For me, Yoga encompasses a holistic health practice, both self-healing and community-healing, starting with the physical level and naturally progressing through the mental, emotional, and spiritual layers. The physical practice of Asana (postures) lends a natural starting place to begin developing awareness in our bodies and bring more subtle aspects of our physicality into focus. We notice our postures and patterns; we feel our discomfort and relief; we learn to isolate specific muscles to contract and release; we experience new avenues of coordination as we recognize how we initiate and complete ranges of motion for strength, balance, and mobility. As we engage with the physical practice, we move mindfully, honing skills in observation, focused attention, intention, discernment, and freedom from attachment or judgement. As we train our breath especially, we begin to embody our emotions, whether recent or long-held, which begin to bubble forth, express, cycle, and transform in the directed movement of our prana or chi. This lays the foundation to begin practice in Pranayama and Meditation, and encourages us to study the Yamas and Niyamas and explore further yogic texts and teachings. While we may not access the full depth of the spiritual layers at first, each time we return to our practice we plant and tend to small seeds, that over time take root and eventually bear beautiful fruits that we may never have expected had laid latent within.
I began my journey with yoga in high school and college, taking classes here and there, always drawn to the focused nature and skilled athleticism involved in Vinyasa, hearkening back to the meditative flow states I remember from a childhood immersed in competitive gymnastics. In 2010 I committed to intensive Vinyasa practice with Dagmar Spremberg, and completed my 200-hr RYT Yoga Teacher Certification in Vinyasa with Angela Boltz & Edgar Ortiz at Montezuma Yoga in Montezuma, Costa Rica. After another couple years of personal practice and informal teaching in my travels, I opened Impulso Sano Yoga & Wellness Center in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica in early 2012, where I taught Vinyasa Yoga, Reiki, and Fire Dance, and practiced Therapeutic Bodywork for three years. In 2013, I completed the PSUPA Stand Up Paddle Yoga Certification with Leigh Claxton in Sausalito, California, and have enjoyed informal practice out on the water in Playas del Coco and Playa Danta, Costa Rica. After closing the Impulso Sano studio toward the end of 2014, and taking time to reset and regroup in my hometown Palo Alto, California, keeping up practice with senior teachers at Avalon Yoga, I visited Mysore, India in 2016 for one month of intensive Ashtanga Yoga practice with R. Saraswathi Jois at the Kpjay Ashtanga Yoga Shala, and one month training in Past Life Healing Therapy and Transpersonal Inquiry with B. Naga Kumar at the Mumuksha Centre For Transformation. I enjoyed working as the in-house yoga instructor for retreat guests and staff during the 2016 summer season at the Boghill Centre in Clare, Ireland, but eventually felt the call back to my beloved Playas del Coco, Costa Rica. By mid 2018 I returned to Playas del Coco to launch Coco Yoga and Wellness, and my current Yoga practice includes continued study in bridging Yoga with Acupressure, having begun training with Rose Erin Vaughn in Escazu, Costa Rica toward the end of last year.
Qigong, Kung Fu, & Tai CHi
My first introduction to Qigong practice came through the McKinnon Bodywork Asian Systems courses with Jason Fry guiding Qigong exercises to begin each Acupressure class. Given how well the self-practice pairs with offering healing sessions to others, I have continued informal study with Jason whenever I visit the San Francisco Bay Area. Interested to learn more, I pursued further Qigong study with Gilles Marin at the Chi Nei Tsang Institute in Berkeley, California in 2014, and with George Love at Shaolin Life in Oakland, California in February, 2018. In 2015 I began training Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi with Grand Master Xu DeZheng at Pure Shaolin in Belmont, California to prepare to fulfill a long-held dream to train Shaolin Kung Fu in China, and in 2016 I spent four months training Qigong and Tai Chi with Master Guo, and training Shaolin Kung Fu with Master Shi Yan Po at Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy in Shandong, China. While I did get experience there with Sanda (Kung Fu kickboxing) and sparring, the marital applications do not appeal to me. These practices develop embodied wisdom and the capacity to extend and express one's chi, which is truly beautiful and magical, and vital in supporting health and resilience.