Meet the Teacher
McKinzie is a yoga teacher and chef. Her areas of focus include Vinyasa and Yin yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and mental health awareness. She lives in Chicago, IL with her partner and their animals: 3 cats and 2 dogs.
At age 16, McKinzie and her mom attended a yoga class for the first time. Over the following years, yoga became a casual practice she would turn to in times of stress. The relaxing benefits of yoga gave her a solace from the anxiety that accompanied her through college and her early career in the kitchen.
In 2019, while working as an executive pastry chef, McKinzie found Y2. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, this studio and its teachers became a regular post-brunch shift retreat. Her teachers, Jennifer Plaus-Hertz and Johnna Smith, noticed this attendance and encouraged McKinzie’s studentship. With the support of a ‘home-base’ studio and room to practice at home, she began expanding her relationship with yoga.
Then came entering mental health treatment, COVID-19 related life changes, and job loss. A total reevaluation of priorities and values pushed McKinzie into opening herself up to new paths and opportunities. She completed a 200 hour certification program through East + West Yoga in December, 2020. McKinzie is a 200-RYT through Yoga Alliance, and insured by Insurance Plus through beYogi.
As a teacher, McKinzie’s intentions are simple: to support, motivate, and care. This translates into authenticity with her students, leading by example, and spreading compassion. Through practicing, reading, researching, writing, and experiencing, she is committed to the mission of caring for others and herself. Sharing is the key to integration of knowledge and wisdom. McKinzie recognizes the lineage, history, and culture surrounding Yoga in its various forms.
The creativity, dedication, and compassion that she has found in her personal practice has helped to release McKinzie from the self-inflicted pressures and insecurities of her youth. Forever a competitor- as an athlete, student, or chef- she now aims to help others turn inward and find purpose in daily life. As an eating disorder survivor in recovery, McKinzie is acutely focused on positive body image and intuitive eating practices. She is guided by yoga’s ethics and aims to apply mindful awareness within the context of anyone’s circumstance. The principles and teachings of ahimsa and santosha, non-harm and contentment, have influenced her greatly.
Teachers she regularly studies from include Jo Tastula, Christine Anderson, Chelsey Korus, among many others.
McKinzie’s teaching style is always catered to her students, calming, and filled with creative movements. Sequencing and building playlists are essential ways she likes to “drop in” to the physical yoga practice of asana. Vinyasa and yin yoga are the focus this spring.
In the kitchen…
McKinzie has been working in the culinary industry for over a decade. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University in 2016. Her career quickly rose to management level, with her most recent position of running the pastry program for La Belle Helene, in addition to various food service operations for Constellation Culinary Group. McKinzie has built a portfolio of fine-dining, French-influenced plated desserts, pastries, and other creations. Her passion began with baking cupcakes to raise funds for a study-abroad stay at age 17. She has worked in Lille, France, Asheville & Charlotte North Carolina, and Chicago, Illinois.
Plant-based eating and sustainability efforts are now central components of McKinzie’s life. She hopes to share recipes and wisdom about balanced, fulfilling, and satisfying vegan nutrition.
McKinzie works for holistic nutritionist Candice Howarth in Chicago, cooking, developing, and managing projects in support of another small woman-run business.