1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, but I have lived in Sarasota for nearly 14 years.  My life literally changed overnight at the age of 24 when I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) secondary to high blood pressure.  Just 5 months later, I received a life-saving kidney transplant from my identical twin sister.  In an effort to pay it forward, I have worked in organ procurement for over 10 years to help other potential recipients receive a life-saving transplant.

I started practicing yoga shortly after my transplant to help bring more balance into my life and to continue to heal emotionally and physically after such a trying time.

2. Have you done other styles of Yoga other than Thavma Yoga?

Yes, before Thavma, I did more Vinyasa classes.

3. What made you decide to take your first Thavma Class?

I was not feeling challenged enough at the previous studio in which I practiced and a fellow yogi (Monica Kelly!) encouraged me to try Thavma.

4. What made you choose Thavma Yoga as a Studio?

I instantly fell in love with the studio! The instructors are consistently so detailed when they lead class and therefore encourage a very safe practice that allows growth and advancement without injury.

5. What was your first Thavma yoga experience like?

My first class was a Sunday morning Thavma Red class – it is still one of my favorite classes! After class, one of the students said, “Welcome to the family” and I truly feel like it sums up the culture at Thavma. It is a very encouraging and family-like environment.

6. What makes you come back?

Many things! The very skilled instructors, the challenging classes, the people and the HEAT!

7. How long have you been practicing?

On and off for about 18 years, but more specifically hot yoga for about 3.5 years. I joined Thavma about a year ago.

8. What changes have you seen since you began the practice?

I have historically focused more on flexibility, but Thavma has taught me to focus more on alignment as I advance in postures. The classes have allowed me to become stronger in my flexibility by ensuring that I am properly aligned to safely achieve maximum benefits. I have also felt more balanced on and off the mat, in general.

9. Where have you seen that it helps you?

I think yoga/moving meditation helps in all aspects of life by encouraging more balance and positive energy on and off the mat. I used to run 2 – 3 times per week as recently as May, but I had to stop running for several months due to a hamstring injury that led to bursitis in my knee. My injury actually occurred when the studio was closed due to the pandemic. My body was missing the benefits of yoga! I increased by yoga practice as soon as the studio re-opened in May since running was no longer an option, and it has helped my mind, body and spirit overall. My knee is now healed and I am ready to start running again. I think yoga will be an effective complement to running to prevent more injuries.

10. What is your favorite pose?

Standing bow, pigeon pose for stretching

11. What is your least favorite pose?

The spine-strengthening series, specifically floor bow and half lotus. I have a right pelvic kidney due to my transplant so the floor poses were initially uncomfortable for me since my kidney is not very well protected in my pelvic area. However, I have since increased my comfort level over the last year due to very detailed instructions that allowed a safe approach to each pose. I now appreciate the challenge and the benefits of each spine-strengthening pose.

12. What do you like most about Thavma Yoga?

It is too hard to choose just one thing! I will refer back to what keeps me coming back – The very skilled instructors, the challenging classes, the people and the HEAT!

13. Tell us anything else interesting that you feel you have gained or learned since starting Thavma Yoga.

I have gained many friendships for which I am very thankful!