As a child, my vision of the perfect life was to live on a farm with my sister Jessica, owning every farm animal there was – riding horses, playing with the pigs, brushing the cows, chasing chickens. Once I got into my teens, I came to the realization that living with my sister forever on a farm was probably not something I actually wanted.
I attended college in 2008 for Theatrical Production, upon entering first year, my goals were to be a carpenter, and as much as I loved working in the carpentry shop during the program, I graduated an ambitious lighting designer and technician as well as a talented painter and seamstress. Following college I worked at a live events warehouse, which later led to working on gigs all around the city. I loved working on Bon Jovi, Nathan Philips Square Nuit Blanche exhibits, Sublime, MMVA’s, building the CTV news desk and countless other one-off builds and live concerts. But eventually the gigs weren’t as frequent and my part-time job at Stage West Theatre needed someone to work on the mainstage production – before this I only turned over the shows in a week long, night shift lighting technicians dream vacation (or was it nightmare?), as well as ran follow spot for Monday night tribute bands. Once that first show happened, the ball started rolling and eventually I was working 7 days a week at Stage West as either a lighting technician or a wardrobe assistant back stage. I had found my professional home – Until the budget crisis. Stagewest was attached to a hotel, and right when a huge budget issue hit the theatre, the owner of the building decided it was a great time to fill every hotel room with a brand new flat-screen TV. One year later Stage West Mississauga shut its doors, and I was left not knowing what to do.
I had been out of the gig circuit for too long to have any chance of getting full-time hours again – and frankly, my mental and physical state couldn’t handle that work anymore. Without any regular exercise, I dealt with serious back pain most of the time, and with the sexist climate that comes along with a steel toe and hard hat wearing kind of industry, I had enough of live events production work.
For a while, I attempted to enter the wardrobe world of theatre, but not being able to afford to take on full-time, unpaid internships, I eventually decided my college ambitions had to be set aside. That’s when I became a dog walker – and my entire life changed.
Dog walking in downtown Toronto was good and bad – still without regular exercise, the constant walking did a number on my ankles – eventually needing orthotics due to collapsed arches in my feet, but having a full time job of playing with dogs and getting a fantastic tan was worth the little aches and pains. I started thinking that a career in animal behaviour and training was the way to go, but after two years of seeing the business I worked for boom, the environment became less than ideal. I still loved my dogs, but no longer loved who I worked for and decided to move on.
The one pinnacle moment of being a dog walker was when I started noticing posters around the city for a new Aerial Yoga studio, boasting a $15 first class offer. After seeing it about 100 times I decided I had to try. Kaye Penaflor was my first silks teacher and from that first class, I was in love with Aerial Yoga. I did a 2 week unlimited package, and afterwards told myself “Well, that was nice – but I can’t afford regular class packages”. I wrote a nice review on the studios Facebook page and figured that would be the end. But when the owners gifted me 10 free classes for my review – and eventually hired me as an energy exchange – I knew this place was something special. For the first time since College, my back wasn’t in constant pain and this was the first time I realized the benefits of Yoga. When the Aerial studio introduced their first teacher training program I was excited, but assumed since I didn’t have my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training (And didn’t have very much in my savings account) I wouldn’t be eligible, luckily – I was wrong! The teachers at the studio urged me to join, and the owners offered me a generous discount to participate.
By January 1, 2015, I was an Aerial Yoga instructor on top of my full time job, a month later I would quit dog walking and start working at a Hardware store – eventually leaving there to become a cleaner. In between the job changes I found the time and money to fly to India to get my 200hr YTT at an Ashtanga School in South Goa. My mentor and friend, Kaye, had recommended the school and there on the beaches of the Arabian Sea, I finally found my true passion. I went back at the beginning of 2017 to add 100hr to my certification and deepen my practice (Happily skipping Canadian winter entirely!)
Fast forward to Summer 2017. I finally quit my day job and decided to focus fully on my Yoga practice and teaching. When in India I had met so many people who quit their jobs and flew to India to practice yoga – but the idea of doing that terrified me! How can someone just, not have a job? How do people survive? My plan was to always get more teaching gigs, and slowly cut back on cleaning until I had “full-time” teaching hours, but this plan was taking too long so I finally decided to take the leap of faith – I thought “If being bold and trusting the Universe worked for so many people, why wouldn’t it work for me? Why do I have to be safe and ordinary?”
With an Ashtanga training, I most enjoy teaching powerful Vinyasa flows, but I love meeting people of all different body types and abilities, and find it a unique challenge to guide people of all levels through a practice that would be beneficial to them.
If you would like to support me and join me in practice, checkout the Class Schedule.
If you would like to learn more about Vinyasa Flow and Aerial classes, click here.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Yoga Story, I look forward to learning about yours as I help you develop your practice!