in the middle of it all
This page is all about me. My work, passions, highs, lows, and everything I sit in the middle of. It's the space where I talk about all the things that light my fire, keep me up at night, and bring me peace. I am a multi-dimensional woman not defined but just one thing. I have interests in education, yoga, literature, self-care, woman's rights, food, travel, and family. I am fiercely committed to blazing new trails while honoring those who have helped along the way. I love big, feel everything, and have a terrible time letting go, especially when it's someone or something I deeply love. I also know that change is unavoidable, and often out of our control and to heal I must make peace with what was, and stay open to what could be. I'm learning to love the space between letting go and starting something new. I'm trusting that what is truly meant for me, will come to me. Until then, I work tirelessly to stay present, use my voice even if it's scary, and always tell myself something positive once a time. At 52, I feel like I have so much more to do and give, which is why I'm always in the middle of many things. I have more ideas to share, adventures I want to go on, all while living in the moment of this one life I get to live. I hope to leave a mark that looks and feels like the size of my heart. 💛
My Work off the Mat
Outside the yoga studio, off the mat, I've dedicated my career to working with neurodivergent students and their families. I've navigated the special education discourse with an open mind that doesn't hesitate to ask why. I believe that education is the great equalizer, but history and my work have taught me that the playing field is anything but equal and fair. Simply said, it's not and shouldn't be a one size fits all model, everyone should have a place and space to develop, learn and grow. My work has led me to serve as a voice for the population I serve. I anchor my position in the knowledge I've acquired through post-secondary work where I hold a BA in Special Education, MS in Secondary and Continuing Education, and an EdD in Education Leadership and Foundations. The opportunity to advance my degrees has solidified my passion to be a bridge for my students and their families as they navigate publicly funded education. It is my hope that I can bring us closer to that great equalizer.
In the classroom I work to honor the student, to build repertoire, trust and a relationship. This relationship and trust is extended to their families as well. This is the foundation where our big work in the classroom builds. Outside the classroom I am forever a student having finished my dissertation, which focused on the lived experiences of students with disabilities. I approach the classroom, research and curriculum from a rights based focus, while also striving to immerse my students in their larger school community.
My Work on the Mat
To truly understand my work on the mat, it's important to go back to the start. I've always been active, primarily with the mindset that I needed to lose weight. I can say with confidence I've been dieting since I was 13. If only my 52 year old, fully in menopause self could go back at tell the younger me how good I looked!
My journey to the mat was by chance. The local YMCA started offering yoga, and curiosity got the best of me. There wasn't social media, so I knew very little about the practice. I had zero point of reference, and I'm grateful for that. It was me, the mat and a slightly grumpy yoga instructor. Despite her demeanor, I was hooked and purely for the physical challenge. It was hard, but the ending was unlike anything I had ever felt. We call that savasana by the way. I was thirty years old and for the first time in my life my workout didn't feel like a chore. The big shift came almost ten years later when I took a class at a yoga studio in Chicago. I will never forget the day. I was approaching forty, deeply immersed in a doctoral program at DePaul University, mother to two, and working full-time, the tank was always running on fumes. A good friend encouraged me to pause between classes and join her at class. Although I had been practicing for ten years, I was terrified, and intimidated when I walked in. The class was packed, mats side by side with just a couple inches between them but the view was exceptional and I used it to pull me in and find a spot. I took a deep inhale and practiced. When it was over I was overcome with emotion, something shifted, my body felt as if it cracked open and everything I was holding onto poured out of me. I never looked back. I also lived 90 miles from this magical oasis but it didn't keep me from making the trip. Today, I still practice in that magical studio, but lucky for me, I also have a beautiful home studio. TANA Yoga was born out of my desire to share. To provide a space for others to shift and crack open. I'm thrilled to say after seven years, we continue to grow our yoga community. There truly are no accidents (TANA).