing, how to clear my mind and how to go into a meditative state. I learned how to flow with my breath and feel my body move in a way that is like dancing and mediating at the same time. I began feeling stronger and I also learn how to diminish my aches and pains. I was feeling and looking fabulous, so what’s not to love?
The Next Chapter of my Yoga Learning
I got hit by a FedEx van riding my bike on the sidewalk. I suffered from a meniscus tear and two herniated discs in my C4, C5 cervical spine. I couldn’t go to any classes or even climb up onto my bed. I was miserable for six months. When I started physical therapy, ironically my physical therapist was a Yoga instructor. She told me I should get back into class, that it would help me recover faster. I told her “I can’t even turn my neck, how could I do a Yoga class?”. She said “you don’t have to do everything” I started with “Slow Flow” and restorative classes. Sometimes, I would just lay there and wait until I could participate. But, slowly, very slowly, I got better! Around the same time I started my certification program for (200 RYT) Vinyasa/Ashtanga training
I began learning more about Yoga than I ever knew existed. Hindu philosophy is the base of Yoga. In a nutshell, you learn how your thoughts, mind, spirit, body and even taste buds need to be controlled through understanding of oneself. Reaching the highest form of enlightenment is the life lesson we seek. We also learned how to assist each other and deepen stretches. Stretching became a niche of mine as the years went on. I started helping my students reach flexibility goals, and alleviating pains from injuries or tightness. Eventually I created Stretchtogo, which is a mobile stretch service here in the South Florida area.
After teaching Yoga for a year, I became a class coordinator at one of the most beautiful fitness facilities I’ve ever been to in downtown Cleveland. I taught Vinyasa, restorative, hot and slow flow Yoga, barre, spin, weight training, HIIT, and air Yoga with a silk hammock. I was teaching 13 classes a week, hiring instructors, sales, became a corporate wellness director, set up events, worked with athletes, and Khloe Kardashian even came to several classes! I was doing more than I ever would have imagined possible. I would see those sweaty faces, relieved bodies, students telling me how much better they feel and how they’re getting stronger. I have discovered so much joy through teaching and my most precious passion, which is helping others.
We know how important it is to get negative energy out of our bodies, so any exercise that you enjoy practicing, is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Getting stronger and looking better is just a bonus! When I was in teacher training, I had a picture of a girl doing a scorpion pose in the front of my binder. I remember thinking, “I could never do that”, it just seemed impossible for me to balance myself on my forearms and bringing my feet close to the back of my head in a backbend. My girlfriend and I would both stare and talk about how we just wished we were that good! Eventually I became very good at doing the scorpion pose and in fact, I became better than I ever dreamed. Although, I will always be a student, as there is still so much more to learn.
I love the moment when you do something you didn’t think you could do or didn’t know you were capable of. You feel so amazed with yourself and it’s a beautiful feeling. I remember thinking, “wow! this is me?” The sense of accomplishment is so fulfilling when you realize what you’re capable of, is so much more than you ever thought possible and the practice starts to finally pay off. I truly believe this is where the connection to your Higher Self starts.
I hope to leave you with the encouragement of believing in yourself, make vitality your priority and seek enlightenment and understanding. I highly recommend trying Yoga to elevate your body, mind and spirit.