Before I started on a career helping others get out of pain, I needed to help myself. But it didn’t happen overnight. It took me seventeen years as a fashion designer and an investment banker in NYC—running on the hamster wheel in high heels—to realize that I could no longer live with bunions, back pain and stress. It was risky to leave my corporate career, and I was terrified, but I knew I had to find a new path.
When it finally came to a toss-up between what was, for me, the slow death of my soul, or a journey towards improving my health and well-being, I chose well-being. And I pursued it. I spent every minute away from the rat race studying yoga and Pilates, searching for a better sense of myself from the inside out instead of from the outside in.
Today, I am a teacher. I help anyone who wants to feel better in their body. From international conferences to private sessions, I help people understand why they have pain and show them what they need to do to get out of it. Believe it or not, there is so much joy in unearthing your "body blind spots," those places where movement, posture, and position contribute to patterns of pain. I’ll teach you to find, nurture, and heal your own body blind spots. My fitness expertise will help you unearth your passion for moving better and bring you to the best version of yourself.
Breaking Free: Out of the Cubicle and Onto the Mat!
I’m just a perfectly imperfect gal who enjoys eating lots of dark chocolate, being a goofball with my husband, and singing karaoke off tune. Like most people, my relationship with my body has changed over time.
As a child, I was in love with movement. I clambered over the jungle gym, pretended to be Wonder Woman, and dangled upside down from any bar I could get my knee pits around. As a teenager, my daredevil energy was channeled into gymnastics, where I tumbled, jumped, and did back-flips. Those playful years eventually gave way to the rigorous and structured demands of Brown University.
I dove headfirst into Being a Career Woman as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in NYC, working 80 hours a week. What can I say? I was desperate to prove myself. But since the only minutes of my day I actually enjoyed came at 6:30am at the gym, it soon became clear that banking wasn’t for me.
Switching gears, I became a fashion designer, and then a jewelry designer, successfully selling my pieces to fancy stores like Barneys and Onward Kashiyama. But now, in my late 20s, I was isolated in an East Village apartment and completely ignoring my body. Depression reared its head. Fortunately, a friend dragged me to a Bikram yoga class. There, I moved, stretched, sweated, and remembered how fun movement could be. And I began to feel better.
That’s how I started to explore many different styles of yoga. I found Pilates, too, while visiting my mom in Oklahoma. Slowly but surely, movement became a constant thread in my life, a source of peace and an escape from my day job. Finally, I knew what made me happy. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my husband, Farzad, my career transitioned from the office to the mat.
Becoming a Teacher
Once I start something, I tend to go all in. Now that I was no longer deskbound, I completed my 500-hour teacher training in. I loved it and I knew I was coming home to myself through yoga. I began sharing what I was learning and embodying with others, and they were responding with gratitude.
I was very good at the yoga poses. Almost all of them came naturally to me. My hypermobile joints and lax ligaments allowed me to express almost any shape with little effort. The more I practiced yoga, the better I felt... At least—until I didn’t.
We moved to Iowa City for Farzad’s new job. There I took Pilates reformer classes and enrolled in the STOTT PILATES® teacher training. But as I began to teach and practice regularly, my joints started to pay the price. I was doing too many of the same kinds of movements and stretching way too much. Through Pilates, I was developing strength, but it wasn’t enough to cancel out the wear and tear I’d begun to feel during my yoga practice.
While studying for my Pilates exam, I realized how little I knew about anatomy. How could I truly engage with my body and others’ if I didn’t know what was going on under the skin? Traditional yoga and Pilates had taught me to execute poses and exercises, and I in turn was teaching them to others, but it became clear to me that even with modifications, not all exercises and poses were appropriate for all people.
That was a hard, but crucial, lesson: Just because you can do the pose doesn’t mean you should do the pose. More is not always more.
After hundreds of hours of teacher training, multiple certifications, and success as a teacher, I now began a new phase in my career. I began to ask, Why? Why are we doing this pose? How does it affect the body’s tissues? What daily life activities will it help me with? My Pilates manual addressed some of these issues, but I needed to know more. And the biggest question still loomed large: Why was a healing practice like yoga hurting me?
After over a decade of studying movement and exercise science, and educating hundreds of teachers, I’ve discovered that there is no single best or right way to move. Rather, it is more beneficial to teach to the individual in front of you.
This is only possible when you have an understanding of human movement, a toolbox of exercises, and the critical thinking skills to apply them appropriately. Realizing this is what inspired me to create Yoga Deconstructed® and Pilates Deconstructed®.
Both Yoga Deconstructed® and Pilates Deconstructed® take an interdisciplinary approach to foster an embodied understanding of yoga and Pilates and their relationship to modern movement science.
In my classes, workshops, and weekend immersions, you will learn exercises and techniques to help you and your students strengthen their weak links, so you can become a more embodied mover, while reducing the risk of injury.