the making of a yogini
A native Austinite, Valerie grew up along the creeks of Austin with an innate love and appreciation for animals, nature and self reflection (svadhyaya - self study). Although some of the base principles of yoga have long been a part of her life, the physical asana practice was first introduced sometime around 2006 in an Ashtanga class at an apartment complex gym. Her practice continued to deepen throughout college in ashtanga and vinyasa classes where she became hooked on the calm clarity created through a regular vigorous practice.
As the years passed, Valerie discovered hatha yoga and her practice slowed down as she became more interested in the subtleties of the poses and how micro-movements can create vast openings in the body. After graduating from The University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology, she began working at a residential treatment center for children traumatized by abuse and neglect. Through this experience, she learned to fully appreciate what a powerful tool yoga is to the mind and soul. There at the RTC she had her first experiences teaching yoga to the children. In addition to moving through poses, she lead them in breathing exercises and guided meditations teaching strategies for self-regulation.
Inspired by the changes she saw in the lives of these children and the call she felt from within, Valerie sought to gain her certification to teach. In 2015, she completed a 200 hour hatha yoga certification at Yoga Yoga Austin in their Foundations for Yoga Therapy program with an additional 100 hours of training in pranayama, meditation, sequencing and injury prevention. She has also studied advanced asanas, children's yoga, and business practices for the wellness professional and has studied with internationally recognized teachers on yoga anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff and mastering the art of adjusting with Donna Farhi. In 2017, Valerie completed her 500 hour hatha certification.
In the classes Valerie teaches, she offers challenging yet accessible sequences with room for introspection and inquiry. Both adult and kid classes have a playful attitude towards practice and self-acceptance focus. Her most influential teachers are her mentor Kim Schaefer - whose humility and light-hearted nature inspired her to become a teacher, Rachel Hector - whose doctorate level of knowledge in kinesiology and anatomy brings insights into the body, Chase Bossart - who brings life to the yoga sutras and meditation practices, Clarissa Smith-Broesche - whose grace and elegance demonstrates the true meaning of holding space, and the children she served in residential care - who have forever changed her life.
In her free time, Valerie enjoys hiking, cooking, organic gardening, home improvement projects, creating natural body products, studying yoga, and rehabilitating wildlife.