Our Team: PYC St.Catharines
My yoga journey started in 2002 by a chance meeting with a friend at Yoga By Sarah in St. Catharines. My 3 month membership became a year membership. I was intrigued mentally and relieved physically after years of back pain. The tears in savasana didn’t deter me even though I had no idea why they fell. With the encouragement of my yoga teacher Sarah Giovannone, I completed a yoga teacher training program at Yoga Space in Toronto in 2005 and have been teaching since then. I attended conferences and workshops and fine tuned my teaching but still felt incomplete off my mat.
Another chance meeting lead me to Kinndli McCollum, Master Baptiste Certified teacher, whose energy and shine fascinated me. By a friends’ example and encouragement I attended Baron Baptiste’s Journey Into Power Level 1 in Mexico in December 2009 and Level 2 in May 2010. On a personal level, I discovered how to get out of my own way and create healthy relationships and be authentic. Now when I teach, I connect with students beyond the physical practice of yoga and share myself spiritually and mentally. I believe in holding space for you to release your fears, expectations and masks on your mat so you can live in freedom and authenticity off your mat.
I have felt more complete on and off my mat since training with Baron. I understand the root of my tears in savasana and honour what I am experiencing on my mat. When I realized my fear was preventing me from moving forward, I turned my “I want” statements into “I am” statements. I embraced the expression, “If not now, when?” and left my job in social services to teach yoga full time.
Since September 2010, I am teaching yoga full time, have become a Certified Baptiste Teacher. Oh yeah, and living my life with love and authenticity!
I teach yoga because I absolutely LOVE sharing this practice that has revolutionized (I’d even venture to say ‘saved’) my life!
I was drawn to yoga in 2004, at a time when my physical and emotional health were both at a serious low. I was looking for a way to take better care of my body, get a bit more toned, maybe gain a bit more energy. I found all that - and so, so much more.
Yoga has given me a “true north” in my life; a place I can go to where I know myself and I know what’s true. Coming to my mat washes away opinions, expectations, confusions, doubt.... (all the things that hold me back) and replaces the space they held with just pure possibility. No matter what is happening in my life, yoga practice impacts it positively by helping me to see it clearly.
After earning my 200 hour ashtanga certification in 2006, I obtained further certifications in pilates, group exercise, and personal training. In 2009 I began studying directly with Baron Baptiste, and have now completed Foundations in Action, Level I & Level II teacher trainings.
I am so lucky, grateful, and joyful that my life is about sharing this yoga!
I showed up to my first hot yoga class looking for a new workout routine to add to my collection. I loved to immerse myself in all aspects of health, nutrition, and physical exercise so yoga just seemed like the right thing to do! After my first couple yoga sessions I left class feeling angry, empty, and incomplete. On the outside I appeared healthy and fit. I ate well, worked out like crazy, and had a toned physique. But something was standing in my way of really being 'healthy' and more importantly 'happy.' Baron Baptiste frequently reminds his students, "It's not the yoga that makes you unhappy. The yoga makes you realize whats already there!" That statement slapped me right in the face like a glass of ice cold water! I became aware of how my ego was showing up every day and controlling my need to eat perfectly, work out constantly and look good for others. As a result, I was suffering. Yoga stripped away layers and layers of anger and resentment that I was holding onto from my past. It brought to light my intense fear of being seen for who I truly am. I was holding back in all areas of my life! I now realize that who I am is beautiful, powerful and just plain amazing! We truly are fearful of stepping into our own greatness. Yoga and PYC has provided me with the gift of stepping right through my fears and into my power. Double bonus - I'm more fit and healthy then ever without all the added drama. This practice has changed my life and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share it with others!
At 19, I decided to go to university, the total opposite of my style of learning. I have always learned best by moving and doing so it was a big shift for me mentally and physically. I started to experience panic and anxiety attacks and I couldn't understand why I had the feelings I felt, but I knew I had to make a change in my life. At this point I like to say I didn't find yoga but yoga found me again when I needed it most. A family friend recommended PYC and had mentioned the name Kinndli a light bulb went off in my head. Before I knew it I was back in class with my very first yoga teacher. When I mentioned this coincidence to Kinndli she said "it's not a coincidence, it's fate", since then I feel it has been.
I took the summer and committed it to yoga and myself. The changes I saw within myself came quickly. I fell in love with yoga and the Baptiste practice. Don Miguel Ruiz says that truth is something that can’t be defined by words, and this is how I felt about my relationship to yoga. There was something about it that kept me coming back for more and it was indescribable. The benefits I saw within myself were not just physical but mental and the meaning of yoga shifted for me. It became my outlet; a way for me to express myself creatively through movement and breath in the way that dancing did in the past plus SO much more.
In the same summer I attended Baron's level one teacher training in Catskills New York, participated in Kinndli's 200 hr teacher training and attended Barons Foundations in Action in Toronto. It was like tornado yoga! Since then I have also attended Baron's Level 2 training in Mexico, and I am currently working on becoming a certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Flow teacher. My mat has been my friend, my enemy, my teacher, my cheerleader, my magic carpet, and my playground but most importantly it has been my mirror to my inner self. I have transformed and grown on my mat but I have also grown up on my mat. Becoming aware of who I am on my mat, I have been able to see who I am being in my life. My mat has allowed me to step up to the edge of what I thought I was capable of and I have been able to exceed my own expectations of what is possible both on and off my mat.
I have been so blessed to have found this amazing community that Kinndli and Pauline have created, every day in every class I am reminded of how yoga is a powerful vehicle for change and transformation and how important it is to be BIG in your life and to take action right NOW. If not now, when? And if not you, who? And at this time I have run out of rhymes, just get on your mat, and that's all I have to say about that!
Before I found my passion for yoga, I was working in the corporate world as a Human Resource Manager. My life literally took a turn in 2010 when I was in a car accident, which resulted in my back injury. My injury compelled me to take time off from my career to physically recover from the accident. Determined to get back on my feet, I enrolled myself in physiotherapy and during that time was also recommended to try yoga.
I checked out a few yoga studios within my area but there was nothing that had really stood out to me, until January 2011 when my friend Ann Foster introduced me to Power Yoga Canada. She asked me to attend a class with her at the studio in Clarkson, and that’s when my entire life changed. I knew I had truly found my path I wanted to take.
I took my first class at PYC with Pino Rizzi, and I have never experienced a yoga class like that ever in my life. After that incredible experience, I immediately enrolled with PYC and became instantly hooked! This community I was now a part of was filled with amazing and extremely motivating people. With each class I attended my practice deepened, and not only helped me become physically stronger, but began to change my entire outlook on life.
After practicing consistently through PYC and in Kinndli and Pauline’s classes several times, I knew in my heart, the next step for me was to enroll in their teaching training program. I was so passionate to teach those that wanted to share the shine.
At the time of teachers training, I was going through several hardships. I resigned from my position in the corporate world, my long term relationship had ended, which also meant I was now on the hunt for a new home. With the miraculous help of yoga, I stayed focused and only kept moving forward towards many positive opportunities that lied ahead for me.
After the completion of teachers training, I decided to take the leap and become a yoga instructor. I knew this was where my journey was about to begin, and this feeling of pure contentment was the best feeling ever. Knowing this is where I was supposed to be all along.
Thus far, I have completed level 1 & 2 training with Baron Baptiste, Level 1 in Arizona and Level 2 in New York. I am currently working on my Baptiste Certification, and after the completion of my certification, I am eagerly looking forward to moving on to Level 3!
Through practicing and teaching yoga, I have applied those tools which helped me constructively transform my life. It has helped me to peel away the layers I had worn as a defense for so many years and pushed me to the edge, out of my boundaries and into a whole new realm of possibilities. What has resonated for me in yoga and in my life, is what I strive to share with others.
I am so grateful to be a part of such a positive and powerful community, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach at PYC. I would like to sincerely thank all of the teachers at that have paved this path I have taken; Kinndli McCollum, Pauline Caballero and Baron Baptiste for truly inspiring me to be where I am today!