1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are?
I’m a yoga teacher, martial artist and the founder of Primal Yoga®, a dynamic yoga and martial arts fusion class designed to create balance, strength and synergy in our physical and emotional bodies.
I have always loved physical activity, but I never thought I would become a yoga teacher! The first yoga class I ever took was at a local YWCA in my hometown on Oahu and all I remember is trying not to laugh as the teacher walked around the room chanting and breathing a little too heavily for my comfort. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles and discovered Power Yoga that I realized yoga could rival the athleticism of any other sport I had ever played. The physical practice was the initial attraction for me, but it was the mental, emotional and spiritual benefits that really hooked me. Yoga not only changed the way I felt on the outside, it changed the way I felt on the inside.
2. What do you think makes you strong (mentally, physically etc.)?
Adversity has definitely made me stronger. Strength to me is not about having bulging biceps or six-pack abs - it’s a mental quality that allows you to see obstacles as opportunities and have the courage to rise rather than run.
3. What makes you Flawsome?
I used to perceive vulnerability as weakness, but now I see it as one of my biggest strengths. Sharing openly about my daily successes and struggles allows me to create an open space where it’s ok to be flawed. Striving for perfection is not something I’m interested in. I’m simply interested in being a better person today than I was yesterday.
4. Who inspires you to be strong?
I'm inspired by anyone who lives their life with authenticity, passion and dedication to their craft and helps lift others up along the way.
5. How do you think living an active life makes you stronger?
I’m constantly amazed by how much my body can do, especially as I get older! At 33, I can do more now than I could ever do as a teenager. I owe that to maintaining an active lifestyle and keeping my body strong and flexible through yoga and martial arts.
6. How do you share your strength with others?
My ultimate goal as a yoga teacher is to empower my students with as many tools as I can to allow them to access and embrace their own unique strength. My greatest joy comes from witnessing someone achieve something in class they previously thought was impossible. Those breakthroughs are so powerful!
On an emotional level, it’s also important for me to openly share my own struggles and successes. I have days where I skip workouts or look in the mirror and feel insecure about what I see. I have days when I get angry or jealous or scared. I have experienced death, divorce, trauma, anxiety, and failure and I have emerged through it all stronger. I want people to know that whatever they are going through, they are not alone.
7. What has been your biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome?
Overcoming extreme anxiety and crippling panic attacks is one of the biggest obstacles I’ve overcome. There’s no way to adequately describe how horrific and debilitating panic attacks can be. Physically, the panic felt like vertigo. I didn't know which way was up and which way was down. Mentally, I felt like I was going crazy. I was desperately clinging on to the edge of reality and at any moment, it felt like I could fall into a dark abyss of death and despair. It got so bad that I became mildly agoraphobic and was afraid to get on an airplane for fear of having a panic attack in-flight.
Yoga, proper nutrition, meditation and the help of a compassionate cognitive behavioral therapy coach, helped me find my way out of the darkness and back into the light. The experience taught me so much about my self and my own inner strength and gave me so much more compassion for those who are suffering.
8. When you’re not feeling strong and confident, what do you to get back on track?
Sweat and Meditate. There’s nothing better to boost my mood, clear my head, and create a feeling of confidence than a strong sweat session. For me that means either hopping into a yoga class or putting on my gi and heading to jiu-jitsu. Meditation is also a great way to get me back on track mentally and spiritually.
9. What has been your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment has been pushing through fear and taking the leap of faith to become a yoga teacher. There have been so many times in my life where fear prevented me from speaking my truth, following my heart, or pursuing my passions, and this time I was determined not to let fear stand in my way. That meant quitting a great corporate job, giving up a steady paycheck, health insurance and a retirement plan and embarking into the unknown. It hasn’t always been an easy path financially and emotionally (especially as an introvert), but it has definitely been worth it. I wake up grateful every morning to have created a life for myself that I truly love living. Life is too short to be doing anything other than what you love.
10. What would your message be to women who are struggling to feel strong, confident and happy?
You are enough.