I came to Yoga in 1998 when I lived in NYC working a 9-5 job in a photo agency. My first Yoga class was nothing less than transformational. The experience of moving through postures in order to facilitate the flow of energy inside, rather than performing movement for a spectator, created a huge shift of consciousness in me.
My journey of self-discovery began, exploring the power of breath combined with mindful movement. I dove into the practice because I could feel the benefits of providing more ease and clarity in my mind, while strengthening my physical body in previously unfelt ways. I understood then that body and mind are truly inextricably connected, and that we have the power to create our own environment within by directing prana (life force) through the channels in our body.
Stilling the mind in meditation became a necessity to cope with the stress around me. A whole new world opened up for me and I couldn’t believe there were people out there that hadn’t yet discovered the power of this practice!
After witnessing 9/11 I moved into the mountains north of Los Angeles. My practice grew and evolved under the guidance of many great teachers in LA. I completed my 200 hour teacher training in 2002 with the original founders of Yogaworks, Maty Ezraty and Chuck Miller, and went on apprenticing with Annie Carpenter for 6 months. I have been teaching ever since.
After the birth of my 3 daughters I became a certified Children’s Yoga Instructor through mini yogis, and created a pilot program at Topanga Elementary School, teaching Yoga to kids from Kindergarten - 3rd grade.
My continuing studies have led me to Yoga’s sister science Ayurveda and in 2015 I completed my Ayurveda Wellness Counseling training through James Bailey.
“In my public classes you are guided through a soulful, nourishing flow that is both heating and invigorating, and at the same time calming and self-reflective. I encourage you to inquire within as our bodies move through various postures to allow energy to move through us and to remove blockages through conscious breathing, alignment and the cultivation of awareness.
I invite you to practice at your own pace and to always stay true to your own breath, so that the postures unfold as a result of an inner opening and expansion. My sequences aim to gradually and progressively open the body in order to meet our true Self, confront our limits and transcend them. Yoga is about cultivating Self-awareness and being present in each moment. It is about using the opportunities that reveal themselves to us through mindful practice, allowing emotional healing to take place while we strengthen our physical bodies.”
I currently live in Topanga, CA with my husband Steve Sas Schwartz and our 3 daughters, who continue to remind me that I am a better person when I find time to spend on the mat.
Completed Yogaworks 2oo Hour Teacher Training
Led by Vivica Schwartz and Dawn Stillo, March 17 - June 17, 2018, Woodland Hills, SOCAL
300 hour mentorship program at Yogaworks
I am thrilled to announce I'm offering a 300 Hour Mentorship Program at Yogaworks for graduates of the Yogaworks 200 hour teacher training. Keep growing your education!
Ayurveda Wellness Counseling
The practice of Yoga, which includes meditation and Pranayama, has led me to it’s sister science Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the science of life and the art of self-healing. Both yoga and Ayurveda originate from the ancient Vedic scriptures and date back thousands of years. The practice of Yoga leads us to self-transformation, the practice of Ayurveda leads us towards health.
According to Ayurveda, health is a continuous and participatory process that embraces all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, familial, social and universal. Achieving balance on all levels of being is the true measure of vibrant health..
Both Yoga and Ayurveda instill a better understanding about ourselves, our place in the universe (we are a microcosm of the macrocosm that is the universe) and they both emphasize the effect of the mind on our bodies.
Our bodies have an inherent wisdom to heal ourselves. The way to maintain health and lead a healthy life style is through self care.
The changes that can transform a stressed out, diseased body into one that feels balanced and energetic don’t have to be drastic. Once you start creating an inner awareness of what your body needs to feel at ease, relaxed and strong you are on your way to creating and maintaining a heathy life style.
We are born with a unique proportion of dynamic energies, called the doshas, which is our constitution, or Prakriti. These energetic principles govern all physical and mental processes. The doshas change constantly in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the foods we eat, the seasons, and any other sensory inputs that feed our mind and body.
2 Hour Ayurveda Assessment
In my two hour Ayurveda assessment sessions you will learn some of the basic principles of Ayurveda, and walk away with an increased knowledge about yourself that will help you transform your life.
We will determine your constitution and your current dosha imbalance. This is done through a conversation, questions, and careful observation that help me better understand your uniqueness.
I will be examining your tongue and reading your pulse to tie it all together and gain a clear understanding of what you need to come back into balance.
You will learn about the Ayurvedic clock, daily self care rituals (dinacharya), seasonal regimen, herbs and other remedies for maintaining good health and prevention and treatment of disease.
You will find out about foods that help you heal, foods that are best to stay away from and food that don’t combine well.
We will talk about the importance of sleep, the practice of Yoga (Including meditation and pranayama) and you’ll discover the essential role of good digestion and how to strengthen your digestive system.
We will look for signs of toxins (ama) in your body and figure out the best way to gently bring you back to a state of health and balance, considering cleansing techniques, eating habits and other life style choices.
Your new self care repertoire will change your life, and the way you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
If you would like to inquire about an Ayurveda assessment with me, please fill out this form:
Traditional 11-Day Ayurveda Fall Cleanse
October 17-27, 2018
It is time to cleanse our bodies and minds as we transition into Fall season.
My dear friend Aparna Khanolkar and I are offering a traditional 11 day Ayurvedic cleanse this Fall to help us clear out the heat from Pitta season and prepare us for the cooler and dryer Vata season. This is a gentle cleanse, not a starvation diet, based on eating easily digestible and delicious food such as traditional kitchari (split mung beans and white basmati rice cooked together with indian spices) for the main part of the cleanse (5 days).The combination of rice and mung dal provides all the amino acids needed to form a complete protein. This offers the digestive system a rest and gives the body an opportunity to rid it self of toxins (ama) and nourishes and balances the digestive fire (agni).
This year's cleanse comes with recipes, yoga practices you can do at home (link to youtube videos by me), guided audio meditation, and guided pranayama practices.
Investment: $89 plus 3% processing fee ($91.67)
Retreats / Workshops
JOY and SURRENDER YOGA RETREAT in COSTA RICA with Vivica Schwartz and Birgitte Kristen • May 18-25th, 2019
On our week’s journey together in Costa Rica we investigate our attachments to pleasure and pain through the practice of Yoga, so that we can ultimately find Joy and Surrender.
We all wish to thrive in life and not merely survive and discover our personal bliss, the state of knowing ourselves to be whole and complete. Embarking on the journey of Yoga alters long-held beliefs and thought patterns that obscure our highest self. Sometimes pain or discomfort can become the impetus for genuine transformation.
Surrender is an expression of trust, a way of saying,"I am available to what wants to reveal itself through me.” To surrender is to yield to the next stage of your evolution.
As we continue to practice and cultivate inner awareness we experience contentment, knowing that we are exactly where we need to be on our journey.
Our week together will facilitate many openings, physical or emotional to help you discover your inner bliss, an expansion of consciousness and the realization of your true Self through the practice of asana, pranayama and meditation (dhyana).
Cost: $1750-$2250 (triple, double), penthouse and private rooms available. $200 discount if paid before Dec 15th.
Reserve Your Spot!
A $500 deposit is required to reserve your space in the retreat, and is non-refundable.*
*The Remaining Balance
The remaining balance will be due by March 1st, 2019. (If you need to discuss a payment plan, please inquire. I’ll be happy to accommodate your requests if I can.) This balance will need to be paid by bank transfer, check, or venmo, or by credit card (plus 5% processing fee).
Out of necessity, we have a strict cancellation policy. All retreat payments are non-refundable as we will be obliged to fulfill our reservations with the resort the moment you reserve with us.
. What Is Included
8 Days and 7 nights.
One energizing/flow yoga practice in the morning co-guided by Birgitte & Vivica, with hands on assists.
One Restorative/Yin/Yoga Nidra practice in the afternoon by either Birgitte or Vivica.
Four Farm to Table Fresh Meals per day prepared by Blue Osa’s master chefs, including an early light breakfast, brunch, afternoon snack and dinner (view a sample menu here).
Yoga props including blocks, blankets, straps, and Yoga Mats.
Access to Miles of Secluded Jungle Beaches.
Unlimited beachfront gorgeousness, swimming, sunning, enjoying, and savoring.
$50 credit toward onsite spa services.
Ground transportation shuttle service from Puerto Jimenez Airport to Blue Osa and Blue Osa to Puerto Jimenez on scheduled arrival and departure days only. $25 each way if arriving and departing on non-scheduled days.
13% Costa Rica Room Tax.
Daily housekeeping service & Gratuities for entire staff.
Coffee and Teas.
What’s Not Included
Cost of any excursions, including the separate cost of transportation to and from the excursion.
Gratuities for drivers, excursion facilitators, and resort staff are NOT included.
Beer, wine, or other specialty beverages, which are available at the bar for an additional fee.
Costa Rica departure tax of $29/person (most airlines include this now in their fee).
above: Penthouse rooms
below: more Accommodations
All Rooms Are Equipped With
A private bathroom and shower.
Elegant, modern furnishings.
Fresh bed linens + towels.
Large, screened windows.
A personal safe.