Zen and Vitality is the brainchild of Zoa and a one woman show. As a discerning consumer concerned about your own wellness, you want to make sure that we are a good match and will work well together to improve your wellness. Keep reading – you are in the right place!
Brief Life Story
Hi, my name is Zoa. To know me is to either adore me or to really not. I am ok with that. I strive to be the best me I can be and to improve myself in new ways all the time. I am a life long learner of things that interest me and I enjoy sharing that knowledge with you!
When I was growing up I split my time between dancing (and teaching it) and the math/logic parts of school. I rushed through school, college, and grad school eager to learn in depth about the scientific world. My PhD in Physics took me around the world to lecture and learn. The experiment I worked on earned the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and our leader won the Nobel Prize in 2015.
My mind requested new directions and I happily obliged! Entreé to fields like babies, whole foods cooking, natural childbirth, permaculture gardening, homeschooling, breastfeeding, personal environmental activism, and then finally back to movement. I found yoga, then Pilates, and discovered the wonders of the fascial system in our bodies.
Functional Wellness threw herself into my life like a hurricane when I discovered our house was moldy and the immense impact on my daughter’s physical and brain health. Much learning ensued as I uncovered a whole new way to view the complex body. I curated the wide array of wellness tools and healing modalities her chronic mold detox required and guided her journey back to optimal health.
Now, I blend all aspects of my past into a wellness centered present. I look forward to sharing what I know and how I think with you!
Movement Teaching Qualifications
POST REHABILITATION SPECIALIST
After 4 years of a variety of continuing education work in the fields of Pilates, Fascial Movement, Anatomy, and more, I earned the recognition of Post Rehabilitation Specialist from Merrithew™. Whether you are dealing with an injury, preparing and recovering from surgery, or your body never worked quite right after that “thing” eons ago, I can guide your body and mind into better movement patterns, help you gain strength where you need it, and reach for the stars!
I am well versed in the beauty of ballet having worn my fair share of buns and tutus and point shoes while growing up and even through college. Ballet felt completely different when I returned to it post babies! Now, I combine my early love of Ballet with my new love of Pilates and voila! Enter Barre class! I am a Total Barre® Qualified Instructor.
My interest in fascia began with the Pelvic Power workshop by Eric Franklin of the Franklin Method. The entire world opened up after that! I was intrigued by how the body’s tension and sensory system creates a deep connection between body, mind, and emotions. I began experimenting with fascia props (toys!) and pursued training as a Zen•Ga® Qualified Instructor from Merrithew™, online courses about the Franklin Method®, and most recently completed training in Merrithew™ Fascial Movement.
I am a STOTT Pilates® Certified Instructor fully educated and qualified to offer exercise programming on the Equipment (Reformer, Chair, Cadillac, Barrels) and Matwork with additional Certification in Injuries and Special Populations. I enjoy focusing on teaching you about how your body is constructed and works so you can feel your muscles and build strength and control from the inside out.
Yoga has been part of my life since 2007. Like many others, I enjoyed the physical practice of yoga exclusively at first before being shown the wonders and joys of the rest of yoga. Now, not a day goes by where I do not practice yoga off my mat; I practice on my mat as often as I can. Well over 1000 hours of teaching yoga explains why I can tailor a class to meet the needs of every person in the room. Since mid 2018, I was an E-RYT200 teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. My experience and knowledge is sometimes shared with other yoga teachers through Continuing Education workshops or private instructor mentoring. I have been an approved Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP). I am currently unaffiliated but yoga will always have my heart and mind.
Zoa is a Certified Nutritional Consultant as certified by the AANC, The American Association of Nutritional Consultants. I have been a local food advocate since the birth of my children. My definition of local foods are those grown within 25 miles of my kitchen. I have sourced as much of my diet as possible from local organic farms and sources since I met Gabrielle from Next Step Produce when I was a La Leche League Leader circa 2002. Join me for a Nutrition Consultation and step up your wellness!
PELVIC FLOOR AND POSTPARTUM HEALTH
My expertise in pelvic floor health comes from various learning and teaching opportunities. My personal practice with pelvic floor work during my pregnancies and beyond give me experience to draw on for explanations that make concepts click for clients. Training as a natural childbirth educator, yoga teacher, and Pilates instructor mesh well to offer a variety of tools for connecting to, strengthening, and releasing pelvic floor tension. I became a Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist with Dr Sarah Ellis Duvall which trained me to identify and correct pelvic floor, abdominal, hip, foot, spine, and shoulder issues related to a weak or damaged core from pregnancy or other sources. I work with powerlifters, moms of twins, older men with hernias, and many more to reconnect them to the proper functioning of their core musculature so they can build strength and recruit the proper amount of tension for whatever you need!
FUNCTIONAL WELLNESS – SELF LEARNING
As a child in a Montessori school, my curiosity driven explorations of the world were intensely cultivated. Because I believe we never stop learning, I still actively seek knowledge in any area that interests me. I grow my wide knowledge base as frequently as possible. Sometimes I opt into an official program that yields a certification. Sometimes I create my own array of resources and experiences to teach myself the exciting topics I have uncovered. One of the most important skills I acquired on my way to my PhD, is how to see and build connections between different pieces of information to create a stronger web of knowledge for both of our uses!
My personal definition of biohacking is the art and science of experimenting with how to improve and support your own unique biology through knowledge, exploration, and analysis. Anti-aging is often the goal while disease prevention and an enriching, beautiful life are the benefits of good biohacking. Because no one knows how you feel better than you, your experience and analysis as you make lifestyle changes is crucial to the success of your wellness journey. Through my membership in the Upgrade Collective (led by Dave Asprey), we have access to a wealth of ideas, information, and experiences to draw on as we customize your personal Functional Wellness Roadmap.
FUNCTIONAL WELLNESS – MENTORSHIP
As my desire to learn about the body, how it heals, and how to support that natural healing ability grew, I chose to participate in the Academy of Naturopathic and Functional Wellness’s Mentorship program led by naturopathic doctor Jennifer Savage, ND. For me this was perfect – learning, gaining feedback, getting assistance when needed as I expanded into areas like Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, Functional Blood Chemistry, Gut Health, Detoxification, and more!
NATURAL BIRTH AND BREASTFEEDING
I naturally birthed two babies that are now quite independent. Both births were attended by a midwife; one at a hospital and one at home. My babies were 10 lbs 2 oz and 8 lbs when they first saw the sun. I was trained in the Bradley Method® but now independently teach natural birth. I have helped many a mother/baby dyad successfully breastfeed as a La Leche League Leader for many years and am now a retired Leader. I share my experience and knowledge about natural and organic living from my perspective as a trained scientist. I offer natural childbirth education with a focus on understanding the birth process, meeting the needs of the laboring woman, and smoothing the path for baby’s entrance to the world. I will happily encourage a struggling mother as she learns to trust herself and to breastfeed her baby.
Zoa has been a part of my personal health and wellness for over a year now. She gets me there. What I mean is that though I’ve practiced Yoga and Pilates for years, she truly helps me to connect mind and body and really considers me as a person and an athlete.
She always meets me where I am at (if doing a private session) and what I need right then. I am able to get in the zone to restore, recover, and strengthen.
When it was discovered months ago that I had atlas subluxation, she worked in tandem with me and my upper cervical chiropractor as part of my recovery. It’s working because I am holding my adjustments most times.
Now that I am back to powerlifting, I must continue to incorporate Yoga, Pilates (STOTT, specifically), and fascial movement in order to recover mentally and physically as well as strengthen and keep everything mobile.
As a result, I am more balanced and am better and stronger with my lifts. I also feel less stressed, more refreshed, and sleep better! Thanks to Zoa for being an integral part of keeping me mentally and physically healthy!Karen K, Personal Trainer and Power Lifter
Memberships and Charitable Giving
Zoa puts her money where her mouth is and funds her priorities. As an engaged member of 1% for the planet, she has donated 1% of Zen and Vitality’s gross income to protect wild places on earth and support the environment. She is an active member in her local business community and supports local non-profits.