In 2000, I took a leap of faith, quit my job, and moved out to Santa Monica—a place that felt like home even though I didn’t know a soul, except of course my own, for the first time. I quickly made friends, and met my soul sister Heather, who would have me meet her on the beach at 5 a.m. to practice this kooky thing called Kundalini yoga. But even in this place of beauty and connection, I didn’t feel satisfied. I was still searching for something else to help me put together the pieces of my life. This led me toward my next period of self-discovery and exploration, and I began to pursue yoga and spirituality on a deeper level.
In searching for a place to understand myself, I started my first yoga teacher training with Saul David Raye in 2004, and then went on to finish my 200-hour and 300-hour training with Annie Carpenter at YogaWorks in 2006 and 2007. It was in that work that I was able to dive deeper into my body, connecting with my breath and my energy. I began to understand the power of choice, acceptance, and perspective.
And then New York started calling my name again, as it does. I decided to move back, and within a few months I fell in love with a meat-and-gluten-loving chef—which was quite the surprise for this raw vegan. Being back in New York with my food-loving husband inspired me to create a raw restaurant: I loved the idea of creating healing foods and helping people live nourishing lifestyles. So I charged ahead, ignoring that nagging voice in my head telling me to slow down.
In the back of my mind, I knew I was building something I didn’t want to run. From my years working in plant-based restaurants in Los Angeles, I knew that managing staff and working in a kitchen were not my spaces of joy. But I was wrapped up in the process of creation, and I refused to pump the brakes.
So I found myself running a restaurant, Gingersnap's Organics, that I never wanted to run, and I was filled with anxiety and stress. The only bright spots were my interactions with my incredible customers—I’d work with them to make food and lifestyle choices that fit their needs, and in these moments I felt alive. Unfortunately, I spent most of my hours solving sourcing problems, managing staff, and dealing with the hectic energy of running a cafe in Manhattan.