E-RYT 200, RYT 500 Advanced Yoga Psychology, YACEP
Certified Meditation Instructor
Sonya leads a physical, mental and spiritual practice straight from the heart! Having grown up exposed to yoga and meditation from an early age, Sonya has made a lifelong journey of embodying the many aspects of the yogic path. As a former ballerina and ballet instructor trained at North Carolina School of the Arts and Marin Ballet California, Sonya is drawn to the love of teaching and how the physical body holds and releases emotions through movement.
Sonya excels in guiding each student, from the new beginner to the advanced practitioner, to discover how each pose allows us to tap into the intricacies of each individual body. Sonya completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training with Sharyn Galindo at North Shore Yoga and her 500 hour yoga teacher training in Advanced Yoga Psychology with Ashley Turner in Venice California.
Sonya uses the 8 years she spent as a professional in corporate training, recruiting and group retreats to provide exceptional mindfulness programming. She is extensively trained and certified in meditation and pranayama (breathing) practices by Ananda Ashram California. Passionate about guiding students through the practice of yoga as a vehicle to access inner strength, mindfulness, and connection to universal energy, Sonya encourages daily habits that allow a more fulfilling life. Sonya radiates joy and good vibes making each class a journey of lighthearted physical practice with transformation into peace.
MY JOURNEY INTO YOGA…
As a young girl I loved physical movement. Dancing, climbing, hiking, you name it…if I was moving I was happy. My love of physical movement eventually focused itself in a very strenuous ballet practice. Although the physical alignment in ballet was not inherent or natural to me, I loved the way the challenge forced my mind to calm and focus, allowing me to be fully present in the moment. My ballet career coupled with public school took most of my time, but when I was not in the studio I enjoyed time with my parents at Ananda Village, California. My parents stepped onto the Spiritual Paramahansa Yogananada over 35 years ago and are my beloved original yoga teachers. While at the village I was drawn to the devotion and community. It made me feel safe and connected to my own heart. For much of my childhood I would say that ballet started me on my path and practice even though I was exposed to yoga asana, meditation, chanting and the path of yoga at an early age.
At 18, I decided to relinquish my dreams of professional dance in search of a more balanced lifestyle by pursuing a degree in Psychology at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. I chose psychology because I was curious about how the mind worked and the intricacies of emotion, thought, and brain chemistry. Throughout my academic career in psychology, I drank in the information yet felt that a huge piece was missing from my studies; the connection of mind, body and spirit. Upon graduation with a pile of student loans, I decided to follow my college sweetheart to Chicago, Illinois and secured a job in Human Resources. I worked with several universities and corporations enjoying a successful career in training and recruiting. I loved connecting with people and helping them grow and develop into their careers, but sitting at a desk all day was excruciating for my active body. When I wasn’t working I would eagerly go to the gym, get out running, or take a dance class. At my parents urging, I tried out yoga classes reconnecting to my roots and seeking peace for mind and body to alleviate the stress of work and life.
With each class I took I became more and more in love with the way the body flowed with the breath and the subtle cueing of the physical, while the teacher skillfully wove in spiritual inspiration and connection into the heart of our being. I have been practicing ever since, nearly 20 years, with diligence and extraordinary loving devotion for the practice. I welcomed my first daughter in 2006 and delved into motherhood with the same passion I had for physical movement, yet found myself anxious and out of balance much of the time. I began to seek more yoga classes and teachers that guided me into grounding and a space of peace where I could make sense of my life. In 2011, I welcomed my second daughter. Both my children are ‘yoga babies’ as I continued to practice throughout pregnancy and soon after recovery.
In 2014, I completed a teaching certificate with CorePower Yoga and began teaching at a local corporation. I loved witnessing the transformation of the employees and the shift in their spirit from the beginning to the end of class. In 2015, I completed a 6 month meditation teacher training with Ananda and began to fully step into my dharma in a life affirming and altering way. In 2016, I completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Sharyn Galindo of North Shore Yoga. When I met Sharyn and practiced at her studios I knew that I had found my Midwest community or kula… I had found my way firmly back onto my mat and my spiritual path and practice of Yoga. I currently assist Sharyn in managing her three studio locations and have learned so much from her as a professional healer, teacher, and business woman. I teach weekly classes at several local studios, do many focused workshops, work with corporate and private clients.
I am no longer married but the healing power of yoga helped me through every step of this life transition. My ex-husband and I maintain a strong relationship and abundant love for our children. The unraveling of my marriage brought a full spectrum of emotions. I went through deep pain, struggle, and eventually emerged into growth and movement forward. My practice guided me, held me, and sustained me through every dark moment and drew me to the light. I use much of what I learned and processed during these difficult times in my teaching, writing and lifestyle inspiration. Amidst the changes in my life circumstances I was gifted with another teacher, Ashley Turner in Venice California. After several visits to Ashley’s classes and workshops, I decided to pursue my 500 Certification in Yoga Psychology with her.
I am constantly amazed and delighted by the connection of mind, body and breath that I see in my students and myself. I am grateful for the gift of yoga and it’s transformational healing. It is a gift to experience and witness the continual fluctuation and growth of the human spirit through yoga.
Shanti, gratitude and big huge LOVE.