B.A. / B.S Williams College '05
MD Mount Sinai School of Medicine '09
M.A.,.E.d elementary Hunter College '15
RYT 200 Adult Yoga Vinyasa Teacher Certification - Pure Yoga
KAY yoga teacher certifications for children, children with special needs, and mommy/me, infants, and toddlers
I live in Williamstown, Massachusetts in the beautiful Berkshires with my two young children, husband, and two puggles. I graduated Williams College with majors in psychology and art history. I finished medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC and began a residency in psychiatry with an interest and electives based on child psychiatry. After realizing the medicine path was not for me and finalizing my licensing, I completed a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and pursued a yoga certification. During my time in NYC, I taught yoga to students in Spanish Harlem while also student teaching in local public and private elementary schools. Throughout medical school and my masters program, I did extensive research on the benefits and impacts of yoga and meditative practices in public schools, citing significant results in focus, self-confidence, and happiness in the children that took yoga and mindfulness practices.
Since moving up to Williamstown nearly 3 years ago, I have continued to pursue this interest and passion. I've been helping students of all ages learn and appreciate the practice of yoga and mindfulness and teaching them how to incorporate these tools into their lives from a young age. As a competitive athlete and varsity tennis player at Williams, I found yoga to be incredibly grounding and helpful as an athlete as well as a student. I have been practicing yoga since I was ten and through the natural ebbs and flows of life, my practice has remained constant. The asanas (postures) and pranyama (breathing) I have been able to practice has definitely changed during times, but the wholeness and calmness I feel when I practice yoga and mindfulness does not change. I have taught over the past year at preschools, elementary schools, and many classes featuring children's yoga and adult's yoga at my studio, Smalltown Yoga that I opened last year. Whenever I practice yoga, I feel an instant energy and empowerment that I want to share with fellow yogis. When I end my practice I feel a wholeness and calmness that enables me to be more capable and focused in the real world. The benefits of yoga with children and adults are tremendous, but starting at a young age enables children during their pivotal years of development to acquire a sense of self-empowerment and confidence in addition to concentration, focus, and general kindness, that will help them to grow into empathic, strong, caring adults.
I have been a passionate yogi for 25 years, since I was 9 years old. I was a competitive nationally ranked tennis played and had difficulties with focus and stress management. When I first learned my salutations, I was doubtful how this was really “for me.” I stuck with it and by college, medical school, through my three pregnancies, and masters program, yoga in any shape or form from gentle/restorative, to powerful vinyasa, inversion and arm balance workshops, and most importantly ending each class with an introspective meditation away from the stressors and the reality of the external world. I have been through a lot in my life, but yoga has empowered me, given me self confidence, and is the main tool in my soothing “kit” to destress and gain perspective of the world and real issues. Children today run around constantly busy, going from school to extracurricular activities where they may play soccer, do two minutes of light stretching and then go home to sit and do homework for hours. Their stiff bodies crave wiggling, movement, flexibility. My passion for teaching children’s yoga is to enable them to challenge themselves and make themselves proud in a non-competitive forum while recognizing that every day is not the same. Among many goals, I encourage students to learn self-compassion and to incorporate mindfulness, bodily, and self-awareness into their daily routines. Through teaching young students and adults, my hope is that as a community we can become more mindful of ourselves and attuned to others around us. If I can get a four year old to lay down through a guided meditation through a "magical garden" (as I call it at times) with eyes closed for even a couple of minutes than I feel like I have done something.
My classes build on the community that we create beginning day one. We do partner poses and work together to help, not compete. Yoga is a life long tool, which brings me to my dedication to teaching yoga to adults. As an adult I was faced with many physical obstacles that left me in four years of physical therapy. I struggled. Once an avid athlete and in prime shape, pregnancies, bedrest, and surgeries had left me with an unrecognizable body and being the perfectionist that I was (and still am at times) I was highly self-judgmental. Yoga helped me build up my confidence. Yoga initially was a form of yoga (physical) therapy for me and given my background as a licensed physician I was able to comprehend the different muscles that were weak and needed strengthening. Yet at the end of every session, the meditation and mindfulness enabled me to be in the present, the here and now; this is what I am, this is what I did, and I’m proud of where I am now and what my body is capable of in the moment.
I want to bring yoga to children and adults and have them experience what it has done for me. How it can be a crutch in grief and loss, injuries, and struggles. Get on your mat and put on your yogi glasses to separate from the world. Every child or adult deserves a time to dedicate to their body and yoga (meaning union) helps us all to unite our mind and body into one, to think and flow as one and to relax as one. My mission with my yoga studio, Smalltown Yoga and with Yogaforourlives, is to introduce to adults and children a new kind of "time out."