Yoga Class Schedule

I’m so excited to be on the yoga class schedule at two studios in the eastern twin cities metro area. Come take a class with me in Stillwater or Woodbury (on livestream as well!).

YogaFresh (Woodbury, Minnesota) Yoga Class Schedule

I’m teaching two classes per week at YogaFresh, located just off I-94 and Woodbury Drive. After I completed my soma yoga training at Tula, I sought out a studio that was forward thinking and had a base clientele who would appreciate the modality. YogaFresh is the right place. Jen, the owner and manager, has done an amazing job in creating a schedule that does the impossible, offering something for everyone. From barre to hot to vinyasa to restorative and soma, it’s there. YogaFresh also has a great set up for live streaming where it really feels like those at home are in the studio with us.

Here is the yoga class I’m teaching in Woodbury:

Vinyasa FreshFlow, Wednesdays at 9:30am

This creative and dynamic flow practice will allow you to move at your own pace with sequences of sun salutations and other postures to create a customized class experience while building strength, balance and flexibility. Vinyasa FreshFlow is open to ALL LEVELS of students and will meet each yogi at their own level of practice by providing beginner students with options for support and modifications and more advanced students with options to deepen their experience and move into more advanced variations each with mindfulness to alignment and breath. Some knowledge of basic yoga postures and sun salutations is recommended.

From the website

Gentle Yoga, Sundays at 10:45am

This slower and supportive practice offers a balance of alignment, breathing and movement to strengthen and stretch your body while relieving stress and tension in the mind through gentle transitions and minimal weight bearing on your hands. Gentle Yoga is an excellent option for both beginners and those who prefer a less vigorous class or are experiencing illness, injury or chronic pain. We will provide modifications and props while moving at a perfectly slower pace – allowing for extra time to enjoy each pose.

From the website

River Valley Athletic Club (Stillwater, Minnesota) Yoga Class Schedule

Moving to Stillwater is great for my family, but I wasn’t sure how to contribute to the local yoga scene. There are a few different studios, each with their own vibe. With the pandemic still raging, I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing drop in classes (and a few studios are online only). When my husband and I started looking up centers, River Valley Athletic Club I saw the fitness instructor openings. And I applied. Voila!

Yoga Flow, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm

This 45 minute class is the perfect companion to cardio, weight training, or other high intensity workouts. Yoga Flow focuses on integrative alignment through sun salutations series A and B, keeping your heart rate in performance zone. The final 15 minutes of class will slow down gradually to end in savasana, allowing your body to efficiently cool and digest all the benefits of your workout. Yoga Flow is accessible to all.

Practice With Me!

While these are the only two studios at which I’m teaching in person, I’m still open to other opportunities.

I’ve helped create corporate meditation programs as well as personalized approaches for students. If you want to work with me, let me know!

Spring Cleaning for Your Well-being

Most of the yard is covered in 18+ inches of snow right now. The driveway is slick with ice and slush. And yet.

And yet I can feel spring in the air. It’s almost like a psychic form of proprioception. I can’t see the flowers and grass yet, but I know they’re waking up. There are more birds outside, the squirrels and chipmunks are skittering over the snow more often.

Having spent my entire life in the northern Midwestern states, my body is pretty attuned to the changing seasons. Mother Nature moves in a fluid, organic way, and leaning into it can feel better than pushing against it or trying to hurry it up.

Spring is also when we look to throw out the old and bring in the new. Over the next month, I’m hosting a workshop and kicking off a lunch time series dedicated to this inspiration. We’ll take stock of the things that aren’t serving us – from a physical and mental perspective – and do a little spring cleaning in both areas! 

Mudita Wellness 8 Week Series

Over the course of this 8-week series, we’ll move through a themed sequence of postures sourced from Yin, Soma, and other modalities. Paired with readings on regeneration, awakening, and rebirth, we’ll tune our souls with the changing season and emerge like buds ready to flower.

Yogafresh Workshop

The workshop at Yogafresh will be a heavily condensed version of the 8 week series. We’ll move thoughtfully, roll around a little, and reflect.

Transitional Season Feelings

Making it through winter is worthy of a little pat on the back. Enduring spring, which can feel like 2 steps forward/one step back, takes another kind of fortitude.

My perfect springtime routine usually involves waking early with the sun, and seeking out fresh fruits and vegetables and lighter food overall. I want to be outside more, dig in the dirt and see what comes up. My kapha qualities are exacerbated in the spring, but in the best way. Creating a routine that feels good and in alignment with my higher self is usually what I need to see my way through the season.

What does your spring routine look like?

Bringing Progressive Muscle Relaxation into Yoga Classes

In April 2018, I had been teaching yoga for all of three months at the YMCA. Then, I was slowly working on branching out and practicing new things and learning more about the space, and where I fit into it, when I was offered to take on a 2x-a-week class at a nearby chiropractic practice. This was one of the most transformational parts of my teaching career, and where I first started using progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)in class.

But classes were never big – it averaged 4 ladies, 3 of whom lived in a row – and a few other folks who wandered in time to time, stayed for a bit, then left. And at the time, I was so, unbelievably green when I started at this clinic. But these ladies were so gracious and kind, they welcomed my style and were game for any new techniques I wanted to try out with them. And PMR was something that became a regular part of our classes.

What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation

PMR is a technique to alleviate tension and stress in the body. People also use it in conjunction with cognitive behavioral theory or systematic desensitization. But PMR can help with more than anxiety with chronic tension and stress. PMR helps with low back pain, high blood pressure, migraines, and more. I would venture to say that anyone, no matter how healthy or fit, would benefit from a regular PMR practice.

This is how I typically teach PMR in my yoga classes. But there are many other ways to teach it or integrate it into your day as well. Try on variations and find what works for you (or reach out for alternative ideas).

Practicing PMR

  1. Prepare by dressing in loose, comfy clothes. Find a warm space that’s as free from distractions as possible. This practice is most effective with eyes closed, so removing contacts ahead of time can help take away any potential disruption. Gather any props that help you lay comfortably, like a bolster under knees or pillow under the head. Eyepillows can be especially effective as well.
  2. Allow your hands to rest on your belly to start. First noticing the breath, and where it goes. Is it shallow? Is it deep? Can you engage your abdomen so that you feel your stomach inflate before your chest? Help students learn how to drive their breath lower and deeper. Engage in a diaphragmatic breath. I usually begin to institute a kind of count here for the breath to create rhythm.
  3. Talk through the different muscle groups you’re going to focus on. I usually divide into 5 areas:
    • Below the knees: toes, feet and calves
    • Between the knees and belly button: thighs, glutes, pelvic floor, and psoas
    • Torso: belly, chest and back
    • Neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers
    • Face and head
    • The whole body
  4. Begin to cue introducing tension on an inhale. Tightening muscles as appropriate for each section. Curl the toes or fingers. Squish up your face and open the mouth in a snarl. Feel your tummy twist up. I usually cue something like, inhale for 5 and begin to tense and hold.
  5. Exhale and cue the release, letting it take the entirety of their breath out to release the tension. Wait a few breaths in between before repeating (I do each section two times) or moving on. Push them to luxuriate in the softness of release and relaxation.
  6. Travel up the body (some practices recommend starting from the head down, but I feel it’s more effective from the feet up). At the end, after the whole body approach, take a long savasana.
Progessive muscle relaxation guide and PRM infographic

Pairing PMR with Yoga Practice

Progressive muscle relaxation clearly lends itself to a restorative practice well. But you can include elements in a faster paced power yoga setting, or set aside time in savasana to do a shortened version. Wherever you can build it into a practice, I guarantee your students will benefit from it.

February Yoga Flow Sequence from the Heart

Any February yoga flow sequence is always dominated by heart openers. Ostensibly, it’s a reference the Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s, or whatever you might be celebrating). But heart openers–or any postures that help the chest open up–are extremely appropriate in the winter months. Especially in the frozen northern midwestern states like Minnesota.

Heart openers have many benefits, but one thing that is especially helpful in the cold months is the effect on the respiratory system. While these particular postures tend to include cues focused on shoulders, pectorals, etc., they also do a great job of relieving pressure on the lungs and can help “clear the air” literally for folks with blockages.

February Yoga Flow Sequence

My February sequence is, naturally, chock full of these kinds of postures. We start slow and on the bellies, then end sunny side up.

Warm up

  • Crocodile
  • Side lying shoulder stretch
  • Sphinx
  • Baby cobra into king cobra
  • Extended childs pose
  • Cat/Cow

Sun A (with optional low lunge sequence if time allows – it does not in my 45 min classes, for example) 3x

Sun B 3x

  • Chair w/ airplane arms
  • One legged tadasana
  • Dancing Ganesh x2
  • Airplane
  • Warrior 2
  • Ext side angle with heart opening bind
  • Ext triangle
  • Revolved triangle with block
  • Chaturanga

Standing series

  • Warrior 1
  • Kali mudra 2x
  • Walk hands to side for wide legged forward fold, options for inversions, etc
  • Single arm twist
  • Star pose
  • Horse pose with cactus arms
  • Star
  • Warrior 2 into chaturanga

Seated postures

  • Camel
  • Rabbit
  • Supta virasana

Restorative postures

  • Supported fish pose with block
  • Bridge (activated, chest expansion options)
  • Supine spinal twist
  • Apanasana into Savasana

Just typing this out makes me want to say ahhh =D

Playlist Options

Shakespeare noted that, “if music be the food of love, play on…” and that’s the inspiration I used for this playlist made up of classic 90s love songs. They double as a kind of soundtrack to my pre-teen years.

Meditation for February Flow Sequencing

Making space for a moment of meditation can feel at odds with the heat and flow we generate in a vinyasa class. But I love to bring in some element of meditation in all of my classes, moments of reflection, guided and unguided. For this month, as we start to feel the budding of spring, I’m using a classic from ee cummings:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

How are you sequencing February flows this month?

Finding Your Voice In and Out of the Studio

“Your voice is so low and melodious, I just kind of tuned out.”

“I love what you’re saying, but I can’t hear it.”


The last note is from my dad, but it’s a refrain that I’ve heard from many people, in many instances, many times. Evidently.

Yet I still have trouble noticing when my voice gets softer. And from what I’ve observed in yoga classes, I’m not the only one. It’s been listed as a reason that I’ve been passed over for instructor roles and something I’ve heard from my time in YTT.

For group fitness instructors, yoga and meditation teachers, or anyone who speaks in a forum-type atmosphere, finding a consistent range of vocal volume with efficient prompts is the bedrock of effective instruction.  This isn’t a recommendation to simply speak in a loud monotone throughout the class; it’s a reminder that everyone, from the seasoned to the green, can enhance clarity in their cues.

How aware are you of your vocal volume when teaching? Or what other factors might affect your student’s ability to understand you?

Try recording your next class or session. Put your phone or device down in one spot. Listen to it afterward (yes, I know, this might be the most painful part of the whole exercise as no one likes listening to their own voice!), and note any of the following tendencies:

  • Can you clearly hear everything?
    If you can hear your voice wavering in and out from the point where you placed your recording device, you can bet that your students are experiencing the same thing.

    There are myriad pieces of advice out there for how to increase volume in the studio. But the basics come down to taking the time to breathe deeply, avoid straining, stay hydrated and find a slow, steady cadence.
  • Are you over- or under-enunciating?
    Our voices naturally go up and down, but sometimes instructors will have an exaggerated emphasis on some words (IN-hale, EX-hale, MAN-tra) that can be distracting.

    If you can hear yourself doing this, tune into why this is happening. For some folks, it’s about breath rhythm or increasing diaphragm strength. Inhale deeply, like you’re literally filling up the entirety of your chest. Hold for a count of four or five, and then exhale for a count of seven or more. Feel the air coming out, deflating your belly. This helps train you to speak from an “expansive area,” as voice coaches call it, resulting in a more measured tone.

  • Are you using filler words?
    Ah, the comfort of filler words. In normal speech, filler words include, um, hmm, and so on. For a yoga instructor, it includes infusing straightforward cues with qualifiers and adjectives. Are you asking students to gently inhale, prefacing postures with I want you to… , or punctuating your classes with great! or good!?

    Becoming comfortable with moments of silence is necessary. You don’t have to offer constant refinements or encouragement. Removing filler words from your vocabulary is a struggle for many people. When you feel the impulse to use a filler word or phrase, try taking a full breath in and out. Is it worth saying?
  • Are you slurring?
    Slurring is starting off a cue or a sentence strongly but then trailing off toward the end.  Your students or audience will hear the first few words clearly but struggle to hear or understand the rest.

    Try talking to yourself while driving, doing laundry, or anything that allows you to effectively multi-task. Pay attention to your sentences, and if you’re maintaining the same volume (or intentionally lowering/increasing if appropriate). If you’re slurring due to feeling out of breath, try to speak slower, take more breaths, and relax.

The goal of each of these exercises is to move from a state of unconscious incompetence—the place where we don’t realize what we’re doing—to unconscious competence, where we can speak well without thinking too much about it. But the steps in between, conscious incompetence (where we’re painfully aware of everything wrong) to conscious competence (where you’re aware that you’re fixing your issues) can be painful. Give yourself the grace to be yourself but accept that it won’t always be perfect.  This will lead to feeling heard, emotionally and literally.

There is some good news for those who need to increase vocal volume. People who are naturally loud and clear speakers can have a hard time modulating their voices between loud and soft, which comes more naturally to us soft-toned folks. Our voices have their own desirable qualities, like being low, melodious, and captivating. Just make sure that your audience can enjoy these qualities, too.

This piece will also appear in the spring issue of MN Yoga + Life magazine.

January Yoga Flow: Back to Basics

January just feels like a time to go back to basics. There can be a lot of focus on making resolutions to better our lives (or as I prefer to do, refine my sankalpa), but sometimes what we really need to is to honestly chill and revisit the places where we’ve become a little complacent. My January yoga flow isn’t necessarily an easy one, I think, but it’s chock full of basic poses and mindful transitions.

Yoga Flow for the New Year

Here’s the basic outline of the flow I’m using in my January classes. It’s easy to level up and level down; I’d love to hear your modifications in the comments!

Sun B

  • Chair
  • Chaturanga
  • Right let right elbow
  • Low lunge
  • Airplane
  • High lunge
  • Warrior 2
  • Ext side angle
  • Reverse warrior
  • Plant palms; standing splits
  • Yogi toe lock
  • Malasana
  • Forward fold
  • Ardha uttanasana
  • Chaturanga

(repeat 3x)

Standing series with core

  • Warrior 1
  • Pyramid hands on the ground
  • Warrior 1; set up arm variation
  • Pyramid with arm variation
  • Low lunge
  • High plank
  • 3 legged stick into
  • Side plank

See what I mean? Basic but with enough ways to add in challenging elements for the more advanced yogis, but easy enough to level down for those who aren’t looking for that. Chef’s kiss.

Tidal Playlist for Yoga & Suggested Mantras

My playlist this month also utilizes some of these themes of basics with the clear encouragement. Some refrains that I’m offering as intentions or mantras for classes are unintentionally sourced from some girl power ballads, but hey. It came from somewhere!

Think try again like Aaliyah, just keep breathin with Ariana, or you won’t break my soul from Beyonce 😉

“Break My Soul” is the divide into the cooldown, so if you’re doing a 45 minute class, you can skip straight there when you get to that point in your class.

Ready for February?

I used to want to be a little more tricky with my theming, but sometimes it’s just too clear to avoid. February – Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, whatever you want to celebrate, let it be love. I’ve got a fun 90’s love song playlist cooking and lots of heart openers (duh) on the way. Let me know what poses you want to see below!