My 200 Hour Yoga Certification

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Hello, friends! It’s been a while. Lately, I’ve been nose deep in finishing a self study project, the final part toward my 200-hour yoga certification.

I have news! It is done. 

Now, I’m waiting to receive the paper certification in the mail, but still I am officially a 200-hour certified yoga instructor. And it feels so good.

This is something I’ve been working towards since I was 15-years old and my gym instructor told me I would make a great yoga instructor. (I was taking a Yoga, Pilates, and Tae-Bo elective.) Her comment stuck with me ever since. Throughout high school and college, I practiced yoga and dreamed of being an instructor someday. A few years after college, I remember journaling around the New Year and for probably the 5th year in a row one of my goals was around practicing more yoga and becoming an instructor. I had a moment where I thought -- “Wait, why haven’t I done this yet?” And decided this was the year to make some movement on it.

I researched studios that hosted teacher training programs near me and found a home in Cascade Yoga Studio. That year I practiced more yoga and I saved for the tuition. By January 2016 I was starting my program. Over the next 9 months the program met one weekend per month, with homework and projects in between. That year I happened to get engaged, married, and buy a house. So, on top of the yoga teacher training program, I was working full-time in a demanding job, planning my wedding, house hunting, and moving. Note: I wouldn’t suggest doing all the things at the same time. MELTDOWNS ENSUED!

 Photo credit: Veronica Kirin,

Photo credit: Veronica Kirin,

Oh man, they did. When you take a good yoga teacher training program, yes you study yoga and the body, and learn how to teach but you also study yourself. And while you discover some pretty awesome things about yourself you will also uncover some shortcomings. I did and it was hard and I got down on myself.

I finished the trainings in November 2016, but because the rest of my life had been the whirlwind that it was it took me the whole next year to completely finish my program: attending hours of workshops by “master teachers,” observing senior teachers, reading books and writing reports, getting CPR certified, and lastly, completing a 20-hour self study project in an area of yoga that interests you.

That part should have been easy--I love yoga, I love writing, it was actually something I was really looking forward to about the training. So it figures that it ended up being the hardest part for me. Again and again, I would sit down to work and hit wall after wall. It was discouraging, and hard to quiet the voices in my head that were demanding: “why can’t you just do this?!”  

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Up until a couple of days ago, I was embarrassed about how long my teacher training took me to complete. But, you know what? I'm not going to dwell on how long it took. It took me what it took me and I stuck with it because it meant something to me, and it’s done now. And I am happy and grateful for this journey.

I ended up writing about the Moon and yoga and I’d love to share these ideas over the next few posts. We’ll be looking at the Moon’s role in yoga, her energetic effects, and how we might benefit from reconnecting to her. Sound fun??

More soon, Moonbeams!


September Routines


September is a “new beginning” kind of month for me. A time for reinvention, but in the form of daily/weekly rhythms. Getting back to them, reinventing them, adding new ones in. This year I’ve noticed a few self-care routines start to pop up in my world and move from a lofty thought to an actual rhythm.

Do you ever have those? I feel like I constantly have a list of things I want to do, of rhythms or routines I want to fuse with my world. Ahem, to name a few: apple cider vinegar tea in the morning instead of (or let’s face it, before) coffee, getting back to playing guitar every day, a meditation practice…In reality, it’s probably not even possible to do all of them in one day. A girl can dream. Instead, I’ll share what rhythms I’ve made time for these days:


Lavender epsom salt foot baths.

Okay, so I’ve only done this once so far. So, I can hardly call it a routine. But! My mom bought me this Dr. Teal’s Lavender Epsom Salt and I have grandiose dreams of a nightly 9pm foot soak by candlelight followed by climbing into bed and snoozing into a lavender-induced sleep. Dreamy! It has yet to happen on the regular. What I like about it though is the regular smell of lavender, and the benefits of Epsom salt. It has been known for years for relieving muscle aches and pains in the body. And a warm foot soak is just plain relaxing. I tend to go for a foot bath over a full body bath because it's easier, but either will do. Go get your relax on.


Lavender essential oil in the diffuser.

My next favorite routine has been running lavender essential oil through my oil diffuser each night. It feels so luxurious! I mostly use it for lavender’s therapeutic, calming, and sleep-inducing qualities. Plus I love the smell.

Hip openers after work.

When I don’t have somewhere to be right after work I’ve found myself coming home and heading right to my yoga mat. One of the things I’d been wanting to do was build a more consistent my home yoga practice. Low and behold, instead of having to think about and plan for a home practice my body led me to one on its own. It helps me calm down from a work day, come back into my body, and STRETCH after spending a lot of time sitting at a desk. I usually gravitate toward full-body stretches like downward dog and hip flexor stretches. I’ve even noticed that I’m more present with Austin in the evenings afterward. It does a world of good, friends.

Scheduling Me time.

I have a few personal goals for myself this month. One: I need to finish and turn in my yoga thesis so that I can officially get my teacher certification. Two: I want to get into a writing rhythm for this little blog. I realized that these goals could easily slip through my fingertips if I didn’t make time for them. My weeks can quickly fill up with events or family/friend visits. To help my own self, it was time to get more intentional with my time. The result? I scheduled Tori Time on my calendar for each Wednesday night.

I will say that I noticed these routines naturally slip into my days or weeks. I don’t do everything everyday. Some of them just came in as they were needed. And for me, that’s a great kind of routine because then I’m not forcing 5 things at once, into one day. Talk about overwhelming, not to mention a prime opportunity to fail and feel down on yourself. Listen to your body and see if you can hear a routine or two calling you. And then tell me what they are!


Saying Hello!

As I started writing I realized that I was referring to people, places, and things that you all may not know about. So I’m saying a formal hello and sharing a little more about who I am and what my life looks like!

I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and despite thinking I would set roots down far away from here, I’m still in Grand Rapids and it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a really good thing. Grand Rapids is a fun city to be in especially right now as it continues to grow. I live on the Southeast side of the city with my husband Austin and two lovely roommates.

You’ll hear me mention my family and friends in here often. They give me so much insight and inspiration in life. As for Austin, he is my person. He is kind, curious, thoughtful, loves cozy things, music, and Tigers baseball. He is my bookworm and because of this, can always get an interesting conversation going at the gatherings he loves to host in our home. And he lets me find and then be myself every single day. Which means to world to me. All the heart eyes!  

My parents live in Grand Rapids still, so I hang with them often. My Mom is an endless spout of ideas and the cutest plant lady you ever did see. My Dad encourages me to do what makes me happy and will help me make a business plan for it someday. My sister Jen is one of my best friends and a daily inspiration despite living over 3,000 miles away in a California mountain town.

  Wedding day yoga  anyone? Photo credit:  Veronica Kirin

Wedding day yoga anyone? Photo credit: Veronica Kirin

By day I am the Studio Manager at Elevator Up, a digital product firm. My role supports the people, cultural, and operations sides of the company. I get excited about helping people grow personally and professionally, and developing a collaborative culture there. On evenings and weekends, I teach yoga around the community and love every minute of it! I am a 200 hour RYT through Prairie Yoga and Cascade Yoga Studio. Yoga has a big piece of my heart and therefore my life. It is the inspiration behind this here blog too! Yoga, wellness, and happy things.

Other than that, I have plenty of other miscellaneous things I love (and love talking about) in no particular order: Yoga, breakfast, lavender, lemons, sunflowers, dahlias, chamomile tea, cozy things, writing and therefore journals, slow mornings, coffee, camping, illustration, playing guitar, singing, just sitting outside and looking at nature, campfires, water, the moon, whimsical things.

If you’re here, we probably have at least one of the above things in common. I’m so excited to get to know you! Let’s love on the things we love together.


To Start With My Own Voice


I’m sitting here thinking about a blog and starting one and how it’s been hard for me to just begin. To write an opening post. I found myself thinking too much about how it should look or how it should sound. I found myself spending a lot of time Googling and researching others’ advice on how to start a blog. I’ll be honest, I’ve started and scrapped three different posts so far. When I came back after a day or a week and read through again, they didn’t even sound like me. The voice, the format, the content was someone else. And of course I don’t truly want that. I want to be me, I want to be using my voice and doing this my way. So here we are starting over again. A little more raw, but a lot more me.* 

I asked my journal: “So why do I want to blog?” I want to blog because I love to write—it helps me think and process. I’ve kept a journal since the 3rd grade and while my entries have graduated from the wonderings and dilemmas of youth to those of today I still have questions and thoughts and stories that I don’t always want to face alone.

“Yoga, wellness, and happy things” has been a mantra of sorts that came to me when I started putting myself into the world as a yoga instructor. Six-plus months later, the mantra still sits with me without feeling old or worn out. It remains ringing true in my heart. If there is any focus on this here blog, that is it—yoga, wellness, and happy things. It will be about my journey with practicing and teaching yoga, my stories and curiosities about whole-body wellness, and my adventures with things that make me happy. 

I don’t know exactly where we’ll go but I’m excited to start with my own voice this time. And I’m happy to have anyone else along! 


* P.S. I owe a good part of this starting to a friend who helped talk me through the journey of ‘beginning’ from her own experience. Thank you!