2020 marks my 20th year teaching yoga, and the 10th year of Full Circle Yoga & Healing Arts. How I practice is gentler, my teaching refined, but my desire to make a big impact with a core message of compassion and Oneness is the same.
Back in 2000, I took my first yoga teacher training at The Yoga Experience, a little privately-owned center in Huntington Beach. Shortly afterward, the studio relocated to a strip mall in Tustin adjacent to a Chinese take-out that occasionally wafted a noodly aroma through the vents while in savasana. But it was a cozy room for 15 mats laid out on carpet flooring. Every thought was given to comfort and care for the students-- lavender eye pillows laid neatly in a basket next to foam blocks. Silk ties hung along wall hooks above clean and neatly folded blankets. My favorite was a water feature in the back corner that disguised environmental distractions from the strip center. This veritable refuge became the template for what was to become Full Circle Yoga many years later.
I was offered my first yoga teaching job the same year I finished training. My teacher told me I should always teach one class a week no matter what, for personal development and to keep my confidence up (she said something about my throat chakra needing opening, or some such theory I did not fully understand at the time.) Within a few months time, I was offered another teaching opportunity. Given my paramedical background in respiratory therapy, I knew more about respiratory anatomy than my teacher, so I was asked to teach the anatomy portion of yoga teacher training to her next group of trainees. At each step I was nervous as heck, but my answer was always, "yes." My teacher saw in me what I could barely see in myself, so I owed it to her to always try my best.
When the Yoga Experience closed down permanently in 2001, I felt I had only just dipped my toe into the small scale yoga studio scene, and it was already beginning to end. The physical fitness culture was taking off. Gyms started offering yoga classes, and big box studios were opening everywhere. Small independent studios were swallowed up in record numbers by franchises offering large classes and Groupons but with little direct teacher to student contact. With few community options available to me, I lost myself for a little while in the south OC hot yoga franchises where no body knew my name, and nobody seemed to care.
When my husband, Jeff, and I settled down in Yorba Linda in 2005, there was a notable lack of holistic health offerings in our area which we resolved to change. We opened Full Circle Yoga in 2010 to which we added Healing Arts in 2014 with reiki, energywork, and plant-based nutritional coaching. Over the last decade I have personally had to adapt physically and emotionally from a difficult childbirth, recovery from herniated discs, and a pelvic pain syndrome which greatly influenced, and eventually benefitted, how I teach. On a fiscal level we responded to the challenge of more large studios entering the area by restructuring our studio model to be more teacher-student centered rather than membership-sales oriented. We embraced staying independent and personable which has drawn hundreds of dedicated students to us and the most compassionate and talented teachers and healers we could ever hope for.
As we enter the new decade of the 20's, we look forward to hosting traveling and local teachers at Full Circle who will bring a fresh enthusiasm and innovation for ancient teachings. I will continue to hold space for private and group sessions, but I'm excited to also give more talks based on principles written in my book, The Gift of Awakening called "Care for the Spiritual Empath," and "Tools for the Spiritual Empath."
You can find the dates for these "Care" and "Tools" talks and more on my Services & Schedule page.
Let's come together with more compassion and kindness this year, ready to learn and use the new tools we're all going to need for humanity to realize its Oneness.