Denise was introduced to yoga in 2006 and was fascinated by the unique combination of mental stimulation and physical demand. Compelled to learn more, she enrolled in a 200 Hour Hatha Teacher training with Jeannine Dietz. After she completed the teacher training, she jumped right into teaching. She found that the more she taught, the more she wanted to learn! In 2014 she continued her studies of alignment-based yoga with Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny at Dig Yoga. She has now earned her 500 Hour Teacher Training certificate through their yoga school. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of how practicing yoga with optimal alignment enhances overall body awareness and appreciation for what the body can do. She also strives to show students how a regular yoga practice can help them to live more fulfilled and conscious lives. This practice has transformed her life beyond what she could have ever imagined, and she hopes to guide the way for her students to have the same experience. She is forever grateful to her teachers, and to the PCYH community for creating a peaceful place to practice yoga.
Today Denise is the Studio Manager of Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, she makes sure that every student can find his or her center at the center. Her warmth and dedication to a holistic lifestyle make PCYH a home to many.
As a big picture, what do you hope to teach your students?
As a big picture, I hope to teach my students that life is a gift and it is meant to be enjoyed. For me, one of the most profound lessons that I have learned through yoga is that too often, we stand in our own way. The practice of yoga has a unique way of helping us understand ourselves, and through this understanding, we can make choices that serve our highest potential.
I was first introduced to yoga when I was a senior in high school. I had been recovering from an eating disorder, and was not in a good place. I had a looming feeling of inadequacy and was stressed out about where to go to college and what to do with my life. I was completely out of touch with the present moment. A friend’s mother suggested that I try a yoga class. I agreed and was instantly hooked! I left the class with a sense of inner peace and groundedness that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I decided to go once a week. I looked forward to going every week, but I don’t think that I fully understood why I enjoyed it so much. At the time, it just seemed like a cool, alternative way to get some exercise, take a break from outside stresses, and wind down. After graduating high school, I went to college and practiced occasionally. It wasn’t until I graduated college and started working that I joined a studio and started practicing 3-4 times a week. The benefits that I felt were remarkable. I found that I was less stressed, less reactive, more confident, and overall happier than I had been before. I had to learn more about the practice, so I looked up Teacher Trainings in New Jersey, and found that there was one at PCYH! I enrolled in the teacher training with Jeannine Dietz, and it was a truly life-changing experience. I am forever grateful for it. Soon after, I began teaching and have been teaching and training ever since.
What do you enjoy most about teaching yoga?
What I enjoy most about teaching yoga is the people that it has connected me to. In my earlier years of practicing, I attended many workshops and classes alone. At the time, I enjoyed the “me-time”, and of course, still do once in awhile. However, being in the yoga community as a teacher and long-time student has allowed me meet so many friendly and inspiring yogis! I am forever grateful for the friendships I have formed through the yoga community, especially our warm, loving community at PCYH.
Who are your greatest influences?
My greatest influences are Naime Jezzeny and Sue Elkind. I completed my 500 hour teacher training with them, and still attend classes with them weekly. They have taught me to teach, think about, and practice asana in a way that is both safe and sustainable. They inspire me to embrace life and enjoy it!
How does yoga influence you in your role as Studio Manager?
In an everyday sense, my yoga practice is my sanity. Consistent practice helps me to juggle the many tasks that come along with managing the studio without feeling overwhelmed. Running a yoga studio comes with various demands, and I often have to wear a lot of hats. It can get hard to squeeze in my practices sometimes, but I remind myself that the better I care for myself, the better I can care for the center and our community.
As a big picture, part of my “off the mat” yoga practice is to uplift, empower and be of service to others wherever possible. As the studio manger, I strive to make everyone who walks through our doors–from teachers, the SEVAS (awesome volunteer desk staff), to students–feel welcome and open sharing and exploring our many offerings. I especially love giving teachers the opportunity to teach from their hearts, and sevas the gift of being of service to community.
I am extremely thankful to everyone who makes my work possible, especially to our founder, Deborah Metzger, who has given me the opportunity to do what I love. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
Try out one of Denise’s classes:
Mondays, 9:30 to 11:00 am
Wednesdays, 7:30 to 8:45 pm
Fridays, 9:30 to 11:00 am
Medium pace with fairly long holds for each pose.
What to expect:
These classes integrate physical yoga poses (asanas), breath work (pranayama), philosophy, and relaxation. Teachers sequence each class intelligently and creatively, and guide the students through optimal alignment in each pose. The poses that are taught are moderate to challenging.
Is this class right for you?
Some experience is recommended; however variations and modifications are offered so that each student is both accommodated and challenged.