About Cassandra

About Cassandra

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I want to live in a world where everyone can say “yoga saved my life.” Okay, I’ll settle for changed your life, but I’m really going for saved.

As a yogi, I’ve been featured in USA Today and Neurology Now (twice).    A practitioner of yoga for 19 years, I’ve taught for over 10 and love it!  I love my clients’ faces when they leave.   And I love sharing the magic and healing power of yoga.

My clients include young (17) and old (74), male and female, short and tall, thin and wide, flexible and stiff, weak and strong, couples and singles.   My clients include all sorts of Washington professionals, but to my delight, I have attracted many employees of the Washington National Cathedral (a favorite DC place of mine).

I offer hour long private sessions in my newly appointed studio in the West End of DC.    Right now I am nearly finished with my ebook – How to Give Yourself a Love Rub – the Ayurvedic Way.  Stay tuned!

Bonus knowledge –

  • Despite my fierce independence, I served as captain of Vassar’s synchronized swimming team.
  • I throw great parties where everyone wants to go home afterwards and have sex.  (Yes, before Megan Draper had the idea!)
  • Books invade my home (for some reason!) – especially historical novels, biographies of fascinating women and poetry.

I am also the founder of WellSpring Stones, an online wellness learning center that provides intelligent, engaging, and sensitive information as well as distraction for those living with chronic illness.   We feature strategies and services to advance lifestyle skills, promote peace and acceptance as well as nurture beauty, joy and meaning.   Launching soon.

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What Got Me To My First Yoga Class?

Two words – love and envy.

I fell in love with a man in 1994 whose emotional strength I greatly admired.    He’d overcome alcoholism and survived the sudden death of a sibling, the suicide of another and a divorce.   I wondered, “How is he sane?”  He took me to my first yoga class.  As a former dancer I enjoyed flexibility that enabled me not to completely embarrass myself, but I have to admit – the yoga studio looked like a torture chamber!   Bizarre wood contraptions lined up along the wall and forbidding ropes hung from the walls and the ceiling.   After he and I parted ways, I found I still yearned for him. I missed his fortitude.  I discerned he got that from his yoga and I wanted some of that.   So, I walked into my second yoga class and I fell in love again.  Hard and deep!

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Why Did I Become A Yoga Teacher?

I teach yoga because yoga saved my life.   This sentiment is so common it’s become clichéd, but that’s also because it’s true for so many people.    In my case, I live with a mercurial, mysterious and misunderstood illness that keeps me on my toes.   I never know how my body is going to feel.   Yoga – the physical and spiritual practice – gave me many ways to cope and counteract the bad.   And I’ve been spreading the good news about yoga ever since!

One translation of a yoga teacher is a darkness dispeller.   I love that because yoga dissipated so much darkness for me.

I want to dispel darkness for others. I bring a sensitivity to my teaching that helps me to listen and respond well.

I Teach Yoga Because I Love To

  • watch magic
  • create the space for change
  • convey all that I understand, know, feel and see about yoga
  • show yoga’s immense healing power
  • forge an understanding of the importance of mindfulness and yoga’s spiritual aspects
  • promote the union of “yoga body, buddha mind”
  • explain how and why yoga affects all aspects of existence
  • impart knowledge on anatomy and bodily functions
  • generate relief and delight, wonder and joy

Yoga is my passion, and I bliss in yoga every day.

For more on why nilambu exists and whether nilambu is right for you, please see Why nilambu yoga.

What Is My Training and Experience?

My training to teach yoga began in 2002. After some initial Iyengar training with Theresa Rowland of Studio Yoga in New Jersey, I did most of my teaching training at  Om Yoga Center  in lower Manhattan.   Om Yoga Center was a pretty awesome place, and I am so fortunate to be a part of that yogi community.

The eighteen months I spent over a decade ago in the intense study and practice of yoga taught me so much I could never glean from words – which was a striking contrast for me, a lawyer and writer who worshiped words and books.   The lessons and knowledge I gleaned, and continue to learn, come from the practice on the mat.

Yoga Experience

Owner & Teacher 2003-present
nilambu : a personal yoga studio
, Washington DC
Structure and teach five to six classes a week.  Teach private sessions. Develop and offer complementary materials on yogic lifestyle.

Writer 2003-present
nilambu notes – stretches for your mind and soul, Washington DC
Guidance on meditation and life balance, reviews of books and video as well as original essays on yoga history, philosophy, customs and culture.  Distributed to over 600 subscribers.

Substitute Instructor 2004
Tenley Sport & Health Instructor, Washington DC

Yoga Instructor 2002-2003
The Connection for Women and Families, Summit NJ

Yoga Certification

OM Yoga Center Summer Intensive
Jennifer Brilliant & Dana Strong
June 2002 60-hour training

OM Yoga Teacher Weekend Warrior CertificationOM_yoga-small
Jason Brown, Christie Clark, Joe Miller & Cyndi Lee
July 2003 200-hour training
Included technique, teaching methodology and practice with feedback, use of voice and language, assistance to and adjustments on students, sequence of poses and class, creation of classroom mandala through music, sound and space, Buddhist meditation instruction and practice, how to integrate Buddhist philosophy into yoga instruction, Sanskrit language and terms, the Yoga Sutras and yogic literature.

Relax and Renew Teacher Certification
Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D & physical therapist Roger Cole, Ph.D.

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May 2003 20-hour training
Included the physiology of stress and relaxation, the biological basis of stress and relaxation, the processes that make restorative asanas so effective, principles of restorative yoga, how to sequence restorative poses, what are the dynamics of healing and the student-teacher relationship, the special challenges of women including menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, special populations such as those dealing with immunological disease, heart disease, insomnia, headaches and back pain.

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Yoga Alliance
Registered Yoga Teacher July 2003

Completing all the requirements, I qualified and met the standards to be registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level.

Yoga Training & Workshops

Cyndi Lee and David Nichtern
Yoga Body Buddha Mind
Shambhala Retreat 5 Day April 2002

Bobbie Fultz
Workshop on Yoga & Scoliosis
Studio Yoga 2 Day April 2002

Matias Flury
Ashtanga workshop
Priya Yoga 2.5 Day May 2002

Kofi Busia
Yoga Intensive
Studio Yoga 2 Day July 2002

Donna Farhi
Taking Root to Fly
Shambhala Retreat 5 Day July 2002

Rodney Yee
Yoga Intensive
Studio Yoga 2 Day October 2002

Shiva Rae
Vinyasa Yoga Intensive
Yoga Journal Conference 1 Day October 2002

Richard Freeman
Pranayama workshop
Yoga Journal Conference 1 Day October 2002

Gary Kraftsow
Common Aches & Pains Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders
Yoga Journal Conference 1/2 day October 2002

Susan Braham
Anatomy for Yoga
Om Yoga Center 4 Day September & October 2002

Donna Farhi
The Body as Spiritual Vehicle
Om Yoga Center 2 Day October 2003

Rodney Yee
Asana Working Through Breath
Om Yoga Center 3 Day November 2003

Cyndi Lee
OM Yoga Teacher Training Refresher
Om Yoga Center 2 Day June 2005

Seane Corn
The Three Realms of Consciousness
Yoga Journal Conference 1 Day May 2011

Seane Corn
Yoga for a Broken Heart
Yoga Journal Conference 1/2 Day May 2011

Bo Forbes
Yoga for the Nervous System: Healing Anxiety, Insomnia and Chronic Stress
Yoga Journal Conference 1 Day May 2011

Saul David Raye
Thai Yoga Massage: Hands-on Healing Partner
Yoga Journal Conference 1/2 Day May 2011

Jane Bahneman
Well Equipped Anatomy Workshop
Tranquil Space Yoga 2 day October 2011

Hari Kirtana Das
Practical Sanskrit for Yoga Teachers
Tranquil Space Yoga 1 day October 2011

Also workshops with Roger Cole, Jason Crandell, Leslie Kaminoff, Dharma Mittra.

Yoga Memberships & Associations

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Yoga Research and Education Center
member since 2003

Yoga Alliance
registered member at the 200 hour level since 2003

International Association of Yoga Therapists
member since 2003

Whom Do I Thank?

First – David Shulman!  The man who introduced me to yoga.  Who’d have thought that our meeting in Italy would have brought on all of this!   From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

My long time friend and teacher Juliana Fair, an awesome Aussie mate and incredible Iyengar teacher.  My personal teacher since 1999, I am beyond grateful to her for her massive knowledge, caring touch and stunning soul.   She’s a rock.  And very funny.

Of course, the extraordinary trainers at Om Yoga Center including Jennifer Brilliant , Christie Clark, Jason Ray Brown and Joe Miller were generous in their knowledge, dedication, time and support.  They inspire and challenge me still.  Other OM teachers Margi Young, Mary Lemmon and Lippy Orem offered encouragement, motivation and stimulation. I’m indebted to them as well.

My fellow teacher trainees, especially Paige Chapman, Kate Hanley, Natalie Levin, Alexis Lloyd, Coleen Ellis Maguire, Angela Ortiz, Elizabeth Shammash, Kim Stetz, Shayna Samuels Turner, Ana Marie Velasco were absolutely integral to my development as a teacher. They each were and remain invaluable companions on this journey to bring the benefits of yoga to others. All that I am able to bring to you is due to each of them.

Finally, I thank Cyndi Lee and David Nichtern. Their 2002 retreat changed my life and started me on this path. As Founder and Director of OM Yoga Center, Cyndi created a special place – physical and spiritual. OM will always be a part of my psychic home. I urge you to check out Cyndi Lee and David Nichtern – both beautiful souls with generous gifts.

What Did I Do In My Prior Life?

Associate Director, Business Affairs 1996-2001
Public Broadcasting Service
Oversaw review and approval of PBS program standard contracts. Acted as firewall for producers against inappropriate interference by program funders. Participated in revision of program agreement template as well as overhaul of PBS Producer guidebook. Delivered speeches and fielded questions on public television standards at industry meetings and film festivals.

Publications Manager 1990-1992
American Bankruptcy Institute
Managed volunteer editorial staff of over 20 people for newsletter production. Oversaw design, budget, advertising and distribution. Increased advertising sales by over 20% with creation of incentives and improved targeted marketing.

Legislative Aide 1989-1990
Congressional Arts Caucus
Monitored legislation affecting the arts. Summarized bills and congressional hearings. Reported effectively and efficiently on volatile arts agency appropriations debate in wake of Mapplethorpe controversy.

What Is My Other Education?

AB in History Vassar College 1988
JD Washington College of Law at American University 1996
MA in Writing at Krieger School of Arts & Sciences of Johns Hopkins University 2005

(Yeah, I like to learn!)