I was born in Tulsa to an army dad and an immigrant mother from South Korea. They
divorced when I was 3 months old, so my sister and I were raised by a hardworking
single father (and various stepmothers). We moved around Oklahoma regularly as my
dad sought a better life for us. At one point, we were living on 5 acres of land and
stabled horses as my dad trained wild horses on the side. I developed a deep
appreciation for animals, nature, independence, and imagination. When I was 9, my
dad married the woman I call Mom today. She enrolled my sister and me into dance
classes of all sorts, including tap, jazz, acrobatics, cheernastics, and tumbling. We also
started going to church regularly, and I really enjoyed that feeling.
When I was 12, we moved to Plano, TX. It was a huge culture shock for me having
grown up in mostly rural towns. I made friends easily, though I always felt “different.” I
loved learning and immersed myself in academics, where I excelled naturally. I also
participated in cheerleading and was on the drill team. In my teen years, however, I
developed a huge shift in perspective, and I started to feel limited in all the things that
had once brought me comfort. The narrow parameters around the knowledge I was
receiving in school and messages of God from church became apparent to me, and I
balked at all the social constructs. I was fascinated by books on astrology and at 14 I
tried to meditate for the first time.
At 17, my parents divorced. Just a few months later following graduation, I was
brutally assaulted in a robbery. This brought about another total shift in perspective as a young
adult. I couldn’t see myself in college or on other traditional paths, so I started
traveling. I loved it—the world outside my upbringing was supporting the reality I had
always imagined in my head. I met a Dutch guy and moved to Amsterdam. Six months
later, I received a call that my dad had taken his own life. I was 24. This propelled me
into a downward spiral of darkness that lasted several years.
I started going to a therapist, but I received very little comfort from our sessions. It was
after these failed sessions that I decided to try yoga. I’d had friends tell me how much
benefit they received from their own practice. So in 2008, on a trip back to Texas to
visit my mom, I attended my first hot yoga class. I fell in love instantly. Not only did my
body take to it immediately, but it calmed my perpetually anxious state of mind like
nothing else had. From there I developed a regular practice.
After years of discord, I ended the relationship in Amsterdam. I didn’t have a plan, but I
felt this pull to come back to Texas. I spent the next several years improving my
relationship with myself and distancing myself from my addictions. I finally wanted
healing. At the end of 2012, I landed a job through a friend working in medical sales as
a surgical vendor for Ortho/Sports Medicine.
I continued to deepen my yoga practice, and I was learning how to use my breath to
control my body and mind. I stopped feeding the addictions, and started eating only
whole, organic foods. I began listening to the guidance within me. It was through tuning
into that subtle inner voice that I began studying and practicing Reiki (I currently hold a
2nd degree certification). I started dreaming and desiring things for my life that were
intrinsic. I now know peace is inside of me and has belonged to me all along. I feel I
have tapped into the wellspring of my highest purpose. Yoga has been my master,
guiding me gently inward to my truth.
It was also what led me to love and partnership. Kevin and I met in Feb. 2018 in a yoga
class and have been on an accelerated journey through the vortex ever since. We grow
each other every day, and shine light on each other’s shadows. I am truly humbled in
the presence of real love. In March 2019, we traveled to Barcelona together to attend a
200 hour yoga teacher training. Little did we know that we were embarking on a deeper
journey inward than either of us could have ever imagined—but we quickly caught up
to the idea and have been leaning into our expansion with our hearts open wide,
trusting and living by the purity and promises of faith.
Earlier this summer, I quit my medical sales job of 7 years to pursue a path in service to
others through the teachings of yoga, the wisdom lighting my path. Being in this divine
creative flow with my partner is a precious gift that we are ready to honor
unconditionally with our service. Leading others to their light is our highest calling and
our hearts’ greatest joy.
Tia is one of our newest instructors. Click here to learn more about her upcoming classes starting this week.