Char began her yoga journey in 2003 at Fitworks in Rocky River, with teacher Puma. Back then, she was not yet aware that she suffered from anxiety. On a rough day just when she needed it, Char received an email inviting her to Puma’s yoga class. On that day, rather than reaching for the usual glass of wine and a cigarette, she made the choice to go to class. Following the class, she experienced the deep peace, the shanti, of yoga. She knew that there was something to this yoga thing. However she did not dive into consistent practice just then.
Over time, she continued to use unhealthy ways to deal with her stress, until 2014 when she found herself overweight, anxious, and depressed. She realized she needed to make some changes and include yoga in her life more consistently. This was again confirmed when she was diagnosed with a plexiform neuroma in her throat, and the threat of cancer was very real. Thankfully, after many tests, scans, and finally surgery, she was given a benign diagnosis. The stress of the process definitely took its toll, and Char knew she could not continue down this road of being unhappy in her job and life, and unhealthy coping. She enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training and completed a 300 hour hatha yoga certification course in 2014/15.
In 2016, Char took her first class at Branches of Wellness with Erin Hill and fell in love with the studio and community. She felt as if she had found her tribe and her sanctuary, where she was accepted as she was and could be herself. She began to work with Branches as a yoga instructor, office manager, and desk yogi, and also began her Reiki certifications. However, the universe diverted her path with some hard lessons in healing, patience, and letting go. She went through two car accidents within a month injuring her body, dealt with addiction in the family, and discovered she may not be able to conceive another child.
She paused from helping others heal to work on her own self-healing though receiving Thai/Reiki treatments from Lyndsey Stropkey. Following a breast reduction in 2018, it was discovered that Char had a lobular carcinoma in situ and atypical lobular hyperplasia, which resulted in her having a double mastectomy in July of 2018.
When she received this scary diagnosis, Char reached out to Erin and Lyndsey at Branches and came back to the community where she received Thai and Reiki healing and tons of emotional support. “I learned how to love myself as I am, and treat myself the way I would a friend. I feel like I have finally figured out who I am. I am a highly sensitive empath and loving person. ” She stepped back into teaching again in early 2019 and completed her Reiki Master level and Table Thai Massage Training in 2019. She is inspired by Kundalini Yoga, Krishna Das, Yoga With Adrien, and yoga teachers Erin Hill, Lyndsey Stropkey.