The greatest journey you will ever take is inward
As a kid there was nothing I loved more than a walk through the woods or the chance to learn about animals from Ranger Rick. I dreamed about growing up and traveling to exotic places to study wildlife. As a teenager, I was in a serious car accident which injured my neck, I was chronically sick, and I was hospitalized for severe anxiety and panic disorder. These events inspired my dad to take me to my first yoga class, and I was instantly hooked! Yoga has taught me many things including the important lesson that courage is not a lack of fear, it is action in the face of fear.
As a young adult I moved to California where I spent my time practicing yoga, working for Greenpeace, and becoming really passionate about health. Dreams of Colorado eventually led me to Boulder where I earned a degree in Buddhist and Western Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University, and I completed the first of many yoga and meditation training intensives with widely recognized teachers, such as Yogiraj Ravi Dykema.
Between 1995 and 2008 I taught over 5,000 group and private yoga classes in Austin, Texas, led weekend yoga retreats, completed massage school, studied clinical aromatherapy and Ayurveda, co-designed and built a yoga studio, had 2 children, and completed hundreds of hours of yoga trainings and meditation intensives with many world class teachers that have my sincere gratitude. During this time I was also ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh as a lay member of the Order of Interbeing, and I became an E-RYT-500 Yoga Alliance certified instructor.
Overall, life was good, but I had ongoing health struggles that included chronic fatigue, chronic pain, food allergies, brain fog, and more. A lot of my energy was focused on trying to get to the root of my health problems. On top of that, as a family, we began to experience severe environmental allergies that often kept us hiding indoors to limit our exposure. During a particularly bad allergy season we took a camping trip half way across the country to the Everglades of Florida where we delighted in spending our time outdoors and breathing air that didn't make us sick. When we got home we all became sick again and decided it was time for major life changes.
Within 6 months we sold our home and beloved yoga studio, got rid of most of our worldly belongings, purchased an RV, and said goodbye to our sweet Austin community. We traveled around the country and back to Everglades National Park where we spent the winter living and volunteering in the park. I spent the next 8 summers working as an interpretive park ranger in Yellowstone, North Cascades, Crater Lake, and Mount Rainier National Parks, and we spent our winters living in the Rogue Valley of southern Oregon.
Being a park ranger allowed me to fulfill my childhood dreams, enjoy incredible outdoor adventures with my family, and work alongside an amazing group of people dedicated to sharing and preserving our country's natural and historical sites. I also got to help people establish connections to themselves and the natural world through guided hikes, interpretive programs, mindfulness practices and gaining a deeper understanding of their surroundings.
Now that my kids are mostly grown, we are living in the Rogue Valley year round where I work as a clinical health coach at Complete Integrative Care in Medford, and offer online Yoga & Ayurvedic health coaching. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and supporting others to do the same continues to be one of my primary passions in life. You might even catch us out on the trails in southern Oregon where I lead mindfulness yoga hikes to share my love of the outdoors and yoga with others.