"Health and fitness professional that provides personalized fitness and wellness programs using holistic mind body philosophies to assist students in maintaining and reaching fitness goals. Caring compassionate fitness teacher with a reputation in maintaining long lasting professional relationships with students and clients. Adept at teaching group fitness classes to people of all ages and sizes while encouraging practice outside of class to get into the best shape of their lives. Strongly believes health is a conscious lifestyle choice necessary for longevity and happiness."
That is what you read at the top of my resume. But can I share with you my story? My journey, that has lead me to become a movement wellness advocate?
At a young age I loved to dance. I would put on my favorite cassette and start moving, cartwheeling, shaking and dancing. I enjoyed choreographing as well and would create dances and share them with my younger sister and cousins. Since my parents couldn't really afford dance classes I joined cheerleading to feed my dancing soul.
Out of high school and with a strong curious nature, my best friend and I signed up for bellydancing classes. And as the story goes, she stopped going and I continued.
I met my first teacher and mentor Laura Lee (San Diego, CA) whom opened my eyes to world dance and yoga. I was part of her performance troupe the Nataraja's where I made lots of new friends and performed . After five years of studying exclusively with L.T we traveled twice (2003 & 2004) to Bali Indonesia to study Balinese dance and yoga. We performed throughout the island and gave a Spanish Gypsy workshop at Bali Spirit Yoga Studio. Another most memorable experience during my mentorship was being a production assistant for "Yoga with L" where I performed the moon and sun salutation in the last two segments of the 25 segment series. I worked side by side in helping her create her 3 minute segments that aired in our local KENW PBS station. We both took our first Yogafit Level One together in April 2005. She encouraged me to begin teaching classes in the community so I volunteered at the Portales Recreation Center teaching yoga classes and belly dance classes to kids. By the following year I was teaching yoga and belly dance classes at Clovis Community College, where I initiated the first belly dance production show at CCC.
I was a busy young instructor still eager to learn and explore. I continued to volunteer at the Portales Recreation Center and began teaching yoga and belly dance classes at Eastern New Mexico University. There I helped create the first yoga class for the Lifelong Wellness program for our community seniors. And in 2008, I established Fusion Funk Collective . Fusion Funk Collective was the largest student campus organization for several years. Bellydancers, Poi and fire dancers, percussionists, and artists and community members made the collective. Our mission was to spread cultural awareness through world dance. Beyond the campus and into the community. As director, I organized fundraisers and assisted the students. One of our main performances is every summer for the Spanish Teachers Immersion at ENMU. The highlight of Fusion Funk Collective (2008 & 2009) was hosting the beloved Bollywood Superstar Queen Harish (India). At the end of the Collective's organizational career we also hosted the Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan in 2014. They offered workshops and a fabulous performance in which Fusion Funk Collective proudly performed.
A pivotal moment in my career happened while attending the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp held in California. I was blessed to receive two work exchange scholarships for my week long immersion. There I studied with the top Middle Eastern Dancers and musicians throughout the world such as Aisha Ali, Souhail Kaspar, Shoshanna Rose, Jill Parker, and Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Living in Southeast New Mexico, I make it my personal mission to support other dancers in the area. I frequently attend workshops in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM. As director of Fusion Funk we performed in Roswell, NM at Origins: Evolution and Oriental Potpourri and East Meets West in Albuquerque. And during this time I was the World Dance instructor for Portales's first School of Dance. The School of Dance put on seasonal dance production recitals. Although it went by many names, it didn't stop the school of dance from performing productions such as the Nutcracker, and Giselle and other school productions. I enjoy teaching kids, who came to me with interests of learning our Bollywood numbers.
I love the studio vibe. I truly feel it is my calling to bring that frequency to my community. Naturally, I was thrilled when asked to instruct at Sahai Yoga Studio in Clovis, NM. There I learned more about Kundalini Yoga with Kaur Khalsa and was a Hatha Yoga Instructor. This same year a pursued my Yogafit Level Two in Albuquerque. Because I was a huge presence on the ENMU campus, I took a Safe Space Training. It's a unique training that educates on how to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ people. Part of the mission sates, "...This workshop aims to reduce the often unwelcoming and even hostile environments in which LGBTQIA people navigate in their daily lives."
I am an ally. I am an ally for POC. I am an ally for peace. I am an ally for non violence Ahimsa. I am an ally for the eight limbed yogic path. I retrained twice in the Yogafit Level One training. I wanted to learn more of this system that brings yoga to the fitness industry on top of the traditional classical hatha yoga.
Through 2014-2019 I hosted the Yogafit Training Systems. This training worked for me because I can work my way towards my 200 hour RYT by taking each level at my own time and pace. Although, I can honestly say my time and experience goes beyond this 200 RYT construct that nowhere puts a limit on my time and experience I had shadowing, substituting, and learning. Having the tools of yoga helped me experience a very healthy pregnancy. I continued to world dance and teach yoga all into my third trimester. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy in February 2016.
My role as the liaison for Yogafit was to advertise the training and provide an adequate space for the training. It gave those in the surrounding areas the opportunity to attend the training and receive their Yogafit teaching certificate. It also provided a special opportunity for my yoga students at ENMU to achieve there yoga certification. I achieved my Level three, Yogafit Seniors, Anatomy and Alignment in Yoga, and Prenatal/Postnatal Yogafit certification in 2019. I also met an outstanding mentor and master trainer that brought more knowledge and thought into my yoga teaching.
During this time of the pandemic I am extending and reaching out more than ever. I miss performing at the annual Clovis Ethnic Fair and the Portales Peanut Valley Festival. I miss gathering for September National Yoga month. I'm enriching my life more by supporting other dancers and participating in more yoga and dance trainings. During the pandemic it has been easier to do as most are utilizing this format. Currently I am enrolled in the UNESCO Rajasthani Folk Program lead by Katrinaji (CA). One day I will get to study in India!
I sincerely hope you take a look at what I have to offer. I want to be of service to you. Awaken this energy that has no limits or expectations, no judgement but healing and lots and lots of love. Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.
Yoli was one of the biggest blessings, I could have asked for, as an instructor. When I first entered her Yoga course, I had difficulty with a lot of poses, even simple ones. My mind was too chaotic, to focus during meditation. Yoli worked with my individual interests, and helped me learn the poses, and focus my mind. She worked with various types of people, all with different strengths, and was able to adapt the class, to help all her students, and created an atmosphere that made everyone feel welcome and relaxed. I highly recommend her, as an instructor, and mentor.
—William Bailey, Former Student