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I found the North Shore Yoga Co-op when I moved up here from town (Honolulu). At that time I was commuting as an Interior Designer to town and back, and when you’re driving a good 3-4 hours a day the commute gets the best of you. When I first took class at the Co-op with Collette Cameron I new I found a sanctuary, not just in the place but also in her and her teachings. I then saturated myself with all the teachers at that time, Kate Baldwin, Lilly, Nina and Mara and then the Co-op became not only a sanctuary but a spiritual highway. I couldn’t get enough! In the Co-op I found community, mentorship and life long friendship. Through the Co-op I was realigned with my purpose; to teach yoga, to follow my passions and be surrounded in LOVE and support. I now teach here, have left the corporate world of confusion and live to serve. I also opened up my own studio. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the Co-op and the family I have from it. Thank you for creating a place I can share.
Teaching at the Co-op is very special for me. My journey towards becoming an instructor started in a hospital bed. In 2006 I had been a flight attendant for almost a decade, commuting from Hawaii to California regularly. My back was broken inflight. The injury was such that I was asked to remain on the ground in California until it could be satisfactorily resolved. The most challenging part of the injury was that 2 years would go by before I would be allowed to get on a plane…2 years before I could come home!I had been living a nature-oriented and spiritually inclined lifestyle in Hawaii since the early 80’s- raising my son on the North Shore and practicing yoga asana on occasion. I saw a physician in California immediately following my injury which was the spring board into my own discoveries through yoga. While I was going through multiple surgeries I began studying yoga more intensely. By the time I was heading into the last of my surgeries, I signed up for my first teacher training.I would dream about being home in Haleiwa whenever I slept, which was quite often because it was how they kept me still while my spine healed. I was online one day looking for yoga on the North Shore and came across Jasmine Yoga – it was so close to home it made me jump!I looked to see what they offered…and then I wondered if they might be looking for more teachers. I wrote an email while I was in my hospital bed to Mara. I told her that I was from the North Shore, but injured, going through some health issues and also becoming a yoga teacher. I was really nervous as I wrote the note, and I boldly asked if and how I could go about becoming a teacher with her studio. I sent the note and went into surgery. When I opened my email again I found a response! My heart skipped a beat and I swear, I began to heal just by reading her words. She told me that she would love to meet me and I could come in when I returned to the islands and teach a class to the teachers and we would go from there. She wished me a great recovery and congratulated me on my choice to teach. That note motivated me so much!When I finally did return to the island, Jasmine Yoga had changed to the North Shore Yoga Co-Op, and Mara was still there. I began taking classes, but never revealed my email and dream. I practiced and practiced and took more teacher trainings and finally built up the courage to approach her. She offered me an apprenticeship for the Pregnancy Yoga classes that I now teach. While I was going through the surgeries that would change my life, I held onto the hope and words offered by a woman I had never met. I held onto the dream of teaching side by side with these amazing souls, and I learned that there really is no distance when love is the mode of transport.The North Shore Yoga Co-op offered me that vehicle even before my foot stepped onto my mat inside the Weinberg community center. While I was holding my email (dream) within me, the teachers at the co-op were and still are the response that ignited my heart to go on.
My first visit to Hawaii was in 1996, after graduating from college in NYC. My injured body and broken spirit found an option patiently waiting for me: a life of balance, lokahi. I was embraced by the aloha spirit, my senses re-programmed by the ‘aina, and I experienced a sense of well-being for the first time. Through introductions to lomilomi, ho’oponopono, yoga asana, meditation and reiki training, I was becoming more comfortable in my skin and more open to the unknown. So I left. International travel was short-lived as the student loans needed to be paid back!Over the next 6 years living in coastal New England, not a day would pass without a reminder of the islands, calling me back. I became a yoga instructor in 1999, helping my teacher open her first school.My dream to return to Hawaii was fulfilled in 2003. I settled in Haleiwa and was teaching within a few weeks, but the locations available were not conducive for developing a school for all ages and abilities. I was soon immersed in apprenticeships in Shadow, Pregnancy and Mom and Baby yoga at Purple Yoga in Honolulu with Glen Butcher and Cathy Louise Broda. Their encouragement to pass on what I had learned gave me meaning to the term lineage. I was determined to make the practice of yoga accessible, therapeutic and playful, for every age, shape and size.The Weinberg Community Center had been built a few years prior to my arrival on the grounds of the Waialua United Church of Christ. Having been raised by environmentalists, it was no surprise that this hidden gem had been recognized for its sustainable architecture. It was an ideal space. The committee at the center requested a proposal of what I envisioned. After 11 years, it has grown beyond my original mission, now serving the north shore with donation-based classes 6 days a week with a diverse group of 13 incredible instructors, who also host workshops and fundraisers as well.Although I have since relocated to Honolulu to pursue work in the mental health field, I am incredibly grateful to the dedication of Lilly and Collette, the Co-op co-founders. Their collaboration made the early years of Jasmine Yoga possible and they continue to give their time and knowledge unconditionally. Without them, the North Shore Yoga Co-op would have never come to be. We three took a dive into the unknown together, and to all of the instructors that have joined us week after week, year after year, you are forever engrained into the fabric of our story! Mahalo to all who pass through our doors!