After what looked like a successful foot in the modelling and acting world, I obtained a degree in Theatre Performance. I also studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and pursued work in the theatre. But my great passion to become an actress turned into estrangement and with an eating disorder. At 25 years old, I made a life-altering decision and moved to South Korea to work as an English teacher. Just like that.
At the time, I had no academic background in teaching. I also had no knowledge of yoga. In Korea, however, the healing of my life truly began.
When I returned to Canada, I embarked on certified training programs at the Sivananda ashrams. I still consider Sivananda my first teacher and made my way to India to learn more. For me, learning and teaching are intrinsically linked. As an adult student, I returned to university; obtaining a Masters of Education while also working as a teacher in the Toronto school private sector. My thesis dissertation was on Yoga for children in India. During my research, I sat on the floor, ate with my hands and worked closely with many Indian families. As a guest speaker, I have lectured at York University, the University of Toronto and McGill, as well as at the International Association of Yoga Therapists Conference (IYAT) in Los Angeles.
By far, the most pivotal shift along my path was studying directly under Pattabhi Jois in Mysore in 2000. Practice was at 4:30 a.m. I was one of only a few other students in the shala. It was my 2nd trip to India and I stayed for 3 months.
I quickly accelerated in my practice but faced a severe injury. Tending to my knee, I used to go to the finishing room (a room only meant for the closing series) to practice back bending. Ironically, it was my injury that led to formal training exclusively of back bending combined with breath control and the yogis scriptures. An injury I was able to heal without any medical assistance.
True to life, however, the path is not straight and things are impermanent. I eventually left my former teacher and including Ashtanga Yoga. Fast forward a few years later and after a miscarriage at 10 weeks in 2011 and giving birth in 2013, my practice again changed. I began studying under Yogacharya Vinay Kumar; the founder and teacher of Prana Vashya.
Looking back, the teacher I had and the practice were no longer sustainable. I had to step back to move forward and sought out formal studies of meditation. After a chance meeting with Swami Veda Bharati in 2009, I underwent silent retreats at the Sadhaka Grama Dyhana ashram in Rishikesh and received initiation with a personal mantra. My self-seeking also lead me to teachers such as Dipa in Kolkata (the daughter of the late Dipa Ma) and to meeting Shri BNS Iyengar in Mysore. I had heard about Guruji when I first began studying in Mysore. He was understood as being a true, great philosopher and it was said, “If you want to meet God,” then go to Guruji. I have since received the direct teachings of pranayama and philosophy under his guiding light.
Becoming a mother is the greatest change to my practice and life. What was once a competitive and intense personal practice grew into a more measured and balanced one. With the heart of real yoga being both kindness and patience, it is my boy who teaches me this daily.
Words cannot convey what it means to me to be a mother other than it is full of joy, challenges and perennial lessons.