At 26 I was diagnosed with the degenerative, neuromuscular disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth. This came as a blessing to me after spending my entire childhood branding myself a complete loser for not being able to do the things that came naturally to other kids.
From the time I started to walk my mother knew something was wrong. Doctor after doctor told her I just didn’t “want” to walk correctly and advised her to remind me. “Heel/toe, Niki” became a never-ending mantra. I was teased relentlessly. It got worse as I got older with adults saying I’m drunk, my shoes hurt, or simply mimicking my walk while laughing.
But walking on my toes made it easy for me to wear high heels! I became a model, then an actor. My career started in Las Vegas with a Bon Jovi music video, walking a runway for Betsy Johnson and being the spokesmodel for Casio for many years. Not too bad for the kid who walked funny!
A relationship took me to Nashville, where I found Hot Yoga. My degeneration started to reverse a bit! I had always followed a holistic path, but the steady yoga practice was actually helping my ankles to improve. I became a teacher, opened my own studio, Yoga Harmony Nashville, and went on to become a Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists. http://www.iayt.org It was important that my studio was more than just a gym doing postures, but that we truly practice yoga, and welcome everybody. We set out to be the island of misfits.
As I head back to the acting world, I want to keep that connection to my yoga, and to help others not just improve their physical lives, but more importantly, help them to see themselves as a gift we all need. What makes you different, is what makes you, YOU. And you being authentically, boldly, YOU, is what makes the world a better place! If you think you can’t do something remember, I’m a disabled woman who teaches yoga, built a live studio, walked a runway or two, and still gets in front of the camera as an actor. If I can do it, YOU can do it!
- Heads over Heels for my rescue Chiweenie, Ivy
- SAG-AFTRA, 500E-RYT, C-IAYT, ABCDEFG….
- Nerd Cred – I launched the very first digital camera for consumers, the CASIO QV-10 at CES
- Geek Cred – I played Lois Lane in a TV Pilot for CBS
- Dork Cred – I know the difference between a nerd and a geek
- I’m super shy IN large crowds, but totally at home IN FRONT of large crowds
- I’ve had over 12 surgeries, wanna compare scars…
Gallifrey (a girl can dream, can’t she) OK, maybe not, but I cry at commercials so two hearts makes as much sense as anything else. My strength came from my mother.
Home is every city where I’ve lived. They’ve all shaped me in different ways. Pittsburgh – Las Vegas – Nashville – Los Angeles.
If it inspires, scares, excites, or calms…I’m in!
Almost everyone and everything, almost.
Long walks on the beach. I mean, seriously, being at the beach is enough.
“Thank you for creating an environment where we all feel comfortable being ourselves, cheering each other on, and using (as you always say) “other’s energy in the room to fuel our own practice” because it certainly works.” ~ Traci L.
“You should be proud of the community that you have fostered at Yoga Harmony, it is always a pleasure to practice there.” ~Anne S.
“I am sleeping much more soundly and have been able to alleviate the majority of my back and hip pain just by adjusting my own pillows … and an occasional deep blue foot massage before bed 😉 Copaiba Is working amazingly to calm my anxiety on days I spend too much time in my sympathetic nervous system (working on that!). These adjustments were immediately effective. Thank you, thank you! ” ~ Annette W.