Yoga Sanctuary
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Instructors

Our Instructors

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Michele Anderson

While struggling to cope with life-long anxiety and my father’s terminal cancer diagnosis, I stumbled upon Kundalini Yoga in 2000 during college. I was moved by the breath work and the connection to spirit, and I was in love with the idea of keeping my eyes closed throughout class. I craved inner reflection in a safe space, and yoga gifted me this. One class turned into a regular practice that provided me with an essential outlet for letting go of all the emotions that no longer served me. When I consistently brought myself to my yoga mat to practice, I was able to open my heart to myself, inviting in a kinder voice and a softer approach. It has truly been an amazing journey into peace and contentment.

In 2010, I completed my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. I had tried other forms of yoga, but my heart felt devoted to Kundalini. I have also completed Kundalini Level 2 Life Cycles (2011), Level 2 Mind & Meditation (2016) and Level 2 Stress & Vitality (2017). I have completed additional training in Restorative Yoga (2015) and in breath work with Max Strom (2016).

In 2016, I began the 1,000-hour Yoga Therapist training through the Yoga Well Institute in the Viniyoga tradition. I intend to use yoga therapy in the treatment of mental health disorders, helping people to develop a sense of stability and ease in their lives. I have a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Minnesota and a M.A. in Nursing from Augsburg College. I am a Registered Nurse licensed in Minnesota. Currently, I am enrolled in the University of Minnesota's Doctorate of Nursing Practice program, specializing in Psychiatry and Mental Health (expected graduation 2018). I am also a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner.

I believe every individual can practice yoga. It is a tool to bring us into the present moment and breath in life. I teach in a way that invites the student to accept oneself as they are and challenge growth. My teaching style blends my knowledge of human physiology and energy anatomy, with a little bit of humor, and I LOVE to play the gong.

 
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David John Carlson

David John Carlson - My personal practice the past three years has provided me healing, growth, and revealed my inner joy. So much more than the physical benefits, my daily yoga practice has transformed my mind and spirit, allowing me to see and experience life through a clearer lens, an open heart and a calmer soul. I teach yoga to help my students realize transformation in their own lives.

I first stepped onto my mat in December of 2014. After 30 years as a distance runner, completing 16 marathons, as many half marathons, and a handful of triathlons, it was time for a change. My initial exploration of bikram and vinyasa classes soon found me practicing daily, meeting myself on my mat every day. I completed my 200 hour Power Teacher Training in the Fall of 2015 and 50 hours Extension Training in January of 2016 through CorePower Yoga. I began co-teaching a donation based community yoga class at Yoga Sanctuary in March of 2017. I joined the CPY teaching staff in September 2017. Teaching from the perspective of "yoga is for every BODY", I encourage students to meet themselves on their mat right where they are every day, with presence of mind and breath focus, and accept themselves with compassion, non-judgment and explore with childlike wonder in their practice on and off the mat

 

Angela Culbert

Hi!  Yoga has been a part of my life for more than 10 years. I turned to it as a way to reduce stress from a very fast-paced work environment and to bring some balance into my life. Yoga has been my sanctuary. I love how it allows me to slow down, listen to my body, and live with intention on and off my mat. The strength, flexibility, and balance I have gained from Yoga have also been a huge benefit to me as an avid runner and golfer. 

I have explored many different types of yoga and prefer Hatha, Yin and Restorative Yoga. I received my 230 hour teacher training from the Minneapolis Yoga Center in 2015.   I have been fortunate enough to practice with Ravi Ranjan in Bangalore, India, and I continue to look for every opportunity to learn and grow my yoga practice.

In my class, I strive to create the space for my students to slow down and connect with your body, mind, and breath. I enjoy the Yoga Sanctuary community as a student and I look forward to meeting you and sharing my knowledge and joy of yoga. 

 
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JENNIFER DAVIS 

Hello! My name is Jennifer Davis (Jenn) and I am a self-proclaimed lover of life and all that it encompasses. My Yoga practice helps me to feel love on all levels- physically, spiritually and emotionally. Best of all, it just feels so good!! 

My journey began in 2002 with classes at the Uptown YWCA. I continued my practice through three pregnancies, deciding to become an instructor in 2015. Completing my 200-RYT (230-hr training) through the Yoga Center of Minneapolis, I discovered how little I actually knew about Yoga(!)… and my true self. It was an overwhelming and enlightening experience, one that I recall on a daily basis with my practice and teaching.

I continue to seek knowledge from whatever source presents itself. I am certified in Restorative Yoga, Kids Yoga, ForeverWell (Senior) Yoga, Mat Pilates & Pilates Reformer. I love to learn new sequences and different ways to approach asanas. I like to mix it up with different things in each class. I want you to truly be IN your body- present with mind, body & breath, to FEEL your body with a good workout & energizing music, and to UNPLUG/RECONNECT with yourself and your community. You will feel challenged, encouraged and uplifted.  I look forward to meeting you!

 

Chantelle Ebben

I decided to try yoga to help with the postpartum depression I developed after the birth of my twins. I was instantly hooked by the invigorating energy that yoga offers the mind, body and spirit. I knew that yoga made me feel better and wanted to know why, so I enrolled in teacher training and earned my 200 HR certification from Core Power Yoga in 2011.

Still wanting to delve deeper into the history and philosophy of yoga, I enrolled in an intensive 500 HR training with Devanadi Yoga and  completed training in January 2013. Today I am continuing my studies in Yoga and Ayurveda, with Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, as well as Herbal Studies. My teaching style is based primarily on Vinyasa, integrating the spiritual and practical guidance of Ayurveda. My classes provide a balance of challenge, strengthening vigor, and playfulness.

 
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Julia Marlow Fansler

I found yoga at a young age through an introduction to modern dance, and have now been a practitioner for over 12 years. I am constantly driven and inspired by Yoga’s medicinal benefits as well as its psychological enhancements. Yoga has taught me that healing can be realized in many ways, through all areas of the body, mind and life. My philosophy of teaching yoga balances the power of self-study, gratitude for the practice and surrender of the soul. In my Yoga Teacher Training Program I chose to focus on teaching beginners as well as advanced practitioners. I have also studied at Mind-Body-Solutions with Matthew Sanford. It is an honor to observe and teach all different types of bodies and minds and this work has greatly influenced my life and teaching. I make an effort to create a space for my students to both move within and expand outward. Teaching and participating with others in this way is amazing and also humbling. I seek to include teachings that represent historical movements and philosophies in a modern way while maintaining a loyalty to yoga’s authentic origins.

 

 

 
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Cynthia Farrell

I hesitantly stepped into a yoga studio for the first time in the spring of 2009, unsure of what to expect and intimidated by the thought of being the only beginner. Luckily, I stepped into an incredibly safe space with amazing teachers, where I learned we’re all beginners, as yoga always has something new to teach us. In the years since then, my practice--what I need from yoga and what I seek out in my practice--has shifted as my life and circumstances have changed. Those shifts led me to yoga teacher training, which I completed in early 2017 with Yoga Center of Minneapolis.  

The most important aspect of yoga to me is that 'time on my mat is my greatest teacher'. If I listen deeply during my practice, so much will be revealed about my internal state, which I can use to guide me to greater serenity and joy. This awareness of how committing to time on our yoga mats creates space for what we need, is the gift I aspire to offer through my teaching. My teaching style is strongly focused on alignment (a passion based on dealing with mild scoliosis), and sequenced to provide an energetic challenge while inviting you to listen to your body and step into or back from the challenge as you need in that given moment. 

Outside of yoga, my full-time job is leading the talent development function for a local software company, with a particular focus on leadership development. I’m exploring how yoga philosophy can inform corporate leadership in my blog,Working from Om.

 
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Carla Gesell

I fell in love with yoga the first time I stepped on the mat.

This is where, as I gently allowed myself to quiet down into a space of my own I truly met myself. Since then the practices of yoga have wound their way deeply into every aspect of my life. Now as an integrative life coach and yoga therapist, I am both excited and honored to hold space as students find their own way into this same awareness. Whether it’s in a group class, a yoga workshop or in a private session, I’m continuously amazed at how the transformational magic of yoga reveals itself. It’s always here, at the meeting of mind, body and breath, that we find more balance, more peace and more light.

My yoga teaching began with the completion of a 200 hour yoga teacher training certification program. I then happily followed my heart straight into further discovery and exploration of yoga therapies, philosophies, and holistic healing by attending a variety of workshops as well as an intensive yoga therapy teacher training program with Integrative Yoga Therapy founders Joseph and Lillian LePage, from whom I earned my 500 Yoga Therapy Certification, and I haven’t looked back.

My appreciation of yoga expands every single day as I weave the practices into my life and continue to host classes, workshops, and retreats with others. I really look forward to meeting you on the mat!

 
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GREG HINES

Vinyasa Yoga stems from the Sanskrit term nyasa, which means "to place" combined with the prefix vi meaning "divided or apart". It implies discernment and skillful sequencing. My first skillful steps on the yoga path began, as many yoga journeys do, with two feet on a rented mat in March of 2008. A steady, physical asana practice paved the way for personal enrichment and growth. An interest in meditation preceded my yoga path and informs my practice to move in pace with the limitless resources provided in the present moment.

I've taught yoga in Denver, Minneapolis and St. Paul. Over the last decade, I’ve received two 200-Hour Teacher Training certificates in Power Vinyasa and Hot Yoga formats. I’ve trained with Jaina Portwood in Radiant Life’s Yin Yoga Teacher Training. In May of 2018, I completed an additional anatomy-intensive 300-hour Teacher Training in CorePower Yoga’s first 500-hour Teacher Training pilot. In pursuit of more comprehensive personal practice, I've worked with Ben Vincent in the 9-month Yoga Studies program and Vinyasa Krama Immersion. I feel incredible gratitude for the many mentors I’ve received on this path who support and sustain my desire to grow as a student and teacher.

As the years pass, I keenly recognize the value in widening the lenses through which we see the world. My yoga classes offer students space to interpret the body as a vehicle to evoke deeper meaning in their lives. As we reclaim our sensitivity, the body unfolds before the senses and can more profoundly encounter the world with kindness, generosity and curiosity.  Atha yoganusasanum!

 
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Emily Kaspari

I love how yoga's focus of moving from the breath helps help calm my mind and allows me to come back home into myself. I have been practicing movement arts for over 20 years. I started with dance. I loved how alive I felt when so deeply aware of and connected to my body through conscious expressive movement. A high school dance teacher introduced me to yoga and I first explored it as a means to increase flexibility and strength for dance rehearsals. Even though I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, I was hooked right from the start.

In 2011, I discovered the healing and transformative power of yoga when it was a basis of my healing process after a severe car accident left me bedridden, lost and depressed. I dove deeply into practical training and philosophical study, and through yoga and yoga therapy I am able to manage all my old injuries and overcome previously lifelong depression. I completed my first teacher training and dove into teaching as many classes, style and people as I could. I thought middle schoolers’ how feel strong and manage stress and retirees how to relieve tension and build stability and balance.  Inspired by my experience, my classes have always been about playful self-exploration through breath-centric asana, pranayama, and meditation.

Always the curious student, I continued my studies with the 4-year Viniyoga Therapy training and I’m finishing up my last papers you read this ;-) Vini-yoga translates as “the appropriate application of yoga” and the study of this style has made me a Master of Adaptation.  Combined with the flow of my dance background and my studies in mindfulness and other eastern traditions, my classes leave students feeling stronger, lighter, more agile and integrated in body, mind and spirit. Student describes my classes as “yoga-aaaaa”. Come relax and reset with me!

 
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Shirley Krohn

I am an enthusiastic, energetic graduate of Arizona Power Yoga and Baron Baptiste Institute.  I have been practicing yoga for over twenty years and teaching for ten years.  I am the owner of Protocol–an organizational development and training firm where I have developed seminars on leadership, teamwork and executive coaching for over thirty years throughout the United States and internationally.  I am also a steering member of the North-Central Psychomotor Society.  Practicing yoga has been my way to stay centered and balanced in my professional and personal life.  One of the key factors that led me to bring breath work and meditation into my work was noticing the stress that my clients exhibited with their interactions in the workplace. My classes are fun, inspirational and full of spunk, always emphasizing  the importance of bringing body, mind and spirit into balance. I teach to all levels and enjoy incorporating dynamic and therapeutic movement so everyone can access the wonderful benefits of yoga. 

 
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Kelsey LAuer

I have been teaching and providing care to children of all ages for the past thirteen years through my work as a gymnastics instructor, camp counselor, pediatric oncology nurse, and a Yoga Calm Certified Youth Instructor. I am also certified in advanced aromatherapy and am a Reiki Level II Practitioner. I have a love for interacting with kids and believe the reason kids are so amazing is their resiliency, creativeness, and kindness towards others. I have been practicing yoga for over eleven years and combine my knowledge of yoga with childhood development to create a class perfect for children of all ages. I love exploring the outdoors and say 'YES!' to adventure! 

 
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Melissa Lavoie

My yoga journey began in 2010 while in NYC studying Dance and Psychology. As someone who grew up going to church and pondering the mysteries of life at a very young age I was naturally intrigued with a more spiritual, holistic approach to movement and life. I began taking a variety of yoga and meditation courses around NYC and committed myself to becoming a conduit for healing, and to enhance the health and lives of those around me.

I am passionate about teaching yoga and practicing Reiki. I have advanced training in Hatha, Yin, Restorative and Therapeutic Principles. I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Health and Wellness Coaching at the U of M in hopes of expanding my practices and offerings to others. One of my main goals is to help educate students with tools and techniques that cultivate peace in their lives. In my classes I invite folks into mindful practice invoking kindness and encouragement to arrive just as you are.

 
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Jennifer Manion

A passionate student of Yoga, I came to the practice through the physical postures or asanas, and quickly found myself drawn to the other teachings and facets of this approach to life, community, mind, and self-realization. I am currently rounding out a 600-hour teacher-training program with the Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International, and am an initiate in this tradition. I am registered with Yoga Alliance, with RYT-500 standing.

By leading others in Yoga meditation, hatha, pranayama, and subtle body exercises, I hope to share the beauty of self-transformation that such practices awaken. A poet, philosopher, and writer, I am both fascinated by and convinced of the relevance of ancient Yogic thought to the modern world and our common yearning for grace, beauty, connection, bliss, and truth. I earned my MA and PhD in philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University.

 
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Shelley Pagitt

I cautiously walked into my first yoga class in 1999. I walked out with a sense of curiosity about the awakening I felt in my body and in my mind and spirit. After years of dualistic medical treatment for endometriosis and infertility, yoga became a compatible partner on my road toward holistic health. I am grateful for my challenges and count them among my teachers along the way.

Curiosity, and a deep desire for holistic wellness, inspire me to teach intentional yoga with space to explore deeper physical (asana), breath (pranayama) and mindfulness practices as we journey personally and collectively toward self-awareness and wholeness. I have been teaching yoga since 2007, and received my training at White Lotus Foundation (Santa Barbara), one of the first Yoga Teacher Training programs in the country. I also completed an Intensive 9-month Yoga Studies program with Ben Vincent in May 2017. In my classes I encourage students of all abilities to practice patience while focusing on proper physical alignment. My background is in Child Psychology and I enjoy creating and teaching safe, fun, relational yoga to young and old-er alike. We learn to listen to our bodies as our breath guides us at each moment to honor our bodies and allow yoga to assist us on our life journey, finding compassion and joy along the way. 

I carry the belief that our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits are essentially connected and that everything inside and outside of us is related to our well-being. This is why I also work as a Natural Health Coach. I honor the clients I work with, guiding them toward nutrition and lifestyle choices that support their health goals using yoga, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional Foods, which is often easier than one might expect. I am passionate about fertility and women’s health, and specialize in digestive disorders, organ and colon cleansing, anxiety and dizziness. If you would like more information, please connect with me. I am excited to share the joy of living a connected life with others as a Yoga Instructor, Health Coacher and Life Lover.

 
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MAry Schaubschlager

Hello! My name is Mary, and I’m a cartoonist and illustrator living in Minneapolis. Like many others, I began my yoga practice in an effort to manage stress and anxiety but I quickly fell in love with the creative and expressive potential of yoga; our practice can be as varied as our days, our experiences, our moods, and our dreams. I hope to instill this sense of boundlessness in my students, and to help them step closer to taking the reigns in their own private practices. Using our breath, movement, and attention we not only develop strength, balance, and flexibility, but we can shorten the gaps between our needs and our actions, connect to our creative spirit, find self love, and cultivate the kind of strength that can be shared with others!

 

 
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Chelsea Schmitz

I grew up in a very large, very close family. The oldest of four siblings and one of over 30 cousins, I grew up surrounded by kids, family and community. As a child, I was extremely shy and dealt with a lot of anxiety. Thus, I understand the pressures kids face, both self-imposed and otherwise.

I see yoga as a beautiful song and dance between breath, movement and meditation and have personally experienced the power of yoga in working toward a more balanced and joyful life. I strongly believe that children, especially, can use these helpful tools to gain a sense of emotional awareness and to better control of their reactions. As a former teacher in the New Orleans’ Recovery School District following Hurricane Katrina, I witnessed the positive impact on children when they focused on their breath. It seems to powerfully connect children with their inner being, thereby better connecting them to their own thoughts and feelings and the world around them.

I currently work as a juvenile advocacy attorney and restorative facilitator in public schools around the Twin Cities. I am inspired by the strength, resiliency, creativity and honesty of children and youth. I was trained and certified to teach yoga to kids and young adults through Kripalu Center in Massachusetts and Street Yoga, and I  have taught Kids Yoga at Yoga Sanctuary. I also teach adult yoga classes and believe that, through the power of breath and movement, we can better realize our deep interconnectedness, resulting in the ability to change the world for the better!

 
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Scott Skinner

Hi my name is Scott Skinner, a Utah native and new transplant to Minnesota.

I started my yoga practice just over 15 years ago at a 6am Bikram Yoga class my mom invited me to … and have been stuck on yoga ever since! My love for it began as another way to keep my body fit and satisfied. As I lived in different places and cultures, and throughout my personal stages of life, yoga has remained a solid rock for me as a person. Whether it’s a hot class, vinyasa, yin, or a workshop, it doesn’t matter: it allows me to focus my energy and it challenges my mind. Within the last few years, my mindset has changed and I’m really seeing the long term importance for my body and my need for meditation. Thus, I’m focused on making yoga a lifelong sustainable part of my life.

My personal connection and experience with yoga is what drives me to teach, and teaching helps me to deepen my own practice, which ultimately broadens and expands my teaching. I hope to serve all communities, ages, and persons of all abilities with this.  I became certified in Power Vinyasa with 250 hours of training both here in Minneapolis and Boulder, CO as of September 2017. In addition to practicing and teaching yoga,  I enjoy rock climbing, riding my bicycle, taking photos, baking, and wining and dining, to name a few. Married 3 years in October, my wife and I have a dog and are both currently in school, she full-time and me part-time with a part-time job in the food industry.

 
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Katy Sullivan

I found yoga (or yoga found me) more than 15 years ago in a fitness center in Dallas, Texas. I dabbled with a yoga practice for several years while managing a stressful career and more than a few cross-country moves. The balance that yoga brings to my life when I practice regularly is something that I seek again and again – always discovering a fresh lesson or opportunity for growth. I teach because I hope to help my students find their own sense of balance through breath, movement and a deepening awareness of self. Self-discovery and self-awareness of body, mind and emotions is one of the greatest gifts that yoga has given me and something I strive to create space for in my classes. My classes emphasize alignment through self-inquiry and breath. Laughter and questions are encouraged.  When not practicing or teaching yoga; I can be found writing, practicing pilates, playing tennis, or enjoying the natural beauty of the Twin Cities. 

 
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Tracy Vacura

I see yoga as a place for self-healing, wholeness and starting again.  I moved to MInneapolis after earning my MFA in Choreography from University of Iowa, and began teaching dance at St. Cloud State University.  When stress and injuries started to hold me back, I would drop in to Ben Vincent’s yoga class, which put enough of a band-aid on things that I could keep going.  After my daughter was born, I was eager to replace work-stress with Mom-stress, but found yoga—especially with Shelley Pagitt—to be a more necessary solace than before, to unwind the ropes of new responsibility and identity.   I completed the 235 hr yoga teacher training at Devanadi and started training in Healing Touch (a hands-on technique of energy therapy like Reiki), mostly because I wanted better tools to understand health and well-being—both mine and my family’s.  

While trying to help my own daughter find ways to be steady and calm, I found that if I coated an essential yoga technique with enough fun, she would readily swallow both the medicine and the spoonful of sugar.  This was my inspiration for Shape Shifters—a truly fun but also good-for-you class, combining the best elements of all my movement passions.  After 20 years of teaching kids in the dance and gymnastics world, I feel so blessed to get to teach them yoga—movement that teaches them strength, discipline, and body awareness, but also gives them tools they need for self-love, emotional intelligence and stress-reduction.

In May 2017, I completed a 9 month program of intensive Yoga Studies with Ben Vincent, and will continue working towards becoming a certified practitioner in Healing Touch.  As a teacher, I am hoping to help other people find tools to feel better—through breathing techniques, tapping into our own wisdom, smart alignment, and just changing our perspectives. The community and energy at Yoga Sanctuary are saturated with kindness and I love being part of it! 

 
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Lynn Whitfield

Hi! My name is Lynn Whitfield and I received my 200 hour yoga teaching certificate from Rishikesh Yog Peeth in Rishikesh, India and my Ayurveda Yoga Specialist certificate in April 2014 at Devanadi Yoga. From 2010-1013 I lived in Asia and had the wonderful opportunity to learn and train with international teachers in the styles of Prana Vinyasa, Drishti Vinyasa and Yin yoga. I’ve also studied with Rod Stryker, Lauren Toolen, Tanya Boigenzahn and Ben Vincent. I completed the 500 hour Advanced Teacher Training course at Devanadi Yoga in 2014.

Throughout my career as an elementary teacher I was blessed to have found yoga for emotional balance, spiritual growth and inner silence. When I attended my first yoga class 9 years ago, I knew this needed to be a life-long practice for me. From 2012-2013 I took a one year sabbatical in India and Nepal to deepen my knowledge of yoga as well as becoming certified in Thai massage. I am thrilled to be a part of the Yoga Sanctuary community to share this transformative, self-healing lifestyle with others. 

 
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Karen Youso - Pilates Instructor

Karen Youso has been teaching movement and exercise most of her life. At 16, she worked as a Red Cross swim instructor and continued into college. After college, where she was trained by Milwaukee Ballet instructors, she returned to the Twin Cities and trained in British ballet techniques and began teaching ballet classes.

Meanwhile, to indulge her other passion, writing, she took a position as a feature writer for the Star Tribune Newspaper. She continued to teach ballet and movement as an avocation for 25 years, while raising three sons and making sure all three were trained in dance and body movement.

In 2010, with children grown, she stepped away from the newspaper and the barre. Building on her training and experience in dance, kinesiology and body work, she became a certified Pilates instructor. She now teaches Pilates in mat classes and to private clients. Meanwhile, she continues to work and train around the Twin Cities, especially with movement specialist, Sharon Picasso, at Flourish Studio in Minneapolis.