There was a time in my life where I was only allowed to ride a stationary bike for 5 minutes a day…
As a youth, I was athletic. Captain of my high school sports teams, a surfer, recreational sports all year round… Then came sports injuries, and re-learning how to walk a few times.
I remember my first yoga class, age 16. Mom and I went to a free class at the public library taught by Wendy Morrison. On the way home, we cruised by Pomona General Store to say hi to the neighbors. They wanted to know all about the class. It was so good all we could manage was a beep the horn and wave as went drove past…That was that day when I fell in love with yoga.
Fast forward to 2005. I’m a college graduate living the life in St. Augustine Florida, with just one problem… I was still waiting tables. It was a great job, good money, and flexible hours, but not putting my Social Science major to good use. What was I to do? I knew I social work wasn’t my thing…after many sleepless nights and some serious soul searching I discovered that Yoga was the answer. That fall, I signed up for my first teacher training. It changed my life forever.
In 2007 I moved home to Chestertown and took a full-time job the family business Tidewater Trader. Group yoga classes have a potentially lucrative hourly rate, but what I quickly found is that it’s impossible to teach 40 hours of yoga a week. About 5 years later, I got REALLY sick.
A perfect storm of mold and tick-borne illness had me down and out. For months I had no idea why I was having stabbing pains and seriously debilitating fatigue. I was forced to stop teaching yoga and reduce my regular work hours. It was my own personal version of hell, and an experience that continues to shape who I am today. Luckily Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker saved my life. Among many other things my capillaries had shrunken up, and that was one of the reasons I was so tired. BUT, he knew I was stubborn, and told me I had two options. Take a vasodilator or grow my veins out myself; and that it would take hard work and dedication. Something I was already very familiar with.
“Start with 5 minutes, level one on a stationary bike” he said. “Each day do two more minutes until you get up to 15 minutes. Then move up to level two, back at five minutes.” After legs, came core, then upper body. I went from managing about 20 crunches to 1,400. Fifteen minutes of core is A LOT. The most important lesson that came from that is not doing too much. Shoemaker told me “there will be days when you feel like doing more, but don’t…” Of course, I did, and quickly found out that the pendulum swings back the other way, and I suffered for it. Honoring my limits was a hard pill to swallow, and a tough lesson to learn. I still must monitor my output, and now self-care is a priority.
This is what would later be the fuel to my fire in becoming a Certified Yoga Therapist. I was in the first graduating class with a Master of Science Degree of Yoga Therapy in the country. It is my thirst for knowledge coupled with personal experiences that have shaped the practitioner I have become today. It is what has given me the ability to relate to hardship, and tools for personal growth.
Doctors and western medicine have saved my life, so I will never tell you not to take your blood pressure medicine. My services work too compliment your current health care team.
Education & Certifications
- Master’s Degree in Yoga Therapy, Maryland University of Integrative Health, 2016
- Flagler College, 2005
- 500 Hour Kripalu Yoga Certification
- Yoga for Arthritis
- Prenatal Yoga Certification
- Kids Yoga Certification
- Reiki Master
- 2017 Best Of Eastern Shore Beauty and Fitness – Yoga Instructor
- 2017 Shore Update’s Reader’s Choice Award – Best Yoga Class
I have worked with…
Companies & Organizations:
- Aquafit of Chestertown
- Brittland Estates
- Camp Echo Hill Outdoor School
- Chester River Behavioral Health
- Chester River OBGYN
- Chester River Yacht & Country Club
- Clovelly Vineyard
- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
- Diabetes Support Group
- Girl Scouts of America
- Haven Harbour Marina
- HealthFitness Corporation
- Heron Point (ACTS Retirement)
- Inn at Huntingfield Creek
- Kent Athletic and Wellness Center
- Kent County Community Center
- Kent County Government- Public School System (teachers & administration)
- Kent County Department of Social Services
- Kent County Public Library
- Kent County Public Schools
- Kent School, and multiple summer camps
- Purple Sage Herbs & Gifts
- Queen Annes County Department of Social Services
- Radcliffe Creek School
- Town of Rock Hall
- Shrewsbury Church
- Soroptimist of Kent