As a competitive athlete, an endurance sports coach, and an experienced yoga teacher, I truly understand exactly how yoga can complement—or be at odds with—training. I know that many athletes are turned off by yoga because it seems too easy (and becomes boring), too hard (and thus painful and intimidating), or out of sync with their training (leading to fears that they’re undermining their hard work). My goal is to create an environment that is easy enough, challenging enough, and can be modified to suit students’ needs.
Yoga for athletes isn’t necessarily athletic yoga—the intensity of the yoga must be in inverse proportion to the intensity of the athlete’s training. My work with team sports has taught me that not only should a yoga practice vary according to the sport and time of year, it also depends on the athlete’s position, experience, and abilities.
My yoga teaching style uses both flow and long holds focusing on alignment and mindfulness. The flow generates heat, so that the longer holds can work more deeply. My focus in both yoga and training is form and breath: finding the most efficient, economical form and taking the fullest breaths available, in order to stay present even in intense situations.
Though I hated the first few yoga classes I attended in 1998—they weren’t lifting weights, they weren’t aerobic exercise, and I didn’t want to admit it, but they were frustratingly hard—while attending prenatal yoga classes, I came to see how yoga enriches other experiences. Taking a class once a week and practicing a little at home as well, I made it through my first marathon without many of the aches and pains that accompany high-mileage running. In 2003, I began teaching while earning my certification. I have also been trained in mat Pilates. I have been inspired by each of my teachers, including Lesa Crocker, Sunny Davis, Paul Grilley, Leslie Kaminoff, Sarah Powers, Erich Schiffmann, and Shiva Rea.
In 2010, my business partner and I took over ownership of the Carrboro Yoga Company, where I’d been teaching since the day the studio opened. Our goal for Carrboro Yoga is to create a space for connection. This can be a connection of body, mind, and spirit; of the individual and the community; of mindfulness with action, thought, and feeling. In September 2012, we opened our sister studio, the Durham Yoga Company. The focus in Durham is on alignment. Come visit us when you are nearby!
coaching philosophy and background
In addition to my coaching certifications, my education includes a PhD in English. Literature gives us insight into the human condition, helping us answer the question of what to make of our existence. Yoga and endurance sports do the same. They teach us how to use our bodies and minds to make sense of our souls. I learn from my training and practice sessions every day. By paying disciplined attention to form and breath during your workouts, you’ll improve your sport performance, as well as your mental focus. I want to help your training and racing become a fulfilling part of your life experience—another way to build strength (in the form of sport skill, speed, and endurance), flexibility (the ability to maintain equanimity on hard days and through stressful situations), and balance (engagement in various healthy, wide-ranging, complementary activities). You’ll gain insight about what to make of your existence.
I’ve been a runner for more than fifteen years, competing in road and trail races from the 5K to the ultra marathon, and I’ve been a triathlete since 2005. Some highlight races include winning the 2007 Valdese Triathlon, which must be the friendliest race ever; racing in the Short-Course World Triathlon Championships, where I represented Team USA in 2008; loving every minute of Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2009; re-BQing at the Boston Marathon in 2008; and running to and from the 15-degree, 20-mph-windy summit of the highest peak in the eastern United States in the 40-mile 2012 Mount Mitchell Challenge. My favorite races are the ones where I get to connect with the other athletes as we test our limits together. And I always try to finish smiling.