200HR Yoga Instructor
Experience Expositions, CEO and Founder
Charlotte, North Carolina
Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
I am the founder and creator of Experience Expositions, which produces North America’s largest yoga festival, The Yoga Expo (12,000+ attendees each year!) Over the last 10 years, I’ve used my events company as a way to inspire people to make the world a better place and to promote sustainable consumption and production. My goal has been to make a green-lifestyle possible for everyday people, by educating them on the environmentally friendly options that are available to them.
I also wrote the book, The Significance of Sustainability, which explores the necessary changes society needs to make in order to preserve and protect the planet.
How and why did you start yoga?
I was producing an event called The Green Planet Festival and was awarded a yoga teacher training scholarship. At the time, I was recognized as a leader in my industry, and I was encouraged to do the yoga teacher training to add value to my overall skillset. I went down to Boca Raton, Florida to complete my 200HR yoga training. After that, I began to realize that so many people only go to one yoga teacher, or only practice one style of yoga, so I wanted to create a community that could bring together yogis to experience new styles, new teachers, and connect with each other. This is how the idea of The Yoga Expo was born!
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
One of my greatest yoga mentors is Corbin Stacy, he’s the one who got me involved. Corbin is the owner and operator of yogaHOme, a studio in Pompano Beach, Florida. Corbin inspired me to take what I was doing with yoga to the next level. Seeing his success, pushed me to create a yoga experience that would engage thousands of people.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
I mostly practice Vinyasa. I wake up every morning and do my own routine at my house. I love how Vinyasa centers you. Each pose is linked to an inhale and exhale, which keeps me focused. Sometimes, it’s hard for my mind to not wander off in the downtime between poses or sequences. Keeping the flow of movements smooth and continuous keeps me present and shuts off all of the other thoughts in my mind. I also love Vinyasa for the cardio, which is an important part of any fitness routine. Vinyasa is great for getting the heart rate up, even when the pace is relatively slow.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Yoga has given me the ability to connect my mind and body, and also helped me to make it a priority to focus on my wellness routine each and every day. My yoga practice has had a tremendous impact on my business and entrepreneurial spirit. Being able to grow my businesses is connected to the fact that I set aside time to shut the rest of the world out and think clearer. Work in general can be very hectic and stressful – if we allow ourselves to get swallowed up in it all, we’ll actually be less productive. Yoga keeps me on track and provides a great escape from work, which actually leads to better overall productivity.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
Every time I step on to the mat, I want to shut my thoughts off and put everything to the side. Letting go – whether that be of stress, thoughts, anxieties – is the mindset I have when I begin my yoga practice. It’s all about trying to get back to the present and shifting my focus away from my constantly growing to-do list.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
Honestly, the opportunity with the yoga teacher training scholarship fell into my lap, but as soon as I took the class, I saw the opportunity to build a community of like-minded individuals. I knew there was so much more than what was on the surface when it came to being a yoga teacher.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
The most rewarding part for me has been creating The Yoga Expo. As an entrepreneur at the core, I saw an opportunity to bring yoga to more people at scale. If you’re a teacher at a studio, you can realistically only teach so many people at once, and I had big dreams of how to take this to the next level. I took my practice and learnings from yoga training and used it as an opportunity to bring it to a large audience. I wanted to expose people to a variety of teachers and yoga styles that differ in experience and passion. For example, at The Yoga Expo, we have 8 classes going on at once, and the largest class accommodates 1,300 people! This is something that I knew I couldn’t attain by working out of a studio.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
In the times we are living in, we are so connected to our devices and the Internet. Yoga gives people the opportunity to settle down, step away from technology, unwind their minds, and focus on the present. We need time to disconnect from technology and truly focus on ourselves. Yoga allows us to work on our breath and movement together, which is essential in our society.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
Living a healthy lifestyle and living the yogi lifestyle go hand in hand. My overall wellness is extremely important to me, and yoga is a big part of that. I make it my utmost priority to find time to step away from the daily grind. This includes connecting with nature (I recently bought a farm!), eating a plant-based diet, exercising, and traveling for some much-needed time off.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins (example: Chlorophyll, Vitamin b12) that you recommend? And why?
Hydration is key! I drink electrolytes in the morning to ensure that I’m keeping my body optimally hydrated. I also recommend Vitamin B12, which gives me a lot of energy and keeps me from feeling tired and weak.
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
I drink so much water – in the morning, all during the day, and at night. There’s such a high importance on drinking water to regulate our bodies. My biggest tip is to drink natural, clean water. Natural water has a lot of trace minerals in it that are important for our hydration, and many times these minerals are removed.
Your favorite quote?
"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." – Bob Dylan
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc.
Anything else you want to share?
For yoga beginners, get out there and try it out! I get that yoga can be a very exclusive community and a bit intimidating, but there are opportunities to comfortably get involved. At The Yoga Expo, many attendees have never tried yoga, and I love the feeling of getting to introduce people to this community and see if they are enjoying it.