paulinetanYou could say I’ve come a long way from the small Western Australian town that I was born in. I am pretty sure I didn’t know that Iowa existed when I was a child. And I never would have guessed that I would be so fortunate to find a path that would be as challenging as it is rewarding, liberating yet grounding and as crazy fun as I have in being a yoga & Pilates teacher and owner of Spark Barre Pilates & Yoga in Urbandale.

My husband got me hooked on triathlon several years ago, so when I’m not teaching at the studio or driving my kids around town, you’ll find me running and riding on the Des Moines trails or procrastinating at the edge of the pool at the local YMCA. I have raced at the half-ironman distance and have had several age-group podium finishes at the sprint and international distances.

Triathlon and yoga allow me to find balance in my life. Over the years, they’ve reminded me that life isn’t always easy and success is NEVER guaranteed. You can do all the required training and have all the right equipment, only to have the race cancelled due to bad weather, or to start the race out strong only to suffer from cramps or injury.  If the decision to race was based only on a guarantee of a personal best or podium finish, I would never continue with the sport. But, to me, it’s about the journey, the lessons, challenges, friendships and small triumphs we experience along the way – those are what define us. Triathlon has taught me discipline, to face my fears and expand the boundaries of my comfort zone, never setting limits for what I am capable of.

Yoga is a daily practice for me and challenges me to draw inward and focus on what my body and mind need, balancing strength with agility, stability with mobility, and most importantly, effort with ease. My personal journey has led me to fully appreciate the benefits of practicing Adamantine® Yoga. I love how I can come to my mat daily and put aside the stresses of daily life and training and just flow in a moving meditation. While the sequence is the same every time I practice, it never feels the same. Like triathlon, it has taught me discipline. However, instead of pushing me out of my comfort zone it challenges me from within. It has taught me to find contentment by acknowledging my tendency to strive to find the perfect pose and instead, accepting that every pose I do is already perfect. It reminds me that who I am and what I have to offer is perfectly enough. My body feels so much stronger and healthier and I have found myself moving through life with much more ease. It’s heightened my appreciation for the fascinating connection between mind and body and my ability to stay focused when racing or when life gets tough. I will never be able to control anything that happens outside, but my practice allows me to feel an unwavering resilience – the ability to take on anything life throws at me.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

Ernest Hemingway

I hold a 200 hr yoga certification with Deborah Williamson (Wild Abundant Life) and a 500 hr yoga certification with James Miller Yoga.  I am a certified Pilates Instructor with Balanced Body. I have attended additional training/workshops including Level 1 training with Baron Baptiste, Booty Barre, Yoga Assisting with Jill Abelson, the annual Pilates on Tour conference, as well as Yoga Conferences. I continue to expand my professional development every year and attend additional trainings and workshops on topics I am passionate about, including Yoga Anatomy, Yoga for Athletes and Athletic Conditioning on Pilates Equipment.