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Yoga Teacher Interview Series: Caitlin Graham

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

I haven’t gotten to meet the lovely Caitlin Graham in person yet, but we got connected through one of my best friends, and Caitlin’s mat buddy, Megan Fitzmartin. I loved Caitlin’s approachable and fun-loving personality. Even though they were written, it shined brightly through her responses. Also, her dog is adorable. 🙂 I can’t wait to make it to one of Caitlin’s classes soon! Enjoy!

Caitlin Graham // Yoga Teacher at V Power 

Tell me a little bit about yourself in a few sentences. 

oh boy! Why is it that the “tell me about yourself” questions are always the hardest to answer?

Let’s see – I am a wellness enthusiast. My husband calls me the “Kitchen Witch” due to all the random ingredients I put in smoothies, soups, snacks, etc. I love my yoga practice. Whether it’s home or in a class, I always walk away feeling so empowered. I have the sweetest husband, Mike, and the best dog in the world, Clementine.  My obsession with Clementine has reached an unhealthy level.

What type(s) of yoga do you teach? 

I teach mostly Vinyasa flow classes.


Where did you do your teacher training? 

Balanced Yoga, in Clintonville. At the time, the program was called “Balanced Yoga University”.


Where do you currently teach? 

I currently teach at V Power Yoga, downtown, and I really enjoy teaching private classes with clients.

What do you hope your students take away from your classes? 

It’s my goal for my students to walk feeling a sense of contentment and balance – like they can tackle anything in their day with a calm mind. If they feel like they have also gained some humor, that’s a big plus.  I try not to take myself too seriously when I teach, and encourage others to find humor in everything as well.


What does “yoga” mean to you? 

Yoga has become part of my identity, just as much as being blonde, or being female (or being too obsessed with my dog). I find I can be much more mindful off the mat, if I spend time on the mat.  It centers me, it grounds me, and I feel the same sense of balance I hope to bring to my students.

How/when did you start practice yoga? 

I took a yoga class in college, which, was basically an intro to a few select poses and I remember leaving the class and immediately going to run on the treadmill.  It was all about the sweat for me then and I wasn’t feeling it because of my mindset at the time, I didn’t take another class until years later, at a silent auction, I won a 5-class package to a yoga studio.  I was going through a breakup, and was looking for something to help me with the anxiety of it all. I started taking classes, and haven’t missed a week of classes since!


When/what made you decide you wanted to start teaching? 

I would visit several studios around town, and started looking up to so many teachers in Columbus.  I loved how they made me feel after class and always had the small thought in the back of my head of “I want to help people find this feeling”.  So, I went to a few various info sessions, put it off for a while out of nerves, then one day just got up the courage to pull the trigger and sign up.

What is the most challenging part about being a teacher? 

Showing up for the students when you aren’t mentally there.  I want to lie and say other things don’t affect my teaching, but I’m human.  When you have a group of people looking to you for energy and Zen, but you feel anything BUT energetic and Zen, it can be hard. On those days, I try to give more verbal queues than adjustments so I don’t transfer my negative energy – but almost always, the class lifts me up and I am right back to my balanced state afterwards.  Students come to me for class, but I get just as much out of them as they do from me!


What is your favorite pose? 

Pigeon, I could stay there all day.  I see this as a good example of your yoga practice always evolving.  When I started yoga, I loved flowing constantly. Now, the longer I can hold a pose the better.

What is your least favorite pose?

My least favorite is camel.  Man… that pose gives me a feeling of anxiety every. single. time. It’s a pose that exposes your neck, which is innately against what the OG humans would do – and the resistance to do so is ingrained in us now. Poses like these can help us to breathe through uncomfortable times, and learn to deal with stress off the mat. I totally believe when you hate a pose, it means you should practice it more.

Also, I don’t like Eagle.  My bod just is not made for that pose, and these hips don’t lie.

Who knows, maybe these will be my favorite poses in a few years.


Any last thoughts you want to share? A fun fact about you? 🙂 

I love to travel. Practicing Yoga in Bali has been a big life highlight so far! My husband and I are on 20 countries and counting – I am always taking recommendations for places to visit.  Also, this girl is my spirit animal.



Yoga Teacher Interview Series: Victoria Frye

Posted by on Jul 9, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

I ran into Victoria at Michele Vinbury‘s Sunday hot flow class. Victoria’s vibes, enthusiasm, and free spirit immediately drew me in. I heard her talking to Michele and another student about how she taught Buti Yoga as I gathered my things after class. Having never heard of it before, it made my ears perk up. Sometime in the next few weeks Buti Yoga popped up as a targeted ad on my Facebook page (those darn Facebook ads really get me!). Week after week I kept seeing Victoria in Michele’s class, and we eventually ended up making some small talk, and both enrolling in the Yoga on High EMBER teacher training program. I was just beginning to be exposed to Victoria’s gentle and caring, yet fiercely passionate, heart and soul. Since then I’ve gotten to know her even better, and each thing I learn about her brings more admiration. I am FINALLY getting to attend one of her Buti classes in a few days (after I write this), when she co-teaches with Michele and Karine, and I could not be more thrilled! This was the first interview I’ve recorded in person, ironically before we went to Michele’s class together, and it was so much fun!

Victoria Bates-Frye // Buti Yoga Teacher at Seven Studios

Tell me about yourself in a couple of sentences: 

By day, I am a Chief Diversity Officer for a large organization. That work is a lot of what my passion is, which includes yoga. I am one of five children. I am the only girl. My brothers were very protective and didn’t let me get away with anything. I am 2nd to the last, [although] the youngest brother thought he was my older brother too. They have always said “you think everyone is beautiful.” I have always been for the underdog. I am so much like my father [in that way]. I’ve always wanted everyone to be included. Further that’s what drew me to yoga. Yoga is about yolking, connecting together. I am born and raised in Columbus, proud of it! I love my C-bus! It’s the best kept secret, but I think it’s getting out! A lot of my family is here, some are [also] in Pennsylvania, some are in Atlanta. I’ve been married for 33 years and have 2 grown men children. [I have been] surrounded by men my WHOLE life, probably why I love Buti yoga, which is a female inspired practice.


Have your sons ever tried Buti yoga? 

They have not tried it. They’re like “I’m not going to do that!” They are both athletes, both play college football.


What type(s) of yoga do you teach? 

I teach Buti Yoga, not B-O-O-T-Y. The name comes from an Indian dialect (Marathi), and “Buti” means “the cure to something hidden or kept secret.” It is a very powerful practice. It infuses vinyasa, plyometrics, and tribal dance. It is SO fun! It is SUCH a workout, but we look at it as a practice. It’s spiral structure is copyrighted, and gets to your deep core muscles around your spine. This practice allows you to create strength. You are able to work through all your chakras. That is what amazed me about this practice.


Did you practice other types of yoga before? 

So this is interesting, I have been in the fitness industry for about 30 years on and off, and doing whatever, [including] being an athlete. I started teaching group fitness in my 20s. I can remember trying yoga about 5 years ago with a girlfriend of mine and I thought “woah, this is kinda hard!” It was a vinyasa class, in a tight room, all these bodies. I mean, I saw butts and everything. I thought “there is something about this. I’m like wow, this is challenging! This really makes you breathe.” It’s different! It’s like the whole person. It’s not like step, step step, or pump it! pump it! pump it! It’s very calm and focused and all these things. I kind of put it to the side because I was teaching all these other things.

Well, I am a Lupus survivor, or “warrior,” as I like to say. 🙂 It was this incident that made me go to Buti Yoga. I was at an Earth Day event at the Columbus Commons with my husband about 3 years ago. That night I started to feel REALLY sore and my muscles felt weird. The next morning I woke up and I couldn’t move. I was afraid I was dying. I couldn’t get out of bed. It was really scary. I actually had been diagnosed with Lupus about 15 years before that, but I had mostly forgotten about it. I had too much to do. It didn’t even dawn on me it could’ve been that. My current doctors didn’t even have in their records I was diagnosed with Lupus. So my current doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I got all kinds of tests and they just kept telling me I didn’t have this, or this, or that. It took weeks and weeks. They had me on all these medications and [I was experiencing] side effects. One day I was in my doctor’s office and he said something about Lupus, and I was like Oh! I was still teaching during all of this, talk about a hard head. So it was the following December when we figured that out. January is the time of year we find new things. I couldn’t teach [my other classes] anymore, so I was online googling some things on what I could teach now. I couldn’t NOT teach anything, I am a teacher. So I’m online looking at yoga teacher training programs, and Buti Yoga popped up. I did some research on it and it was ALL the things I loved in one thing! I looked at it for about 2 weeks, and signed up for teacher training in March. I signed up and I had never done a practice. I just jumped right in, which is kind of me. My husband was like “What??”. I traveled to Nashville to get certified. It was 2 days and one of the hardest freaking things I’ve ever done. I told them I had Lupus, and interestingly the creator of Buti also has Lupis. I went through the training and talked to Julie Wilkes at Seven Studios, who I had known for a long time, and said “I have this practice I think would be great at your studio”. She invited me right in! I quit teaching regularly at Lifetime.

My Buti yoga tribe is AMAZING. I have some students who have been coming since I started the class. We do things outside of class. We are a tribe. Anyone who does Buti yoga are called “Butisatvas” (HAHA i love this!). It’s really an amazing practice.

How did start coming to Michele’s class? Because I remember you coming in and I think you were talking to Michele after class and I thought to myself “she seems pretty cool!”

Hmm how did I come to Yoga on High? Well I realized I was just teaching. I didn’t have my own personal practice. It’s hard for me to practice as home. I work so much and I teach and I get home and I don’t feel like practicing. I’m a class person. I love bodies and people and that energetic exchange. Otherwise it’s like my husband watching me and he’s like “Ok…”. I tried to find a studio that had a lot of knowledge and of course Yoga on High popped up, not that Seven Studios can’t do that, but there is a different dynamic of going to another studio and JUST being a student. I don’t know how I ended up in Michele’s class first. I went to a few other classes a few times, then tried Michele’s….In the first class I’m like “Oh yeah, I like her! I like her music!”, and we talked after class. She’s not so serious, which I like, life is so short.


Who or what inspires you right now? 

Wow, that is such a good question! My mother inspires me. That woman is amazing. She’s 80. She does Buti Yoga. I go to her house and do it with her usually. For a women’s conference, I did a demo, and she did it with me. I tell her she’s a badass all the time, she gave me permission to say that. 🙂 She is really amazing. She is so humble. She is such a perfect example for me, for such a beautiful human being. She has been through a lot. She has scoliosis and she still does Buti yoga.

Oh gosh, EMBER training. I like want to explode. It makes me want to cry, then self-care, then I don’t know. It’s just all the things. You hear people say “it’s all the things,” but this is REALLY all the things!


What do you want to do with your EMBER teacher training? 

I want to teach EMBER to populations who are undeserved. There are pieces and parts of EMBER that I will incorporate into, if God allows, my own studio that I’d like to open one day. I think there are many people and populations and levels that could benefit from EMBER. So many people I encounter in my day job who I think could benefit so much from that. I am a firm believer before you do anything to be as prepared as possible. We are ushering in this practice. This life changing event and time, that we can’t take it lightly. I am just a facilitator. I am just an usher of Buti Yoga, of EMBER, or whatever, so I have to take the utmost care in maintaining this practice for people who need it on so many different levels.


What advice do you give to someone who says “I can’t do yoga”?

For Buti, it’s different and some chakras are blocked. Buti Yoga is all about opening up your heart, opening up that heart charka. It’s all about your hips, and all those things. It’s all about opening. Women have experienced all kinds of trauma, and we’re told “you’re not supposed to that”, “you’re this”, “you’re that”. For Buti Yoga I suggest just trying it. Listen and don’t think so much. You can be free. It’s okay if you want to come in shorts or yoga pants, it’s fine. There are no rules. There have been women who start taking off the layers week by week as they continue to come to class – the mental layers and the physical layers. It’s freeing. Don’t be afraid to be free. It’s just us. We’re a tribe. We’re sisters. There is no judgement. There is none of that there.

For yoga, I say “everyone can do yoga.” Yoga doesn’t look the same for everybody. You don’t have to have your leg way up in the air when you’re in a 3 legged dog,. You can get there if you want to, but this is your practice. I’m not telling you where to go, I suggest. I encourage, but it’s yours. It’s not step class.

What do you find is the most rewarding part about teaching? 

I’ve taught so many forms for so many years, but it is the ability to help those in and out of your class, because it extends to outside the studio or gym, and help them realize their self-worth. To understand that they can. To recognize their beauty and anointing on earth. That they are loved. And that can be a challenge when folks come with so many different things and you don’t know what those things are, all you can do is be your authentic self and hope they get what they’re seeking. And I like to make shapes when I can. 🙂 And creating this tribe – a safe place. There is so many places that aren’t safe, so being able to create that for an hour in a day, or whatever.


Are Buti Yoga classes 1 hour?

They say an hour but, you know, mine usually go an 1 hour and 15 or 20 [minutes]. I tell my class it says an hour, but we may be here longer. I feed off the energy of the class. If they’re on fleek, we’re going with it. They’re like “we know, Victoria!” They can leave early if they need to, but they never do.

What is your favorite pose? 

For whatever reason, I love Ardha Chandrasana (half-moon pose). Probably because it was challenging for me for a long time and it still continues to be every once in a while.


What is your least favorite pose? 

It used to be downward facing dog. I just couldn’t get the hand placement, feet placement, hip placement. I ended up realizing I thought my hips were wider than they were – all about our self-awareness. You know and I really can’t think of one now. I don’t know if I have one now. I’ll probably think of one while we’re in class today and I’ll be like “that’s it!”




Yoga Teacher Interview Series: Sarah Sutton

Posted by on Jul 2, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

I met Sarah virtually, without really knowing it, via Facebook. She friended me shortly after I completed my 200-hour teacher training, and would send me invites to her stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga classes which I regrettably have not been to yet! It wasn’t until just a few months ago, when I attended her Boot Camp class at Yoga Six and Sarah was talking about her SUP  yoga classes during the Boot Camp class, that I made the connection. I was immediately drawn to her contagious positive energy during class and we got to chat after class. I can’t wait to get to one of Sarah’s other classes soon!


Sarah Sutton // Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Teacher

Instagram: @h2oyogi 

Tell me a little about yourself in a few sentences.

I am a transplant from California and moved to Columbus in 2010 with my beautiful baby girl.  I love the outdoors and all things in and around water including frozen-snowboarding heck yeah!!   By day you can either find me teaching or taking a fitness class and by night you can find me cuddled up with my daughter and 2 puppies with a good book or on a sunny patio enjoying time with my homies!  I’m in love with life and living from a place of passion and authenticity fuels my internal fire into new realms of curiosity and adventure.


Where do you currently teach?


Where did you do your teacher training?

In Columbus, OH RYT-200 with Teresa Zanderelli @ FeelitBurn, LLC.

In Boston, Aqua Kriya Yoga with Camella Nair, [and in] Key West, FL withTara McCabe @ Lazy Dog.


What style(s) of yoga do you teach?

Power, Vinyasa, Hot, Flow, Deep Stretch, Kids, Aqua Kriya & SUPYoga.


Why Yoga?

Because I love it!  Yoga is my life balance, it’s what motivates and excites me, challenges and drives me.  It’s become so much more than just a physical practice. At this point without yoga, I could not survive. My livelihood has formed a symbiotic relationship with my breath and [the] two pair in perfect harmony to help bring a peaceful enlightenment to my life.


When did you walk into your first yoga class? What drew you in? What kept you coming back?

My first exposure to yoga was in my high school gym class.  It wasn’t until 2001 when I went to college in San Diego, Ca that I took yoga a little more seriously and attended a regular class at L.A. Fitness.  The teacher played a song called “Rather Be” to open the packed class of 40+people and we flowed together so beautifully I’ll never forget the way I felt after-it was my first “YogaGlow” experience and I was hungry for more…..


Do you have a home practice? If so, what is it like?

My physical “home” practice is typically sporadic and either in my bedroom, living room, or down in the basement.  It’s a moveable space where I can embrace my puppies, who love running circles under my downward dog!  I do love sharing my home practice with friends in the comfort of my home, I find the freedom to move in ways my body would never find the studio.  My meditative practice occurs daily at the same time (headspace) typically in my car sitting in a parking lot for about 10-15 mins.


What is the most difficult part about being a yoga teacher?

Changing 5 times per day! haha That’s all I’ve got!!


What is the most rewarding part about being a yoga teacher?

Seeing my students glowing faces after class and having the opportunity to engage with other human minds on a higher level of consciousness. Promoting a deeper spiritual connection to life is the most rewarding gift one can give not only to others to but to itself.


What is your mission as a yoga teacher? Who are you trying to reach and why?

My mission is to encourage all people no matter how old to find new personal connections to theirs minds and bodies.  To listen to the internal self and allow the external just to be exactly where it is in time and space.



Favorite pose?

Oh hard one…I think other than arm balances my standing all time favorite is Eagle (Garudasana). My super tight shoulders love all the variations that this pose offers in both the upper and lower body.


Least favorite post?

Hmmm Probably Half Moon.  Some days are better than others, right?!:)  But this pose gets me every time.  I’ve just now started incorporating into my sequences because I left go of the personal attachment.


Anything else? Maybe a fun fact!?

🙂 I knit….a hat once and that was that! haha also I can touch my tongue to my nose-like Gene Simmons!




Yoga Teacher Interview Series: Shannon Taylor

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga

This lovely goddess came into my life when we began our 200 hour yoga teacher training program together at Yoga on High. Shannon Taylor has a smile and laugh that light up any space she enters. I’ve had the privilege of attending her class at Replenish ,which is a beautiful and welcoming space if you haven’t yet been! Her class is upbeat, and has the best music! Shannon has always had a natural knack for teaching, but it has been such a pleasure to experience Shannon grow as a yoga teacher (and yoga student).  Shannon is also a dedicated and proud mother and wife, and is committed to supporting the youth of central Ohio in pursuing higher education. Get yourself to one of her classes if your schedule allows, you won’t regret it! 🙂

(And Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there – including YOU, Shannon Taylor!♥)


Shannon Taylor // Teacher at Replenish


Tell me a little about yourself in a few sentences. 

Yikes, a few sentences? This is hard because I’m a talker…lol!

I am a wife, mom, daughter, big sister, yoga teacher, educator, and friend! I am a bridge builder and peace maker.  I’ve been told I’m goofy, (I do love to laugh)! I love to dance, love my family, love the work I do and love yoga!


Where do you currently teach? 

I currently teach at Replenish Spa Co-op in Downtown Columbus.  It’s a donation-based studio owned and operated by two beautiful sisters and their AMAZING mom! I teach on Monday nights at 6 PM. I teach private classes and have recently been asked to teach classes to youth in different programs.  I am hoping this grows into something bigger.  Everyone needs yoga!



Where did you do your teacher training? 

I completed my yoga teacher training at Yoga on High in Columbus, Ohio.



What style(s) of yoga do you teach? 

Vinyasa. I’d like to think [I teach] a slower flow, but some of my students would beg to differ.  I definitely try to include meditation and pranayama in each class.  I love candles, incense and essential oils!  I believe each yoga class should be a FULL sensory experience!



When did you walk into your first yoga class? What kept you coming back? yoga class was the yoga video Yoga Live with Elana Brower and produced by Russell Simmons!  My first REAL live yoga class was in the basement of a tennis center.  She had candles and pretty good music.  It flowed and felt REALLY good.  She always had a message/theme and I always left feeling really good!  I made all of my friends come and try her class and even made a playlist for her. I kept going back because I liked how I felt after class.  I got in a “workout” pushed myself through discomfort and felt refreshed.  I thought savasana was AMAZING from the very beginning.  It’s ALWAYS been my favorite part of class! I found Replenish about a year after I started practicing and Chanelle (one of the owners and the primary teacher at the time) was AMAZING! I found that many of the things I was learning on the mat, translated to my life off the mat.  I always say I like my yoga with a little sermon/ life lesson and she always brought it!



What is your advice to a first timer? 

My advice to a first timer is to let go of any expectations!  Connect to the NOW and Be Present! Have an open mind and heart…Listen to your body and your neighbors mat IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS! Do you!



At what point did you decide you wanted to teach? 

I think I knew after my first few classes.  I imagined what my classes would look like – candlelit, bass booming, breath, and movement! I wanted to create a safe space that would resonate with people…particularly students who looked like me, to feel comfortable and practice yoga (not something I’d see in the classes I attended). Often times when I practice in different spaces, I am the “only one in the room” or I’ve brought my friends and “we” are there… OR if there are other people of color in the room, we are running to connect with one another because it’s not something we see in every class.  It isn’t something that is intentionally done (I am sure), but I am not sure what or why it is like that…but I do know that representation matters! I (along with a few friends) are definitely trying to diversify the face of yoga!



Yoga with or without music? If with, what kind? 

Both really.  Sometimes I like the quiet and focus of breath. Often times in my home practice I go without music.  Just last week in my Monday night class, my music wasn’t working and we had a silent class. I got a text later that evening saying that it was really nice and [the student asked if we] could do that every now and then. That being said, I LOVE music!  Music with a strong bass beat: hip hop, neo-soul, r&b, rap, electronic, new age yoga. I’ll listen to it and if it resonates with me, I’ll add it to the playlist! I am looking for music EVERYWHERE! Shazam is getting lots of use in my life.



Why yoga? 

Seriously?!!  I feel like a better question is WHY NOT YOGA?  When I first began practicing yoga (concurrent with a running regiment), a good friend of mine was so excited for me! I remember her saying, “you can run for a while, but YOGA…you can practice yoga for a lifetime!”  There are so many pieces of yoga that translate to everyday life, I really can’t imagine my life without it. The benefits are endless! The feeling you have when you leave is addicting.  Before TT I really could name it, but knowing that yoga is yoking the mind, body and spirit, It is really EVERYTHING that I need!



Who or what currently inspires you? 

God, my family, my students (school and yoga), my yoga family/mentors, Dr. Chelsea Jackson, my uncle Barack and Aunt Michelle (lol, Obama that is 😉 ), my ancestors….Work being done with underrepresented/marginalized communities.



What do you enjoy doing “off the mat”? 

Spending time with people I love! Watching my daughter play basketball, watching my husband coach basketball, chatting with my son who is away at school. Laughing, reading, listening to podcasts (#staywoke), shopping, running. I also REALLY enjoy my 9-5 at a local nonprofit whose primary focus is to provide college access to Columbus high school students. #iknowican


Favorite Pose? 

Man… high lunge, warrior 2, headstand are DEFINITELY in my top 3!


Least Favorite Pose? 

Not sure now…Yoga Teacher Training has opened my eyes to all the benefits of each asana and I somehow try to find comfort in discomfort.  BUT, it DEFINITELY used to be utkatasana!!!!  chair pose used to get at me!




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