This chapter of my story began 12 years ago, when I was working as a social worker in the public schools and teaching fitness and yoga classes in the community. I was extremely passionate about my work but felt that I never was reaching my students in a way that was truly meaningful and sustainable.
I’ll never forget the defining moment. In total exasperation, I looked at the group of 5th grade girls I was leading and stated quite assertively “We are done talking. We are going to do Yoga!” Giggles of excitement filled the room as the girls got fully engaged in sharing all the poses they wanted to learn. I in turn, got to expand their experience and share the poses and breathing that could help them when feeling stressed, worried and sad. At the same time I began integrating the mind-body connection into my fitness classes. From that day forward my two careers merged.
Five years later, my colleague and I were granted a full year sabbatical to research how yoga was being integrated into the school system. During that year, we met Jim and Lynea Gillen, founders of Yoga Calm and I became their National Director of Training Development. The “Mind-Body” connection was what was missing from the variety of social skills curriculum, therapy and fitness classes.
The body is now the access point to my work. Nervous system regulation is the foundation, for when the body is regulated, heart rate lowered and the mind brought to the present moment, the brain is at its optimal learning state. This is where my work begins.