in·spi·ra·tion/ˌinspəˈrāSH(ə)n/ to take in spirit.
As a yoga studio owner and community creator, yoga teacher and sound practitioner, occasional performer and frequent traveler, my life is, and always has been, guided by inspiration.
As a child born in the culturally flat terrain of 1960s SoCal I sought inspiration wherever I could find it. By the sea and at the easel. Thru piano and oboe. In tutus and tap shoes. When my family moved to Mexico in 1968, I dropped out of school to study music and painting at the Bellas Artes Academy. When we returned to the U.S. to live San Francisco, I played piano in the high school jazz band, and attended Mills College, where I earned a B.A. in Dance and Psychology.
In my junior year of college I discovered I could sing.
That's when everything took a left turn.
My passion for dance was replaced with an obsession for singing. I became a professional jazz vocalist. Formed a band, found my sound, performed at festivals and clubs throughout the U.S. and abroad, recorded three critically- acclaimed CDs. I became known for producing a visceral, yet ephemeral sound — “music that hits you in the gut as it messes with your mind.” (San Jose Metro.) I did this for about 20 years.
I was always intrigued with shape-shifting, time-bending, ineffable experiences. And so inspiration gradually lured me from away from jazz into Hindustani music, and away from modern dance to yoga. I studied the two like a woman possessed. I discovered the unbroken thread of sound that runs thru the yoga tradition, and the sonic philosophies shared by both yoga and Indian music. I studied for many years under awe-inspiring teachers and spent decades digging deep into personal practice. Eventually I began teaching SoundYoga, an umbrella term I coined for the many ways in which sound can be used for practices of personal transformation.
My spiritual interests drove my artistic endeavors. I was commissioned by the The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to create an 18-month long project rooted in mantra, culminating in a full-length contemporary theatrical performance featuring the newly-formed, 80-person, Vak Choir of "Everyday Voices" (named after the Vedic Goddess of Word). Shortly thereafter I was commissioned to create an original piece to perform in conjunction with Smithsonian Institute's touring exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. Although I rarely perform these days, on occasion I engage in musical collaborations with musicians I find deeply inspiring.
I currently own and direct Mountain Yoga studio in Oakland where inspiration continues to reign. Our teachers are creative souls seeking to enliven students thru yoga. Our programs highlight sacred arts and inspired minds, and we offer inspirational retreats to international destinations. I teach yoga asana and SoundYoga at Mountain Yoga and other locations in the Bay Area and internationally.
While my life has taken many twists and turns, the through line is clear: a deep desire to explore the beautiful, subtle, and mysterious aspects of being alive. To follow the path of inspiration. To inspire and be inspired.