The ancient Yogis’ understood that health, healing, and well-being are firmly rooted in understanding and honoring our true nature. They also understood that cultivating and maintaining resilient health and wellness is as individual as each one of us, and that it encompasses every facet of our lifestyle and what makes us the unique individual that we are.
At Essence, I work with you to identify the right combination of yoga tools and practices that will help you connect with your innate wholeness and experience vibrant aliveness and well-being through a customized personal practice that is tailored to your individual needs, interests, and goals.
Welcome to Essence.
I'm Aggie Stewart, MA, C-IAYT.
Like so many of us who enter this profession, I came to yoga practice in need of healing.
When I first started practicing yoga in the late 1990s, I had no intention of becoming a yoga teacher, much less a yoga therapist. At the time, I thought I simply needed to relax and de-stress from the effects of my stressful, deadline-driven job as a writer and editor. Yoga helped with that. I noticed I slept better, something that my work life and habits coupled with a lifetime of chronic, toxic stress had challenged.
In my early 30s, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune hypothyroid condition that affected my mood, motivation, metabolism, and hormone balance. Prone to bouts of depression from the time I was a child, my episodes worsened when my thyroid function wasn’t properly regulated. Writing, art, and creativity, things I loved, felt passionate about, and that sustained me through difficult life circumstances, became hard at those times, filled with struggle and angst.
I noticed that yoga practice seemed to help with my mood and motivation issues, helped me connect with a deep well of creativity and innovation with less effort.
In fact, it helped enough that I became intensely curious about the profound effect of such simple tools and practices. I sought out deeply studied and practiced teachers who could teach me how to access my own healing potential with these simple tools and practices and in turn teach others to do the same.
As I’ve studied with different teachers and continue to go into personal practice more deeply, I’ve found that when these yoga tools are combined in different ways, they have profound, positive effects on my energy, health, wellness, overall well-being, and my creativity. The closer I live to nature and connect the practices I do to the natural diurnal rhythms of each day in each season, the more potent the practices and the more sustainable my energy, wellness, and sense of well-being becomes. And when I take this approach to practice with an understanding of what gives my life purpose and meaning, personal practice becomes a deeply nourishing kind of food that sustains me in every area of my life and helps me access innovation and creativity more effortlessly and authentically.
My experience and understanding of how to adapt and apply the tools of yoga to unique needs, interests, and goals is what I bring to my students. This is what I can bring to you.
I also remain passionate about bringing yoga and yoga Therapy to under-resourced populations through YogaCare in Chicago and Open Circle in East Providence, RI. These community-oriented organizations are committed to making yoga and its many benefits accessible to all.
And finally, I’m also committed to supporting research that demonstrates the efficacy of yoga and yoga therapy for addressing health conditions. Currently, I’m part of two study teams, one looking at the effect of yoga for addressing depression and anxiety in pregnant women and the other looking at the effects of yoga therapy to support relapse prevention in individuals who are in addiction recovery.
I’m a certified yoga teacher and yoga therapist through the American Viniyoga Institute; a Level II trained iRest yoga nidra teacher (certification expected Spring 2019); and a certified pre- and post-natal yoga teacher through the Amala School of Prenatal Yoga. For specifics about my education, training, and experience, please click below.