Yoga Therapist C-IAYT, E-RYT® 500, POLY, YACEP®, and FDN Health Coach & FDN Practitioner
My journey on the path of yoga began in my early 30’s. I was married and the mother of three small children. I had always been into a natural and healthy lifestyle and I seemed attracted to eastern modalities to achieve and maintain good health. I was young and fit so I began with a vinyasa flow yoga practice along with running and spinning. As I began to age and life started to get more stressful I had a harder time in the stronger yoga classes I was taking. In addition, in my early 40’s my hormones began to affect me more and I had less energy and ability to maintain the crazy pace I had been living for years.
I began to be more prone to injuries and I would seek out natural therapies, which lead me to acupuncture. I went on a retreat with my acupuncturist and a group to Sedona Arizona. In Sedona we had an American Indian guide who led us to Shaman Caves, Vortexes and a Sweat Lodge. We practice Qigong and meditation. I felt so relaxed and I felt like I started to connect to the energy of the earth. From there my search began for that nice calm feeling I had while in Sedona and how to maintain that peace throughout the stresses and pressures of life. I visited the Chopra Center in Carlsbad to study Primordial Sound Mediation, Ayurveda and Yoga.
In 2009, I decided to become a yoga teacher and began to study for my 200 RYT. I originally wanted to be really flexible and have a thin body, which I thought you get when you practice yoga. I have always struggled with my weight and I thought if I teach yoga then I’ll be practicing so much so I will be a thin flexible yogi. I had no idea that our idea of yoga in the west of being flexible and thin is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. The depth of peace and love that yoga helps us achieve is not found in the asana but in the deep contemplative place we go through mediation and pranayama. Once we learn to transcend the mind we can dip our toe in that sea of peace.
I was taking a strong vinyasa style yoga class when a yoga teacher assisted me in a pose and pushed too far and tore my hip joint. In one moment it was the deepest I had ever been in that pose, and it felt amazing, then I felt a pop. From that moment on I noticed a pain and instability in my hip that caused me to stop many of the activities I was doing. Everything changed for me. I stopped practicing yoga, stopped playing tennis, stopped running and eventually even walking became a challenge. I gained weight and to top it off I was now in perimenopause and I felt sad, hormonal and broken.
This is when the path I was on changed. It’s as if the universe was sending me a message loud and clear and it sent me under the surface to explore the rest of the iceberg. When you are injured many times you can’t practice asana, so now what? Isn’t yoga asana? How do you practice yoga if you can only do a limited amount of the poses the teacher is teaching? I would get frustrated in classes because I would either feel the pain during class or suffer after it was over with pain. There were not a lot of options of therapeutic classes out there and most classes seemed to flow through the joints in a flow type class.
I went to Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, Soft Tissue Specialists, Orthopedic Surgeons, Physical Therapists, Yoga Therapists, Dietitians, Ayurvedic doctors, Yoga teachers and had 2 MRIs.
I was diagnosed with a torn labrum in my hip so I had an arthroscopic labral tear repair surgery. Since it had been 5 years of living with this injury there was a lot of wear and tear so that first surgery didn’t work and my joint collapsed. I tried for the next 20 months to do all I could with PT and Yoga Therapy but there was nothing I could do once the joint collapsed so I ended up with a total hip replacement at age 51.
Yoga is SO much more than just asana! Mindfulness, meditation and pranayama are the pearls and way to find the reconnection to your true essence. I began researching and studying about the body and anatomy so I could figure out what I could do to heal and repair my body. This led me to Yoga Therapy and Larry Payne’s program at Loyola Marymount University (LMU).
I enrolled in a 1000-hour journey to become a certified Yoga Therapist at LMU. In this program we are trained by some of the top MDs, RNs, Chiropractors, PTs, PhDs, Doctors of Oriental Medicine and Yoga Therapists. The quality of instruction is so amazing and we are prepared with all the tools and knowledge to become wonderful Yoga Therapist. This program and all the knowledge I am acquiring helped me heal my own body and help me to empower my students to heal themselves. Even though I ended up getting a total hip replacement at two weeks post-op I taught 9 classes. I also attended a concert 18 days post-op. Yoga Therapy helped get my body ready for my surgery and to heal quickly after my replacement.
During this time I also started to research ways to balance my hormones in a natural way. I was trained in Dr Sara Gottfried’s Teach The Hormone Cure, took many cleanses, courses, webinars and began my training for a certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN). I was intrigued by the approach FDN took using functional labs to give clinical correlation to the symptomology a person was experiencing. I started the course and ran labs on myself. I followed the protocols my mentor gave me and I actually started to feel better! Changing your diet, habits and behaviors then adding supplements to fill in the gaps of nutritional deficiency worked! I became certified as a FDN-P in 2017 and have helped many people find their own thriving health.
I am on my path to become what I was put here to do. In yoga we call it your Dharma. I see how all the lessons, classes, family, people, vacations, hurdles, challenges, injuries, committees, organizations, groups, friends and experiences I have had up until now has prepared, taught and guided me to be where I am at this moment.
I have found a way to practice and teach yoga that is doable for everybody and especially for the aging or injured body. Everyone can realize the fruits of this practice and you don’t have to be young, healthy or flexible to practice.
If you see yourself in any of the situations I have gone through or feel lost, old, sad, or stuck then join me in helping you find your inner happy again.
Yoga Therapy Training- 1000 Hour IAYT Certification
- Loyola Marymount University 2015-2019
- Samata International YTRx 800-C (Yoga Therapy)
- Yoga for Osteoporosis – Dr Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall
- Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500
- Kidney Shakti
- Sheaths of the Body: Moving Through the Layers of the Body
- The Sacrum, Hip Joints and Sciatic Region
- Restorative Yoga
- Detox Flow
Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman
- The Complete One Day Yoga Retreat
- Upper Back
- Low Back, Sacrum and Hips
- Yoga, Mindfulness and Neuroscience: How Transformation Really Happens
- Yoga for Empaths: Creating Effective Boundaries
- Awakening the Female Pelvis
- 4 day Yoga Fit Restorative Yoga training
- Leeann Carey- Restorative Yoga Training- Yapana
- Yoga Journal 2011-2012, 2014-2016
- 3-Day Qigong Retreat- Robert Peng- Guardian Qi
- Yoga Philosophy 101
Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall
- Yoga Before and After Hip Replacement
- Yoga for Healthy Aging and Fracture Prevention: Focus on Balance
- Yoga for Joint Health: Keys to Staying Mobile and Agile All Life Long
- Yoga for Osteoporosis- Certification
Dr. Baxter Bell
- Yoga for Core Integrity and Balance
- Yoga for Healthy Aging: Balance, Stability and Posture in Yoga Therapy
- Creating Shoulder Strength and Stability- Focus on Serratus Anterior
- Yoga for Back Pain: Keys to Preventing and Healing Sacroiliac Instability
- The Facial Matrix- The Lifelong Dynamic Between Freedom and Stability
- Yoga and the New Anatomy: Myofascial Dynamics of Yoga Practitioners
Stephanie Moonaz PhD
- Yoga for Arthritis: The evidence and the Promise
- Cultivating Interoception: Reconnecting with your Sixth Sense
- Are Hip Openers Bad for your Hips? Benefits, Kinesiology and Precautions
- Yoga for Osteoporosis
- Aging and Injured Bodies
- Yoga for hip injuries and hip replacement
- Pacific Unitarian Church 2013-2016
- Torrance Memorial Medical Center 2014-present
- Garden of Grace Intention and Wellness- 2015-2017
- Jack Kramer Club- Yoga for Tennis 2017-present
- Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner- FDN-P 2014-present
- Ayurvedic Summit
- Metabolic Summit
- Fibromyalgia Summit- Fibro Fix
- Dr. Sara Gottfried- Teach the Hormone Cure 2014
- John Douillard- Perfecting Health 2014
- Summer Bock- Gut Rebuild 2015
- Journey to Healing 4 day Ayurvedic Healing The Chopra Center Carlsbad, CA 2008
- Eat Green Challenge- Cate Stillman
- 20 week modified Professional Cooking course-New School of Cooking 2006-2007
- 10 week modified Baking course- New School of Cooking 2007-2008
- Cooking Class Instructor- 2012- present PUC
- Cooking for Caregivers- 2013-present Torrance Memorial Medical Center
- Cooking for 80-100 once per month on a $200 budget