I have two things that I am very proud of in my life, first are my two children, and second is my small business, Inner Fire Yoga. What fuels the fire at Inner Fire Yoga is partly the reality of my children in my life.
I love yoga. I love to study and learn yoga. I love to practice yoga. I love to teach yoga. Being a mother is my hardest yoga. Taking a yoga class is my easiest yoga. Both of these I intensely cherish.
I was introduced to yoga in 1993. I became a yoga instructor in 1997. I have been teaching regularly ever since. I had my son in 2000, having happily practiced Hot Yoga throughout my pregnancy. I opened my first yoga studio in 2002 in Madison. This was risky and scary for me as a newly single mother, plus having just moved to Madison from San Francisco. But it was empowering and wonderful – a big success! I began offering a wider variety of yoga classes at my studio in 2004, including Power Flow Yoga and Yin Yoga. I adopted my daughter from Ethiopia in Dec. 2005. The year following was a difficult one for me – struggling between single motherhood of a newly adopted baby and keeping my passion about my business (and keeping it afloat).
A big corner was turned when I began to work with Alon Sagee, the Yoga Business Coach in Nov. 2006. With his guidance, my business transformed in every way: new energy, focus, vision, name, tag line, mission, values, brand, website, marketing materials, business plan, and not least – a custom designed, all green, expanded facility that is beautiful and luxurious. What I love best about our new studio is the true sense of community and sanctuary: real, wonderful, healthy communing of like-minded lovely people is happening every day at Inner Fire Yoga!
- Yoga Teaching Certificate, 500 hours, Bikram’s Yoga College of India, Los Angeles, September 1997
- First ever yoga class: Bikram Yoga at Bikram’s Yoga College of India, Columbus Ave., San Francisco, March 1994
- MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management, 1993
- BSE, Arizona State University, 1985
Other non-certificate and continuing education yoga trainings by nationally known yoga teachers:
- Received E-RYT certification, December 2011
- Rolf Gates, Inner Fire Yoga, 2008
- Jonny Kest Teacher Training Intensive, Midwest Yoga Conference, 2006
- Desiree Rumbaugh Teacher Training Intensive, Yoga Journal Conference 2005
- Anna Forrest, Rodney Yee, Sean Korn and Shiva Rea, Yoga Journal Conference 2007
- Bikram Choudhury, Continuing Education, Boulder, CO 2004
- Sharon Gannon and David Life of Jivamukti Yoga, and Sara Powers, Yoga Journal Conference 1998
Other teachers to whom I’m grateful for their inspiration:
- Theresa Murphy
- Steve Emmerman
- Talya Ring
- Rajashree Choudhury
- Emmy Cleaves
- Mary Jarvis
- Stephanie Shriver
- Robin Duffy
There is no greater honor for me, as a yoga teacher, than to have the privilege of teaching teachers to teach yoga. It is exhausting and rewarding work – passing along methods, techniques and practices to others who are equally passionate about yoga and who are excited about inspiring others as a yoga teacher.
My first training of teachers (2005) was to train members of my own yoga student community (hand-picked by me), in the practice of teaching Hot Yoga. At the time, I was driven by the need for yoga teachers at my own yoga studio. After that first training experience, which was incredibly enriching, it became a professional goal of mine to offer teacher training to the wider community, using the Yoga Alliance curriculum. It took over five years to achieve that goal. Happily, albeit with difficult birthing pains, and with the help of the esteemed Joan Bliefernicht (Director of Inner Fire Yoga’s Teacher Training whom I consider a venerable scholar of yoga), the Inner Fire Yoga Teacher Training is alive and thriving (our first class graduated in Dec. 2011, with two graduations per year).
I love Hot Yoga, and I love Power Flow Yoga. Because of the love for both styles, and because of an observable chasm that existed between the two student-communities in our own studio (which occurred when we added a second yoga room in 2008 whereby Power Flow could become an “equal” to Hot Yoga on the schedule), I directed the choreographing of the Inner Fire Flow class in an effort to bridge that chasm (with the assistance of senior yoga teachers at Inner Fire Yoga including Kate Schmitz, Darlene Vanderhoop and Carrie Newton).
Inner Fire Flow follows, for the most part, the over-arching sequence of Hot Yoga. It begins with a “warm up”, moves to warrior and balancing poses which are “enveloped” by sun salutations, after the ideal transition of tree pose it moves to back-strengthening on the floor, then on to deep “opening” poses, ending with spine twisting and cleansing breath. It incorporates several common power flow techniques and poses as well, including sun salutations, a basic arm balance pose, core strengthening, hip opening and an inversion.
Since introducing the Inner Fire Flow sequence into our community in 2007, it has become very popular, which is a testament to being a highly beneficial and solid yoga sequence. It is an excellent combination of hot and power flow yoga, comprised mostly of “foundational” poses (poses accessible to new yoga students). Like Hot Yoga and Power Flow Yoga, it is challenging, requires great concentration, faith and determination. It builds strength AND flexibility, incorporating movement of body with movement of breath. It is a wonderful sequence for new yoga teachers to have “ready to go” as part of their teaching repertoire upon graduation from the Inner Fire Yoga Teacher Training program.
If you are inspired to passionately teach yoga, and are looking for a solid program steeped in the fundamentals of yoga, led by extremely knowledgeable and compassionate experts, join us! I look forward to working with you.
Owner, Director, Yoga Teacher, Executive Director of Teacher Training
Thanks – as always – for class last night. I came in with a bunch of anxiety and left as a sort of peaceful jell-o. Your encouragement and compassion are important to so many people.
There’s a saying in marathon running: “God gave us legs to run 20 miles, then gave us a 26.2-mile race!” It’s an incredible truth: I’ve run five marathons now, and the same phenomenon has happened every time. After about 20 miles, the legs are spent and everything is hurting, and for me all time stands still. What happens next is either immense presence, or infinity – which I’ve come to understand are one in the same – and a fantastic opportunity to transcend time and bodily pain in favor of an inward journey. Just as you said last night, it all comes down to deciding to stick with it: for 60 seconds or for 60 minutes – just one instant into another. I’ve evolved emotionally over the past few years as I’ve become a runner. This past October I ran the Athens Marathon – the 2,500th anniversary of the ‘original’ marathon – and found that I was able to focus in to an incredible, timeless place, where time and pain seemed to vanish and the present moments became evident. I went on that pilgrimage thinking that perhaps I would be able to somehow connect to that first run so long ago, and discovered that it wasn’t about something in the past – but something entirely relevant to the exact present. Here is a link to my race report.
I give credit to your guidance and my practice at Inner Fire for being the single most critical and essential part of all my training for running, triathlon – even the Ironman. I couldn’t have done it without you. I’ve signed up for my second Ironman – here in Madison this fall! What I think will be the most important part of my training – just as we develop in class – will be to set aside preconceptions, inflated egos, and past experiences to approach the race with a joyful and open beginner’s mind. Thanks so much for giving me a place to build the foundations for an entirely new and improved life.
Just a quick note to compliment you on the quality of the yoga studio you have built and seem to still be building. I love what you have built. I have been a member for only a couple of years and I am limited in how often I can make it in due to my work schedule. I want to thank you as well for the ‘assist’ you gave me during a recent class. It felt great to be able to twist just that little bit further. Feel free to do that again, it will help me get to the next level and I know my back and hips are the tightest and need the most work.
I did a class there for the first time in a long time and man, was I blown away. There were like 70 people in one class! Everything looks so nice - your retail area, the new space in the locker room, your website. I guess I just wanted to let you know how happy I am that things are going so well for you business-wise. It’s really impressive. I know you work hard and it’s cool to have watched things grow and change over the last couple years. I also did your $50 matched donation to Haiti and I’m really touched by your generosity. It’s cool to know someone who is using her skills to create what she wanted to create and is succeeding at it.. You go!
In the past I have attended yoga classes at other places but never really felt that pull to keep practicing in the way that I do when I attend classes at Inner Fire. I think the heated/hot classes, the quality of instructors and the quality of the facility contribute to me coming back. So, thank you very much for what you have done to create Inner Fire.