Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Author & Chef
What makes you 'cool' ;) any awards or accolades?
I won Best Smoothie Award back in 2009! Ha! I've been a Certified Yoga Teacher since 2001. I got my start in health and fitness as an aqua aerobics teacher for seniors!
Tell us more about what you enjoy doing - Your passions besides work.
When I'm not sharing Ayurveda, you'll find me cooking, riding my bike to yoga, and petting every dog in sight!
What is the name of your program?
Are you going to be leading the FaceBook group on your topic?
What is your 'story' & your 'Why'?
Meditation is what got me into everything that matters in my life. The first time I’d even heard of meditation, I’d signed up for a summer of college in Alaska’s backcountry.
Picture this. It was early summer and the sky was light almost all night long. We gathered in the morning outside the hardware store where we studied and slept. It was a big grassy area and the teachers had us gather in a circle to meditate on a sense of place.
It was so wild there. So warm and quiet and WILD. I’d never thought about a sense of place before. I'd never taken the time to notice how a place made me feel. I’d never meditated either and spent so long standing in silence. I’d never let myself be still enough to feel and notice what it felt like to feel.
I remember feeling the sun on my face. The calm kindness of my teachers. After the first meditation of my life, they led us through a series they called Sun Salutations. Again, I felt astounded by the power of moving my body in this slow, mindful fashion. Pausing to lunge on the earth and raise my arms to the sky. It was miraculous.
It was the morning that changed my life.
Fast forward to 2001. I'm at my first yoga teacher training and my teacher convinces me to try Vipassana meditation. Vipassana is the meditation practice (said to be) once taught by the Buddha. It's a practice of self-transformation through self-observation.
You sit, watch your breath, observe the sensations throughout your body. You learn to pay attention to what you feel and watch what happens in your mind as you observe. What I love most about Vipassana is that it means "to see things as they actually are."
To learn Vipassana meditation, I spent 10 days in silent retreat. Sitting and noticing while watching my breath. Welcome, life changer #2. Not only because I made it through the experience! (I wasn't sure I'd make it.)
It was the profound level of peace and calm I embodied as a result of those 10 days. It affected my psyche and opened my senses like nothing had before. It felt better than drugs. Life felt clearer than ever. I felt alive, aware and unstoppable.
Although I didn't know it at the time, Vipassana gave me my first taste of non-delusion. Something I now think of as my lifeline to a loving reality.
This was the start of a journey that's careened and swerved and evolved over time. Managing your mind is hard! There have been years when I couldn't bring myself to sit still for more than 5 minutes. And months on end where meditation was my only salvation. The only time I truly felt peace and relief.
So why do I meditate? I meditate because it's real self-care. Because it teaches me discipline and detachment, and I’ve learned that both of those make way for freedom. I meditate because the first stage of healing in Ayurveda is conscious self-awareness.
I meditate because it puts me firmly on the path of right action. It's a demonstration of how much I care about myself, being connected with nature, and about and life... that I'm willing to be still and listen to the truth that lies within. I can sit for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 45 minutes... and just be.
Meditation helps me face every challenge of life. It gets me clear on what matters, and what doesn't. It allows me to redefine myself and my life at any moment. It gives me permission to sit with difficult feelings - to feel them, love them, to have compassion for myself. It gives me permission to sit with bliss and joy. Meditation is a revolutionary act of self-love.
For me, and I'm not a religious person, the goal of meditation is to ""be still and know."" I have everything I could ever need. I am here. I matter. I am grateful.
Give us a brief summary of your topic.
I am going to teach you about the life-changing power of meditation. I'll guide you through the practice of stilling your mind and being present in your body and your heart. I'll offer you tools to help focus your mind and keep your attention on your breath. I'll do my very best to teach you meditation so it becomes a practice you treasure, like a precious found object.
Last words of wisdom?
“In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.”- Pico Iyer