Tell us a little about yourself :)
I live in the incredibly beautiful town of Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. Come visit me- I host Yoga and Stand Up Paddle Retreats here.
I grew up in the Napa Valley, lived in San Diego, California for half of my life, and also in New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.
I was one of the first Stand Up Paddle Yoga Teachers in the world and helped to create some of the first certifications. I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years and have created some very unique practices within the practice.
I love to play the ukulele and sing to my students in Savasana. I even have a waterproof ukulele for the Stand Up Paddle Yoga classes.
I was a San Diego Oceanfront Lifeguard for 13 years and have had the opportunity to surf waves bigger than my house in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and around the world.
How did you get introduced to yoga?
One of my best friends in the world had a crush on a yoga teacher in a nearby town and we biked to go to his class. I had been a lifelong athlete, but the class was so difficult and so rewarding I cried in savasana. I was hooked. Surfing happened about a year before- the fulfilment of an inland girl´s dream- scholarship to a college on the coast and the ability to surf and then go to class in board shorts and a rash guard still dripping from the ocean and happily work hard for straight A´s all four years.
Stand Up Paddle Yoga was the combination of the two and something new to the industry. Immediately I knew it would grow in popularity and now it is a worldwide adventure.
When did yoga get “serious”?
Yoga, Surfing and Stand Up Paddling have always been serious to me. I am athletic every day and played numerous team sports as a kid. Something about pushing myself as an individual while still being able to teach and share and progress amongst a community has been a dream.
Can you share your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenges have been injury- mainly from surfing big waves and having to recover over long periods of time. But thankfully, yoga is truly about the investigation of the exact circumstance you find yourself in- not just the reality you envision.
For this reason I have seen every challenge (and I have had some major injuries) as opportunities for growth in awareness. I have so much Joy now, no matter what I am doing, and I know this was developed through both the comfortable and uncomfortable times in my life.
How do you handle pressure?
The short answer is Yes. I have a contract with Whilhelmina Models and I am constantly trying to find ways at age 36 to look 26 again. It doesn´t scare me, but it does motivate me. I have found the greatest success in loving everything that I do - that way if I jump into a surf trip for a week I can eat whatever I want and just surf until I feel great about it.
If I have a shoot coming up I have a green smoothie cleanse that I love. On a day to day basis I just love the act of practicing, teaching and being on the water, especially leading people on retreat in this beautiful gem of a town in Mexico- anyone with an adventurous spirit or a desire to have one, should investigate!
Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness ?
I think my concept of self and performance developed in part with time and experience, but more because of my very intentional, daily meditation practice. For years I scoffed at meditation, until my major shoulder injury in 2012 in which I was in pain for two years, at which time I discovered the power of positive psychology and retraining the neuro-pathways.
I don´t experience much nervousness anymore, but when I do I notice it and have trained myself to label it "Pleasant" or "Unpleasant" a Zen tradition that has changed the way I approach discomfort.
What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to yoga of course ;)
Definitely the very recent complete loss of my bikini top on a surf trip in Mainland Mexico with big waves with the man I have been dating- in which I was washed into shore (because I was trying to hide just below the surface to not expose myself) and washed in right next to 7 ten year old school boys playing in the shore break on a Saturday afternoon. They were overwhelmed with glee and said some funny Spanish phrases they didn´t think I knew.
How did your passion influence your life in other ways ?
My passions have helped me in every way I can imagine, they have taken me to this place I love in a foreign country to my dream job. I have been able to stay in shape with age because I am active for work and out of love for what I do. I have traveled the world for my passions and met incredible people. I could go on for hours with specifics, maybe next interview.
What does your daily routine look like?
I practice yoga asana daily. Sometimes for hours a day, or sometimes 15 minutes, but every single day. I believe that true yoga practice extends into every part of your life, and in that way I practice constantly. I surf almost every day- but paddle when there are not waves. I am fortunate to live in a tropical climate where all of these things are steps from where I live and part of my work as well.
And what about flexibility training? Where does that fit in?
Yoga that is practiced in a way that respects correct alignment, synergistic muscle engagement and consistency.
Yoga when you rise and before you go to sleep, yoga when you feel anything is askew, yoga before you perform a sport, and a yoga retreat twice a year to take the practice and the flexibility to the next level. You can do so much more than you think you can.
What keeps you motivated?
The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield keeps me motivated. It is very Zen, but it makes me follow my heart, over and over again.
RobinMartinYoga is a good friend and an amazing IG account to follow to be inspired, as well as AshleyGalvinYoga.
The thing that motivates me the most are the people who want to attend retreats- I want them to see that daily practice can change your life, it has changed mine. I am motivated by the hope that we will collectively continue to rise up towards greater awareness and success.
What are your future plans/goals/dreams?
Hosting monthly 2017 Yoga, Surf, Stand Up Paddle, Fitness and Creativity Retreats at Amor Boutique Hotel in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico.
I would also love to continue on this pathway and have a family, be in love, and live a dream with a small retreat center of my own someday.
Any tips for passionate yogi's starting out?
FIND A TEACHER!
I recently started spending time with one of the best surfer´s in the area where I live, who owns a surf school, has won national titles and loves to coach. My surfing has improved in such a dramatic way in a few months that the other 15 years of surfing pale in comparison.
Especially with yoga and Stand Up Paddle too, find a teacher who resonates with your spirit and listen. Have a beginner´s mind always. Be curious. You can do so much more than you think you can.
Anything you’d like to share?
Thank you for your time, for reading, for adventuring with me.Send me a message, come on a retreat, change your life, Live What You Love.