Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you became a yoga teacher/instructor.
What is your background in yoga?
All great questions. Well I was a server at an Italian restaurant in Charleston, SC for a few years. This was back in 2007/2008. I felt disconnected from life because I wasn’t living from my source of purpose and passion. I wasn’t acting or dancing anymore and my body felt tight, contracted, and my overall well-being was not happy. A friend I worked with inspired me to start yoga at Jivamukti Yoga Charleston (now Sat-sang Yoga) and so I went, fell in-love with the teachings, the music, and the practice. My mentor at the time, Jeffrey Rama Cohen, encouraged me to sign-up for teacher training, and because I held a lot of weight into him believing in me, I went. I made it happen receiving a 300hr certification and achieving 750hr apprenticeship. From there I taught at Jivamukti/Sat-sang Charleston, SC for a year and a half then moving on to teach at various other studios in-town and nationally. Eventually creating Chakra Love Vinyasa Flo ™. I am launching teacher trainings this year, so hopefully it will continue to blossom. I have practiced many different styles/methods overtime to help bring a well-rounded style to everyone. There are countless teachers and musicians that have blessed the path along the way, however, there have been two particular people who shall remain nameless, that have been there through hard times in my life. I’ve written a musical theater show outline for Broadway based on the album “The Radiance Sutras” by Lorin Roche. Another dream would be to have Sting direct it and to be able to dance in the chorus. I sent in the idea to the appropriate people, so hopefully this can happen someday. It would be a wonderful way to introduce bhava vinyasa dance (yoga and musical theater dance. apart of chakra love vinyasa flo) and sanskrit to a larger audience with a rock n’roll Beatles/Jesus Christ Superstar/Rent like feel. Of course with an All Star Cast!. It’s healthy to dream big within an area of study for a longtime and to take action on it.
What are your likes and dislikes?
My favorite food is vegan nachos. My favorite yoga asana is lotus in handstand. My least favorite asana is turtle…something about creating the shell with my back and hunching over that is quite uncomfortable. My favorite style of dance is Jazz Lyrical and my favorite Chakra Love Elixir is for the element earth. My favorite movies are Becoming Jane, You’ve Got Mail, and Sex and the City. My least favorite movie is anything with extreme violence. My favorite place to travel is Italy and would love to visit Bali sometime soon. My favorite American place to visit is wine country in California. I hope to visit Boulder, Aspen, and Vail Colorado soon as I am an avid skier. I love to scuba dive as I am padi certified and dream of the day when I can paddle board somewhere exotic, remote, and romantic with a husband. Yes, I am single and eventually would love to meet my male soulmate! My favorite band is The Beatles and my favorite singer is Jewel. I grew up listening to jewel and reading her poetry books. I dislike ping pong…i’m just really bad at it so I don’t like it…um… I love to inspire people to be the best version of themselves steeped in authenticity in their truest form.
What kind of yoga do you teach?
Chakra Love Vinyasa Flo ™
What is Chakra Love Vinyasa Flo?
Chakra Love Vinyasa Flo ™ is a style of yoga fitness fusion blending 75 minutes of yoga, 5 minutes of pilates and 10 minutes of choreographed sacred dance movements. The movement sequencing is easy to learn with practice. The retreat is a way to explore this up-and-coming style.
What is the main purpose of this yoga style?
It is to assist students in living from a more loving place filled with peace, truth, and compassion. One stop shop moving meditation classes in a vinyasa flow curriculum where life-force, prana, propels each movement. The classes are primarily yoga classes with an emphasis on all aspects of each individual chakra or energy center: mudra, pranayama breathing techniques, singing sanskrit the language of love and light, asanas, music, philosophy, elements, symbols, deities, and so much more. It’s not so much about worship or gaining followers as it is about everyone finding their own music, their own authenticity from within in the experience of letting go. The sacred dance movement allows us to go deeper into this exploration.
The Sacred Dance Movement portion of the class is a way to promote more dynamic integration, refinement, and studies into the bhavas or feeling states of each chakra healing class and help expose more practitioners to the benefits of creatively expressing themselves in choreographed movement sequencing that is for beginning all the way up to advanced yogis and dancers alike. Expressing our creativity through dynamic movement like dance, allows us to feel emotions intensly and learn to let negative, draining emotions go quickly. We feel satisfied when we are able to express ourselves creatively. When we don’t feed this natural urge in embodiment, we start to steal things from others and act out in harmful ways to others…We feel something is missing…and it’s true, something is missing. What is missing is the priviledge and allowance to be apart of the divine music, the divine rhythm from within our own authentic soul and to see that creatively expressed, grounded and realized in a safe environment. Yoga and dance is for everyone to access who can honor and respect it’s teachings and sometimes going into a dance class can be intimidating and not as therapuetic. This is the niche Sacred Dance Movement would like to fill.
How is a class?
Chakra Love Vinyasa Flo ™ classes and the sacred dance movement within’ them are inspired by Natya Shastra. Each class invokes an element, a mood, a deep feeling, using our body, mind, and spirit. It allows us to fully embody all of our dimensional creativity through yoga, dance, music, and subtle emotional feeling experience. Chakra Love Vinyasa Flo ™ is somatically healing as well as challenging us to explore new uncharted territories of ourselves steeping in Svadyaya, self study.
So you mix yoga and pilates, isn’t it creative as a mix?
Yes, it is! But Yoga and pilates are therapeutic grounding integral maintenance practices to build a steady, joyful body and mind by regulating the alchemy within while toning the muscles at the same time. Stylized dance choreography that is easy to pick up with steady consistent practice over time celebrates the spirit of feeling our surroundings through dynamic movement to music.
How can the dance help during the class?
The empty timeless meditation state brought to the sacred dance movement turns it into a sacred practice as to do so challenges the student to let go of pending inhibitions, similar to the practice of yoga. This is primarily a yoga class. Yoking heaven and earth, all sadhana healing modalities create a recipe to let go, to find authenticity, and release walls that close our hearts. With peace, truth, and compassion as the modivation to cultivate a more harmonious planet we all share.
What was your inspiration for creating Chakra Love Vinyasa flo ™
I took my inspiration from ‘The Natya Shastra'(Sanskrit: ????? ???????, N??ya??stra) that is an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music. It was written during the period between 200 BCE and 200 CE in classical India and is traditionally attributed to the Sage Bharata. It has been a culmination of 25 years of experience in dance, musical theater, yoga, nutrition and lifestyle design. This style was created from many times falling down, failing, and having the courage to face deep rooted fears in many areas of my life. Creating a style of yoga can be quite challenging depending on where someone is on their life path. It felt timely and natural for me to create it as it came after many “coming to jesus moments” with my karma and influential people in my life. I am happy through my hardship that this beautiful style can finally be taught to larger audiences.
What did you found in ‘Natya Shastra’?
The Natya Shastra is incredibly wide in its scope. While it primarily deals with stagecraft, it has come to influence music, classical Indian dance, and literature as well. It covers stage design, music, dance, makeup, and virtually every other aspect of stagecraft. It is very important to the history of Indian classical music because it is the only text which gives such detail about the music and instruments of the period. Thus, an argument can be made that the Natya Shastra is the foundation of the fine arts in India. The most authoritative commentary on the Natya Shastra is Abhinavabharati by Abhinavagupta. I first started exploring the chakras while I was working at a coffee shop in huntington beach, California. And I was like, “ya know what. They really need to offer healthier options on to their menu.” So I approached the owner about creating a juice menu and he loved the idea! With that, I began to study more about the chakras, ayurveda, superfoods, and healing elixirs. This is how I came up with Chakra Love Elixirs: Tonics for your heart and soul. A year later, while exploring the Natya Shastra, and after a fight with my father, unfortunetly, I felt the deep desire to create a style of yoga, just like how I did with the elixirs, by formulating an alchemical recipe that would assist practitioners into learning more about yoga, dance, and other healing modalities such as pilates. This was back in 2013/2014.
Is your style good for beginners students?
All classes are more for beginning/intermediate students or higher. Not intended for new students to yoga, however all are welcome to join us on retreat.
Is it good for both women and men?
Yes, it is ideal for men and women. If students do not have a background in dance or music it may feel a bit scary or ackward to move in a different way. It can be so liberating just to move the hips. Please know that it is okay to have these feelings and that I fully recognize that. Within the class I work to help you move past those fears. Because it is a retreat, and chakra love vinyasa flo ™, does require continual practice, students most likely will not become Broadway stars overnight, however, perhaps this will give a taste of dance and the arts in general which could lead to potentially taking more yoga and dance classes in the future. It is my dream to someday open a Chakra Bhava Wellness Shala in America being the home to chakra love vinyasa flo as well as paying ohmage to traditional styles/methods of yoga. Here is the link for any donations www.gofundme.com/chakrabhava. I am also seeking investors.
And lastly, what is a favorite quote you would like to share with us?
“Doubt thou the stars are fire;
doubt that the sun doth move;
doubt truth to be a liar;
but never doubt I love.”