Firey, Silly, Authentic
Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I am from Kansas City Missouri and currently live and work here. However, I would love to move to the beach in the next few years!
How did yoga come into your life and what has that journey been like for you?
I was always a very athletic child. I played soccer, basketball, volleyball, the like. I had a full-ride scholarship to college for soccer and decided that I wanted to deviate from the path that was laid out for me, yet felt this yearning for the discipline and structure that I always had from sports. A friend asked me to join her for a hatha yoga class at a local studio. I bounced from studio to studio taking different styles and methods of Yoga until I walked into an Ashtanga class 10 years ago. I was hooked! The discipline, the structure, the rigidity, the spiritually inclined philosophical teachings were everything that I needed at the ripe age of 19. I continue to take classes at that same studio to date and owe so much of my physical, spiritual, and mental growth to this practice.
How has yoga changed and what do you feel it creates in your daily life?
Yoga has dramatically shifted my life and my practice has evolved significantly over the years. It creates stability and comfort for me while also providing a strict and disciplined format that I can rely on. The asana practice is like a safe laboratory to explore the often unsafe challenges of the world around us. For this reason, I find everything that I need through the practice.
What is yoga to you?
Yoga to me is a way of exploring the inner self. I feel that our biggest disease in the west is our disconnect with ourselves. Thus, I find that the more I practice, the closer I get to my purest form.
How did you feel after your first yoga class and how do you feel this influences or impacts the space you create for your students?
After my first Yoga class, I remember feeling things I had never felt before. Places in the body, places in the mind and the space between felt as if a veil had been lifted. For this reason, I tell my students to let go of everything they think they know about the body, the mind, the breath, and the practice as every time we step onto our mat we come with a brand new body, set of intentions, stressors, triggers and truamas. So, it is important to view every class regardless of how seasoned you are as you viewed your first: Knowing nothing and ready to learn about not only the practice, but the self.
Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved, and transformed?
I was lucky to have found Yoga at a young age, so my life before consisted primarily of going to school, playing soccer, and contemplating life. However, Yoga has deeply changed me since discovering it. My whole life pivoted in the direction of Yoga. I don’t do Yoga, I am Yoga!
Why did you decide to start teaching yoga and what qualities do you feel are important to build and work on as a yoga teacher?
In the beginning, my intention was actually not to teach. I received my certification in hopes to deepen my own practice. When I arrived home, the studio where I practiced had an opening for an Intro to Ashtanga class on Sunday mornings. I agreed to mentor under the teacher who had been teaching the class for several years prior and ultimately took it over after she left and opened her own studio. I feel it is vital to be authentic & provide a modern take on ancient teachings to the best of your ability.
What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in the practice, in teaching, and within the yoga community?
In my practice & teaching my biggest milestone was myself. I am a type-A person, I guess a lot of us Ashtangis are, huh? Thus, the ego and I have a hot and cold relationship. Within the Yoga community, I have found that it is important to remember that everyone is human.
What has been the most inspirational moment you’ve experienced as a yoga student?
Practicing with Kino is definitely up there! Although, traveling to India to live and breathe Yoga for 5 weeks wasn’t bad either!
Why do you practice?
I practice in order to develop a deeper relationship with myself and the world around me, to transcend the limits of the mind, and to tap into something limitless.
Why do you teach?
I teach to share the method of Yoga. This practice is so powerful and so healing for the mind, body, and soul…I feel it’s my duty to be a vessel to pass on the knowledge.
What is the single most defining issue facing the global yoga community today?
I feel that saturation is a big issue. Yoga is much like the game of telephone. One person’s Guru told them something which was interpreted by someone else as such and so on and so forth and the next thing you know there is Rage Yoga and Goat Yoga and Beer Yoga and it dilutes the integrity of the method itself.
Do you have any recommended yoga reading?
I highly recommend educational books like:
- Light on Yoga
- The Living Gita
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
- How Yoga Works
- The Journey Home
Also anything Kino writes is gold!
Through your own personal journey, what do you feel is your path and offering to the community- local and global?
I feel that my offering is to share a life of health and happiness with everyone around me. To preach the power of personalized nutrition and to spread the message of Yoga!
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?
Just keep coming! The first few classes are always the most vulnerable and then you’ll be hooked!
Are there any current projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?
I am currently holding a Mentorship Mastermind Program for new and aspiring Yoga instructors. I will be holding 2 per year! Other than that, I am working on some upcoming events, collaborations, teaching experiences, etc. so just stay in the loop on my Instagram, website or newsletter!
What’s your Favorite Book?
All time favorite book is WomanCode. Totally changed my life.
What’s your favorite meal at a restaurant?
I am a sucker for ravioli!
What’s your favorite meal to make at home?
My Fiance and I make a mean gf vegan lasagna, mac n cheese & Shakshuka. We also love homemade cesar salads with grilled salmon! I am always experimenting for work and recently we have done a lot of soups… vegan potato soup… to die for! Oh and all of the smoothies, juices, protein balls and anything breakfast all of the time!
What do you like to do for fun that’s non-yoga related?
I have a huge garden with chickens that I tend to! I love to be outside in the sun by the water. I like to read, cook, eat, and i’ll admit it…I indulge in reality TV from time to time!
Who is your greatest inspiration?
Kino! She has really built an empire, yet is incredibly humble despite being one of the most well-spoken and well-read FEMALE individuals in her field. She is an expert and has devoted her life to the practice and I commend her!
Do you have a favorite podcast?
I love Stuff You Should Know! They are always discussing new and interesting topics, telling crazy stories or recounting historical events. Definitely worth listening to!
I also love podcasts on women in business, relationship advice, nutrition and health, science, mindfulness and self-growth
If you were stranded on an island what 3 things would you bring with you?
Swiss army knife/machete, matches/mirror, sleeping bag (trying to be realistic)
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a lot of things that kids say they want: A doctor, a lawyer, the like, but I always thought I would be a professional soccer player.
What’s your favorite movie?
That’s a hard one… Definitely a Wes Anderson film!
What’s your favorite TV series?
Well… Since the pandemic, my tv watching norm has shifted. As of late, I have been hooked to 90 Day Fiance… But I also love crime shows, docu-series, and Bobs Burgers!
Do you have a favorite band/singer?
Also a hard one! I am really all over the map from Fleetwood Mac to Lauren Hill to Rolling Stones to Linda Rhondstat to Childish Gambino…
Favorite song to dance to?
I’ve been listening to Feels Like Summer a lot recently and that has a good shoulder shimmy to it!
What’s your favorite quote/affirmation/mantra?
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
What is your life’s biggest question?
I am one of those types of people that just wants to know it all and I am trying to be okay with more observation.
Emily is a yoga teacher turned holistic healer. She has a passion for getting upside down and being involved in her community. She is a licensed Holistic Nutritionist and Ashtanga Yoga Instructor with more than 10 years of personal practice and 6 years of teaching experience. She started her own wellness business in 2017 where she preaches the power of personalized nutrition to all of her clients! She specializes in gut health and hormone harmony and believes that with the right guidance, tools, and motivation we can all take back the reigns of our health through sustainable yet systematic practices!
Check out her specialty course on Omstars, Hormone Harmony 101.