I sing, teach, do yoga, make music, direct Mountain Yoga studio in Oakland and seek to inspire in all I do. Inspiration — from the latin inspirare. "To take in Spirit."
As a child in 1960s SoCal sought out every form of art available to me. I played piano, took dance classes, studied painting. When my family moved to Mexico, I dropped out of sixth grade to study music and painting at the Bellas Artes Academy. In highschool in San Francisco I was in the jazz band, at Mills College I earned a B.A. in Dance. Despite all this artistic exploration, I didn't discover I could sing until I was almost twenty. And at that moment my life changed.
I left dance and pursued a life as a jazz vocalist. Formed a band, found my sound, performed at festivals and clubs throughout the U.S. and abroad, recorded three critically- acclaimed CDs. My music became known for having a visceral, yet ephemeral quality— or as the late music journalist Nicky Baxter wrote, “it's music that hits you in the gut as it messes with your mind.”
I have always been intrigued with shape-shifting, time-bending, ineffable experiences. So it is no surprise that my interest in singing jazz evolved into studying Hindustani voice, my training in modern dance was supplanted by yoga. I learned that sound was central to the yoga tradition, and from that point I fervently studied yogic sound philosophies and practices. Eventually I began teaching what I coined call Sound Yoga, an umbrella term for the many ways in which sound is used in the yoga tradition.
My spiritual studies found their way into my artistic endeavors. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts commissioned me to create a year-long project culminating in a full-length theatrical piece rooted in my studies of yogic sound. The 80-person Vak choir of "everyday" voices ensued (named after the Vedic goddess of word). Following the YBCA project we performed another commissioned piece in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute's touring exhibition Yoga: The Art of Transformation at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.
I own and direct Mountain Yoga studio in Oakland, where we take the transformational power of inspiration very seriously. In addition to weekly public yoga classes, the studio presents programs that highlight the arts and travel as a form of yoga, a means of transformation. Our Inspiration Series features internationally-recognized musicians, painters, and poets sharing their work and process. Our Inspiration Retreats take students to various parts of the world in unique trips curated to open their mind and free the spirit. I maintain a regular weekly teaching schedule and am a visiting instructor at teacher trainings and workshops across the continent. Occasionally I still collaborate and perform with Bay Area musicians.
While I've done many things in my life, the throughline is clear. To inspire and be inspired. To explore the rich, subtle, beautiful and rather mysterious experience of being human.