Stephanie first studied yoga after living in Japan, where tai chi first exposed her to breath-directed movement and vinyasa. She encountered Ashtanga yoga and kirtan in the same class in late 2003, and since that time, the limbs of yoga have become her vehicle for maintaining compassion, discipline, humor, and patience.
By the time Stephanie began practicing yoga, she had already lived overseas for multiple years. She immediately understood the significance of cultural context. Very early in her studies, she prioritized living in India, so that she could directly experience the culture from which yoga emerged. She has always worked to respect the nuances of respectful cultural exchange.
Yoga garners a lot of attention for the stereotypical asana physique. Stephanie's focus, however, is about who you are and how you live. The purpose of yoga is unity, within yourself and with your connection to the world. Changes in physical appearance sometimes occur in the process. She is most interested in practice as a metaphor—that practice provides reflection and lessons for living. She believes that the rest of life is more important, and her teaching reflects this perspective.
Unlike many yoga teachers, Stephanie was already a longtime educator before she even began practicing yoga (let alone teaching it!). Her experience in education has always informed her yoga instruction—because she has always considered the skills necessary to teach skillfully, not just practice asana adeptly. For example, she has the necessary sensitivity to motivate, rather than discourage her students. She has the necessary wisdom to guide fully, without overwhelming her students.
In regards to asana, Stephanie distinguishes herself by her constant attention to the subtleties, which many people overlook. Nowadays, many teachers tend not to emphasize small details—in some cases because their lack of experience has not given them the wisdom. More often than not, the sum of small details has a far greater impact than a single, flashy posture. Over the years, Stephanie has witnessed the cumulative effect of countless small details, how they impact stagnancy and growth of all kinds (physical, mental, emotional). She is always attentive to encouraging students beyond complacency; she always incorporates humor and playfulness into every class or session.
Her teaching experience is varied: led asana classes (for levels introductory to advanced), pranayama (breathwork), and meditation. In Atlanta, she created Yoga for Athletes, a class that other teachers have spread to studios all over the metro area. She helped start the first Mysore studio in Atlanta, where she taught and co-directed for many years. The teaching page has more information on her experience.
Over the years, she has taught yoga to the following populations:
- teachers, economists, lawyers, programmers, doctors, chemists, managers, bodyworkers, engineers, musicians, artists
- competitive athletes (professional and amateur): ultramarathoners, triathletes, climbers, etc
- former competitive athletes maintaining a high level of fitness
- cancer patients (undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy) and cancer survivors
- children and adults with LDs
- people undergoing injury rehabilitation (surgery and/or physical therapy)
- pregnant women
- people facing depression
- humanitarian workers
Stephanie continues to work with individuals and groups, primarily in workshop and retreat settings. Information about her workshops and retreats is posted on the events page. Private students are on a sliding scale. She also customizes workshops or a series of classes. If you're interested in a collaboration, please contact her!
(For the sake of minimizing bot-spam, the email address is on the about page.)
Partial listing of teachers:
- Adele Gale (the first Ashtanga instructor in Atlanta, studied under Norman Allen)
- Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, R. Sharath Jois, R. Saraswathi Jois in Mysore, India
- Lino Miele in Kerala, India
- workshops: David Williams, David Swenson, Tim Miller
Equally important, however, are the people and experiences from her work with yoga, music, and community-building. The music, community, and performance pages have more information about these experiences.
Stephanie believes that sustaining a practice within your normal life—not just on retreat or away from a busy schedule—is the greatest challenge, as well as the best opportunity to channel your highest potential.
She strives to balance effort with surrender, precision with laughter. Constant exploration of yoga, not just asana, motivates her own practice.
Reviews of Stephanie's yoga teaching:
"Which Came First, the Confidence or the Motivation?"
"Guru Purnima (Huh?)"
"I began my first formal yoga practice with Stephanie in November 2015. Encouraged by her confidence, knowledge, application, direction, and instruction, I almost immediately felt at ease in what for all other reasons would have made me feel inadequate, 'too old' and inflexible. Instead, what happened in my commitment to studying this eight-limbed path was an unfolding of flexibility in ways I didn't foresee being so transformational: a fluid process of embodiment of trust, strengthening of mind/body, and dedication to a Path. Stephanie is a catalyst on this Path.
The gratitude I feel for Stephanie's encouragement of me—encouragement of me Being Present and Engaged with What Is—is profound. Sitting in and observing my first class (which is probably the hardest part of the commitment for me—probably accounting for 50% of the practice: just showing up!), I went through what I presume most people feel their first time: intimidated, daunted, mesmerized, inspired. "I'm going to do that?!" She affirmed (in my words), Yes, I was going to 'do that,' but more appropriately, I was going to be challenged to 'Be that in my own way.'
Stephanie embodies hatha yoga. With her commitment, dedication, passion, knowledge, compassion, and inspiration, I began to trust in the process. She instills an ease, individual-spirit, confidence, and inspiration to continue beyond self-doubt and fears. And importantly, her understanding of the body, asanas, and our individual physical/mental differences and challenges are more than appropriately addressed to ensure safety and continued growth (pushing one just enough to feel like there's always room for more!). In each session with her, I end up leaving with a recharged spirit and joy for continuing The Journey Within and WithOut. Stephanie is an exemplary teacher and guide for the beginner and advanced alike. I whole-heartedly/bodily/soulfully recommend her. I am blessed to share this Path with her."