Yoga saved me, healed me. Yoga continues to teach me and inspire me. Yoga is my greatest love affair; it slows me down, and it makes me pause, focus, pay attention and go inward. Yoga helps me quiet my inner chatter; it reminds me to love myself. It has taught me I am uniquely perfect just as I am. Yoga stops my ego from taking over and robbing me of my true essence, which is love, compassion and joy. Yoga guides me towards acceptance of what is and to truly see myself in all beings. Yoga reminds me to observe my thoughts and not react to the emotions or impulses that come up. Yoga is magic and I am grateful for every day I get to practice and teach.
Teaching for me is an opportunity, a privilege to share what I have learned. I believe the physical practice is the gateway to freedom and expansion of self. It gets us started, wakes us up, rings us out and it opens the widow of wisdom, light and the possibility of who we truly are -- whole, complete and exceptionally perfect; here to contribute and share our gifts with the world.
How do you start your day?
Meditation, Gratitude, Yoga, Cashew Latte(!) and Love.
How would others describe you?
Powerful. Enthusiastic. Authentic. Impactful. Alive.
As a child growing up in Montreal, Carrie was obsessed with film. Carrie’s father would find her hiding under the sofa chair watching old movies. Fantasy was her escape and her gateway to joy.
Carrie was in theater school in Pasadena when a friend took her to her first yoga class. It was held in a private house with a small group of actors. She remembers thinking, “This is good for me,” but she was such an active person at the time - downhill skiing, horseback riding, tennis, running - she felt like she wanted something more active. She thought, “This is special. It will be in my life one day.'”
Later, when she was living in Venice another friend took her to a power yoga class, and this time it stuck -- she went back for more. The class was packed; it was vigorous, sweaty, challenging, with positive vibrations and cool people, and she loved it. It was the beginning of her greatest love affair.
Fast forward: after a serious car accident and a slow, long recovery, Carrie was feeling down on herself. But she found refuge in yoga, Reiki and a life coach. Her path from student to teacher was eventually helped along by the owner of the yoga studio she was managing at the time. One day Carrie was asked to teach his class on the fly. She felt like she was going to swallow her tongue, but her acting skills and courage made her go for it. Her boss advised her to teach from her heart – so she did. When she finished, she realized she loved it and she's never looked back.
Carrie says yoga has softened her. “I grew up with a verbally abusive father: nothing was ever good enough, and perfectionism was my downfall, the boulder standing in the way of my freedom, self-love and acceptance. Being hard on myself was a daily practice. Yoga gave me the insight and tools to be okay with all my unique imperfections and to practice compassion, acceptance and self-love with myself and others.”
“I believe we’re all beautiful beings,” she says, “but sometimes we mask that, we protect who we are out of fear, out of thinking we’re coming across too vulnerable or weak. We hold back because we’re afraid of being judged or hurt. These walls we put up move us away from ourselves, and yoga provides an open window for us to get back in touch with who we really are, which is pure love and joy. You know, in theater school my first acting coach called me a ‘wild colt’. I have a lot of energy, and when I was first getting into yoga, I almost had too much. I needed to learn how to reign myself in and how to be still, because through stillness is where the answers lie and it’s where we become whole and complete.”
Carrie went on to complete several teacher trainings thereafter, including one in India, diving into the asana practice and a spiritual journey that continues today, along with coaching, reiki and gratitude work. Carrie began her teaching in 2007, and is a 500-RYT certified yogaworks teacher. She teaches with an emphasis on detailed alignment, so there is an intelligence and a purpose to her sequencing. Her goals as a teacher are to inspire, uplift, and support; and to encourage you to shine your brilliant, vibrant light from within.
Q & A
How would you describe yourself before yoga?
Before getting into my practice, I felt like I had to be forceful in order to get what I wanted. That’s what I learned as a child. And of course you can’t just sit and think things are going to come to you, but sometimes you can demand it instead of welcoming it. I was demanding life to come to me the way I thought things should be, instead of inviting and allowing. Stepping out of the way is really what yoga’s all about.
Why do you teach?
I teach to share what I have learned from yoga and life. Yoga brings out your best self. Not your small self, but your complete self. It has a way of mirroring the shadow side of you; the side of you that you label not good enough or things you don’t like. It has you befriend it, and holds space for you to take a look at that and not shame it, not make it good or bad, but to say hello to it, to know that it exists and to be okay that it’s a part of who you are. It gives you an opportunity to fall in love with your imperfections and know that those things you label as wrong-- you wouldn’t be who you are if it wasn’t for them.
As a teacher what’s important to you?
As a teacher it has to be about the students, not me. When I walk into the room, I’m just the facilitator -- the healing is coming through me. I’m there to be of service; my job is to see my students, see what they need and take them to a place where they have a breakthrough. Whether that’s trying a pose they didn’t think they could do or sitting and silently meditating for longer than they thought they were capable of, I want them to realize anything is possible. But most importantly -- like my mentor did for me -- I want all of my students to know they’re seen. I see you, and guess what? You’re uniquely beautiful, whole and complete, just as you are!