A B O U T M E
Here are a few of my puzzle pieces:
Learning: Iowa-raised from pre-K at the Des Moines Science Center to graduating from the University of Iowa, I double majored in Spanish and journalism for undergrad. Highlights of my time as a Hawkeye include:
Editing and writing at The Daily Iowan where I started a semesterly art magazine called Off Deadline.
Embarking on a year-long photo documentary project in small-town West Liberty where the population diversified drastically in a short span of time. This endeavor culminated in my first self-published book: Pueblo Americano.
studying abroad twice, first for a semester in San Sebastian, Spain and later in Pondicherry, India over the winter term.
Denver became my first professional stop, where I earned my master’s degree in education (urban pedagogy and leadership, to be most precise). I took on an action research project there to study the effects of language tracks on student relationships and developed a collaborative science curriculum to foster intergroup relationships at my school.
While all the work was well worth it, I wore myself out and decided to take a break and fulfill my childhood dream of traveling around the world in 2012. I bought a one-way ticket to Bolivia and spent seven months hopping between South America, Asia, and Europe, sometimes by myself, other times meeting friends and family along the way. Quite literally, the world became my classroom. Or at least that’s when I realized that every moment is an opportunity to learn.
I’ve taught elementary students from pre-K to fifth grade in Georgia, Colorado, California, and Virginia. I’ve taught at public schools and charter schools. I’ve instructed primarily in Spanish, primarily in English, and in both simultaneously. I’ve taught students from many different countries, many different socio-economic backgrounds, and every other sort of diversity imaginable. What I love most about teaching is the give and take — together, we are all teachers and students of one another.
Yoga found me in high school. Before meets, our cross country coach showed us an dated yoga video that made us all laugh a lot (and stretch a bit, too). I still laugh a lot in yoga, but not all the time. I practice every day, somehow or another, mixing a little something from all of the teachers I’ve had over the years that deserve a lot of credit for the sweet attention, patience, and care they gave me. Here’s who some of them are:
Elena: The teacher that started me on my own path to becoming a yoga teacher, Elena casually pushed me right into poses I never thought I could do and taught me to stop taking everything so seriously.
Noell: I took my first 200-hour training with Noell. Our very first night of training, I left skeptical that I belonged in the group. By the end of our eight months together, I couldn’t imagine my liYoga found me in high school. Before meets, our cross country coach showed us an dated yoga video that made us all laugh a lot (and stretch a bit, too). I still laugh a lot in yoga, but not all the time. I practice every day, somehow or another, mixing a little something from all of the teachers I’ve had over the years that deserve a lot of credit for the sweet attention, patience, and care they gave me. Here’s who some of them are without that tribe of people in it. Noell is all heart, but not in any sort of dreamy, detached way. She’s grounded in reality and keeps the practice practical and deep.
James: I never thought I would find such a modern philosophy and practice that called to me like Adamantine does. James teaches in Des Moines, Iowa and I’ve taken his advance practitioner training. The sequence he developed is my daily morning dance — it’s the same sequence every day, built on my breath without any music. Walking off my mat to start the day, I always feel a lot more receptive, open, and focused.
Hannah and Kenny: I used to think I never won anything. And then I did. An Instagram challenge that is. For posting a photo and a reflection, I got to attend an otherwise out-of-reach yoga intensive in Santa Cruz with Hannah and Kenny. I was so drawn in that very first weekend that it transformed into my 500-hour training, still in progress. Hannah, a fellow-Iowan, taught me how to breath and how to sit — two things that I’ve always had a hard time committing to do. Kenny taught me how to just chill out and be.
I couldn’t leave this out — I was born to cruise through the trees. What makes me giddy? A rainy run, a slippery, snowy run, an uphill run, a sunny run, ANY RUN.
I don’t do it nearly as much as I wish, but my heart is all in. Most of my work is unpublished for now, but I do let my writing out into the world now and again. Check out my more recent musings on Better’ish or my series on some amazing teachers in San Jose’s Metro.
I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen my whole life, many thanks to my godmother, Sherri, for allowing it. I don’t follow recipes so much as I borrow inspiration and then improvise. I really never make the same thing twice. My favorite creations always involve a lot of local produce and I love making sauces, usually with soaked cashews as a base. Thanks to my partner’s mom, we are now proud owners of a food processor that’s been under quite the training regimen. In a matter of days, I made four different kinds of power snacks: lemony spirulina fig bars, goji coffee cacao truffles, raw sticky tahini sesame cookie dough, and chocolate coconut cashew energy bites.
I’m an idea person. I do a lot of random projects that bring me joy. Like leading 500 kids in a morning yoga class for Tranquil Tuesdays. Or helping lead a science camp in the mountains outside of Yosemite. Or starting yoga programs for teachers at schools and for the public for free at libraries. Or hosting an art exhibit at a yoga studio. Or organizing women’s circles to bring communities together. My wheels are always turning. Sometimes I wonder if my brain ever really sleeps.