How my destiny found its way to Yoga.
Brace yourself, grab some coffee or popcorn, this is going to a long beautiful ride!
Growing up in Laguna Beach, California was the token to my path as a Yogi. I took my first yoga class when I was 15 years old. At this age I was a highly competitive Varsity cross country and track runner that needed to stretch badly but refused. I was rebellious, hard headed and I was also very injured because of it. My running coach, Earl Lee Towner, guided me to do yoga and the new hot thing at this time, 2006, was Bikram Hot Yoga. My girlfriend, Nikki Honokar, whom I had and still have a very cosmic connection with, told me I would just love it. So I tried it. My competitive spirit was disgusted with how hard it was. So I kept going and through this process of just trying to get through a whole class without wanting to barf, I began my passage of getting to know myself by truly seeing myself. What I uncovered, I was hardheaded and had a big personality i.e. BIG EGO.
From going to Yoga as much as I could in high school, I began to soften and open up to my truth. During this time there were few people that I could truly connect except sweet Nikki, we could express our cosmic insight with each other, it was with her that we found that we were truly different from our peers. We saw the bigger picture. We were “awake” is what we would always say (before it was a saying). Our deep knowing that had no merit in our adolescence, we would just connect with each other. It was hard to connect with the world being a teenager and yoga was the first place where everything made sense, where I no longer felt like I had to explain my deep knowing that’s always been with me. This complex life was starting to make sense. Living in Laguna all of sudden wasn’t a good fit for me, I needed to be around like minded peers, so I moved to Telluride Colorado, where my mama was living at the time. I ended up finding everything that I needed in Telluride, from lifetime friends and peers that cared more about nature then how they looked.
When I was 17 years old, just graduating high school in Telluride, I was infuriated with the concept of college. How was I supposed to know what I wanted to do with my life at that age. I didn’t even really know myself. I felt I really needed to “find myself” before I could make any serious life decision that could put me in debt for a very long time. It had to be worth it. I love education but picking my studies for my life career path was a big deal for me, and it was overwhelming to say the least. Why weren’t there any courses for this? There were, but it takes life to learn who you are. I knew at that age I wanted to own an Art Gallery. I didn’t know why, except I liked the idea of working for myself and having the “Art Gallery” lifestyle. At that point of my life that made sense to me. So I decided to go to Art school to learn about Art and fine tune my creative skills. I could draw, paint and was pretty creative so naturally it was the first decision that felt so right. Because even if I didn’t own an Art gallery, The world of Art was so vast I could do anything! Opening me up to the infinite possibilities of what I could do with my career, creating my career made the most sense overall as if fed a large part of who I am.
I went to Art school in Portland Oregon at Pacific Northwest College of Art and it was an absolute dream. It was everything I wanted. And through stroking my creative awe inspiring juices by making art, writing about it, critiquing about it, peeling it apart and finding every underlying figurative meaning while overusing the word juxtaposition, I found that wellness is exactly what I wanted to do with my life. That summer after my first year of college, I embarked on my dedicated Yogi path and to my pleasant awe inspiring surprise, I continued to find more of myself. My heart Called to be a teacher, a Yoga Teacher, A teacher of life and philosophy. I’ve always been very philosophical with an insatiable curiosity of why we are here and what all this is for. I decided I wanted to put Art school on pause and follow my dream of being a teacher. I dropped out of school and went back to the Westerm Slope in Colorado.
All of a sudden I was lost. Why did I leave school where I was excelling and really feeling good? Did I make a huge mistake!? I started to feel low and not knowing where to turn next in life. All I knew is I wanted it to be good and worthwhile, I wanted to be in service of my creator and make my parents proud. Being young and unaware of where to start, I let myself pause. I can attest that there is fertile abundance in the depth of the unknown in that pregnant pause that so many of us have experienced recently.
There is so much magic in pausing and letting go in the space of faith. I notice till this day that some of the biggest shifts of my life happen with this pregnant pause. Like stepping into Yoga House as a potential leader of the Yoga Community in Montrose. I can see the pause is an integral part of my alchemical process. Having to slow down and reassess what really matters. Through my pause I moved back to Southern California, To Laguna my home and oasis. Not too long after an amazing woman named Susie aka “Mama Suz” came into my life. She saw something big in me and would always come over to hang out with me and my dad. Susie is around my parents age and was a perfect guide for me during this time. She kept saying how excited she was to do this yoga teacher training. I would always have this longing dreamy look in my eyes when she would talk about it. I thought of course I would attract a mother figure, big sister, friend into my life that just so happens to be embarking on a teacher training. I thought nothing of it other than about how great it would be if I could have that too. She noticed my admiring excitement for her journey and asked if I wanted to come!? I was like “is this lady serious!?”
I told her I couldn’t afford it and that it probably would never happen. She said “Nonsense! we will find a way to make it happen”. And to my greatest dream and surprise – we did! She brought me to her donation yoga in Dana point, now known as “iheart yoga in the park” to meet the teacher, Carolyn Long, who was guiding the training. I was in love with her teaching style. She was strong, passionate, encouraging, she reminded me of my tough love grandmother back in New york. That tough “brick purse” love.( Short story and shout out to My grandmother Mrs. Frances Brooks, walked around New York City with a micro-sized Mary Poppins, purse, it was like a drug store and library all in one and it was solid as a brick.. Several bricks actually and she was never afraid to use it on anyone or anything lol. But Most of all, She always had the greatest of intentions for you to always be the best version of yourself, grandmother Frances was a New York city grade school teacher.)
Anywho back to my story, I was SOLD! Carolyn, my teacher, was familiar and very disciplined and not afraid to implement those disciplines in her teachings. She wasn’t interested in guiding people through a class where OC women can show off their cool yoga clothes teaching a fun funky flow to match. She was the real deal. She was interested in your growth of Self, your growth of heart. She was interested in guiding people back to themselves, teaching them the disciplines it takes to get there. To me, at that time, she was perfect for me. I could only dream to be as diligent of a teacher as she is and continues to be, and she would be so raw and is so herself! I admire her deeply. Susie and I then went to the first “meet and greet” of the teacher training before it started, just so I could meet the teacher in person. Susie would tell “the teacher has to resonate with you or you wouldn’t want to do it.” So I went. And I was stopped dead in my tracks to meet Carolyn Long in the flesh as her park yoga classes would have upward of 100 people sometimes. She is like a local legend.
My first day of teacher training I finally found myself where I needed to be, I realized I was exactly where I needed to be the whole time. I was so relieved that I had found my truth, my joy, my path. Fast forward and I graduate my 200hr YTT at the end of November 2012. I was ready for the world! Somewhat.. Lol. I tried so hard to get into any studio that I could and it wasn’t till then I found myself in a very competitive industry. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. But I didn’t care. I was a yoga teacher with a message and a gift to share – for the first time I really believed in myself! That I could do anything I put my mind to! I had made it! Leaving Art school wasn’t all for nothing. I was on my path.
With all my gusto I decided to start something on my own. Still living in Laguna and loving park yoga outside. I started my own donation Yoga. I couldn’t believe all the support I got from my friends from TT, my childhood besties and the community. I passed out flyers around town and had so much fun making this little business happen for myself. On my second day of having my donation yoga, the park was filled with people, over 13 guests. I had to get a permit to teach yoga in the park and to my surprise, Laguna allows donation style services in any of their parks permit free as long as you donate 30% profit to a non profit organization. (Love my hometown). My seva and service was to the BEEs and colony collapse disorder. Bliss Bee Yoga is born.
At the time of all of this happening, I was nannying one of the greatest kids of all time, BRAVE! His Godfather is George Langworthy who created the documentary vanishing of the bees. George would talk to me and mentor me on the BEE Keeping movement and how it was so powerful as a way to help preserve our incredible planet. I am forever inspired by this time of my life. I donated to a few bee conservation organizations and felt so empowered. From then on I always wanted my teaching journey to represent my part in taking care of our precious planet, I always wanted my teaching Journey to reflect an environmental philanthropy.
I went on to teach in more places like Crossfit and hot yoga studios in town. All of sudden I could get into some of the toughest studios in town because I was well known and I had experience all from my donation Yoga. With all the amazing accomplishments I made in a year I decided I wanted to travel. I headed out to Northern california to do what you do in Norcal and found myself in square one again. “Why did I leave all my legacy behind!?” My donation yoga was so popular. Why must I always be on the journey, why can’t I just enjoy the ride, I thought to myself. Back to the drawing board with this significant pause at my feet again. I lean in.
I moved back to Colorado and decided I wanted to become a full time YOGA Instructor and earn my ERYT (experienced registered yoga teacher : a title and credential that is gained after teaching over 1000 hours of yoga). When I first got back to Telluride it was like being at square one again. I had to start over and donation yoga in the mountains to help “get myself out there” wasn’t an option unless it was seasonal. It was harder than I thought it would be as Telluride is all about networking and community which actually turned out to be a blessing. I just waited it out and started working at Telluride Eco cleaners. Megan, one of the owners of Eco Cleaners introduced me to one of her was best friends who was the Peaks fitness manager at the time and sent me her way to start teaching at the peaks. I started at the Peaks and had good success with a slow steady build over time. At first I had a hard time getting into just any studio as it was clear at this time that you have to know someone or be well known. I worked my way up to teaching 4- 5 classes a week rather quickly. Eventually I started to make an impression on the yoga industry in Telluride.
From the peaks, I started teaching at M Studio ( the mind body studio of the Madeline Hotel) and taught 4 classes. From M studio I got to know Sara Ward a very well know yogi in Telluride. She guided me to Studio E, a hot yoga studio in town at the time. Fast forward and all of sudden my impression on the Yoga Community was bigger then I imagined. I would go around town and people would stop me asking me if I was Chanel, the Yoga teacher. At this point I had taught all over at every single studio that was around at the time in Telluride. I eventually went on to teach at Mangala Yoga and Telluride Yoga Center. My goal was reached to be a full time teacher and get over 1000hours of teaching. What a hustle but I made it happen. Once I hit that goal, I found my self at ground zero again. Not sure where to turn. What was my next goal ? I knew at this point was to teach a teacher training but I had no idea where to start.
After finding out I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband, Adam and I moved to Montrose to be closer to family as my Mom lives here in Montrose. I took a much needed break from teaching to focus on my daughter, Lilou. After she was 4 months old, I felt the need to maybe start teaching again. I tried the Rec center but they were full with classes so I let it go. During this time Adam and I were embarking on our next adventure of moving to the Pacific Northwest as we both love Portland Oregon so much. We moved in with my mom to get us there faster and during that time living with my Mom, some of my fondest memories, Lilou so young, my mom getting to bond with her and just being close to family felt so nurturing. During this pause, I had embarked upon a 30 day challenge of 30 days of gratitude where I had to be grateful, and choose Joy overall everyday for 30 days and set all other feelings on the shelf just for 30 days. I was reading how powerful it was and how it can change your life and rewrite how we thing. Well to say the least it did. I always say, “what you give out, is what you get back” and during those 30 days of gratitude, I found Yoga House. I had ironically passed by the studio every day and never noticed, but it was once I was fully present in my heart that it popped out at me one day going out to dinner at Hiro Sushi. Little did I know that my life was about to significantly change forever.
I went across the street to grab a brochure and messaged Melissa that night! Letting her know that I would mop her floors and would love to be of service in any way she might need. She asked me on the spot if I wanted to teach. I thought when does this EVER happen!? I of course said and yes and truly the rest is history. When we would get together it always seemed like there was never enough time. We had an instant connection and would love exchanging ideas with each other about ways we can grow in our offerings. First we offered a Workshop. Then we embarked upon setting up a curriculum of CMU – Colorado Mesa University. Teaching College level Yoga course from the studio. After the tedious set up of CMU the light bulb went off with both of us about setting up a teacher training. After teaching CMU Melissa and I both knew it was time to embark on designing a teacher training together. It took us about a year to set the whole thing up meeting every Wednesday. Working with Melissa has be the ultimate highlight of my Yogic Career and its safe to say if it wasn’t for her I would be where I am today. Melissa and I covered a lot of ground together as teachers and really uncovered our deepest truths as teachers. During all of this Adam and I were growing our family and our second baby was on the way! Melissa was the first person I told, and of course she knew! lol. I was so nervous to tell Melissa as we made huge plans for 2020 as our first year of teacher training.
Needless to say we successfully set up our teacher training and embarked to teaching our first teacher training the summer of 2020.
“There is so much magic in pausing and letting go in the space of faith.” The greatest pause of my life lead us to the greatest shift of all time, the global pause that led me and my family to owning Yoga House. Just before the pandemic, I gave birth to my second child on 02•02•2020. As I was taking my maternity leave locking up after my last class little did I know the next time I would be back to Yoga House, I would be completely transformed with several new roles. A mother of two babies and owning our first family business at the age of 29. Learn More under about the Owner.