Yoga has been a constant support for me throughout my adult life. The simple reason I have continued to practice and teach is that above all else, it makes me feel better! I have been a yoga instructor since 2002, and have returned to my home of the Cowichan Valley after over a decade of living and teaching yoga abroad in Hong Kong and London, England. I am so grateful to be home and raise my family in such a beautiful place.
For the first 15 years of my teaching career I taught mostly Vinyasa Flow style classes (both in the hot room and regular studio), heavily influenced by my teachers Patrick Creelman and Ana Forrest, whom I have immense gratitude for and am still influenced by their teachings today.
After the challenging birth of my first daughter in 2015 and the profound effect it had on me, the focus of my teaching grew to include Prenatal and Postpartum yoga. In my first pregnancy, I had assumed that at the magical "6 week" postpartum mark, my body would go back to the way was before and I would just pick up where I left off. While this may be some mother's experience, it certainly was not mine. Instead, I was left feeling like I had been hit by a truck for weeks. My first birth was very long, with a lot of interventions, ending in the use of forceps. This caused a lot of damage to my pelvic floor that took a very long time to heal. Experiencing pelvic floor issues, on top of the rest of my body recovering from birth was not only physically challenging, but also mentally and emotionally hard. I was attached to my identity of being an active, fit person. I pushed through and even trained and ran a marathon 7 months postpartum because of this. While running so early in my recovery helped me connect with my "old" self, it also set my healing back a lot further. The first 18 months of becoming a mother felt extremely challenging. I loved my baby more than anything, but I also felt cheated out of the positive birth experience I expected to have and grieved that while other mothers I knew seemed to have "bounced back" and were able to return to their prebaby activities, I still had symptoms over a year after my daughter was born. During this time I sought help where ever I could find it with varying degrees of success. Numerous pelvic floor physiotherapists and bodyworkers in person and a number of experts online. I had a lot of "what if's?" and "why didn't anyone tell me this could happen?!" Eventually with the gift of time, and much education, I began to understand and accept that healing is not a linear process. My body did heal but I now know that sometimes it takes time and the journey is different for everyone.
Three and a half years after the birth of my first daughter, my second daughter was born. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to her birth because of what had happened the first time. Thankfully, her birth was much shorter and straightforward than my first. It left me feeling empowered instead of completely powerless. In preparation for my second birth I did a lot of prenatal yoga, research on birthing positions and optimal practices for the pelvic floor during both pregnancy, birth and early postpartum. I also advocated for myself and communicated with my health care providers in way that had never occurred to me do in my first pregnancy. To my relief, my postpartum recovery was also much more straightforward the second time around. I gave myself adequate time and grace to heal with more realistic expectations. While I do believe that all of my preparation may have helped steer me toward a more empowering second birth experience. I also believe that I was lucky. Sometimes no matter how much prenatal yoga we do and how much we educate ourselves, interventions in birth are still necessary... No matter how hard we try, we cannot control how our birth is going to go. I also believe that the more that we learn about the birthing process, the more capacity we will have to make informed, empowered decisions when we need to.
Although my the beginning path of my motherhood journey was not smooth or at all how I had expected it to be, I am so grateful for everything that happened as it's brought me here. It is my great privilege to combine my experience and love of teaching yoga with supporting those who are pregnant or postpartum in such a transformational time in their life.
When I'm not teaching you will probably find me with at least one kid within arms reach. When I'm lucky enough to get some alone time I love to get back to my old pre-child activities of hiking, tending to my own yoga practice and strength training. Motherhood has helped me discover my creative side, with baking, calligraphy and learning to sew!