Nicoli Rena Sinclair began her yoga practice in 2007 when a colleague she worked with at a hedge fund gave her a Kundalini Yoga DVD. She enjoyed yoga for physical reasons and found that it offered relief from her finance career. Later that year Nicoli decided to enhance her practice by attending a Vinyasa Yoga class. She hated the class at first and found it very difficult to link each movement with the breath. Nevertheless, she believed this practice had something to offer and months later gave another teacher and class a try. She became hooked. After years of practicing, in 2011 Nicoli decided to get certified in Vinyasa Yoga. Having a love for dance, she was drawn to the dance like flow and the cardio, strength building and stretching benefits. By this time she had touched on the spiritual aspects but the physical primarily led her to get certified.
In 2012, Nicoli received her 200/hr. yoga certification from Three Sisters Yoga. It was one of the most diverse programs in the area and all of the teachers had been practicing and studying yoga for over 10 years. They were some of the best in the area.
After graduating from the 200/hr. program, Nicoli received a scholarship invitation from Jen Whinnen, the owner of Three Sisters Yoga, to deepen her studies in a selective independent study program that would lead to a 500/hr. yoga certification. Nicoli humbly declined. She preferred to get more teaching experience, yoga practice and study before she leaped into what she now realized was a deep, spiritual way of living.
After practicing and volunteering at Sonic Yoga in NYC, and taking advantage of free classes, Nicoli developed an interest in yoga philosophy and began studying Jnana yoga with Swami Vivekananda and attending the Ramakrishna-Math Vedanata Society in NYC. Nicoli then decided to travel to Guatemala to complete a 30/hr. Sadhana course with Hathavidya to learn how to develop a self-practice. On a very strict schedule, every day she practiced asana, meditated, learned Sanskrit and chanting and engaged in satsang. When Nicoli returned, she was ready to accept the scholarship.
In 2014, Nicoli took Jen up on her offer and began her advanced teacher training which lasted a year. Nicoli had already been a student at Parsons University and was planning to start a yoga inspired clothing line to gain work-life balance, but struggled with the material aspect of designing. It was during her advanced teacher training that she had to come to terms with an unpleasant reality.
“Jen kept it straight with me as she always did. Her authenticity is what I’ve always admired. She talked about the politics, class and racial barriers in yoga. She did not allow anyone in her class to give advice on eating or weight. Yellow, brown, white…skinny, curvy, short or tall…everyone was welcomed. She made you feel it too. During my advanced training I brought up my struggles with starting a clothing line and being an aspiring yogi, Jen did not hold back. Each word that rolled off her tongue hit me like a cannon ball (laugh). She said yoga and money does not mix. In the true world of yoga, there is no exchange of money. When you start to accept money for yoga it becomes something else. She made this clear but ended by telling me this does not mean there is not a space in this material world for yoga. Your business may not be yoga in the truest sense but you can bring yoga into your business. You can offer fair wages, use eco-friendly fabrics, don’t overprice merchandise, you can be fair instead of greedy―this is where yoga comes in. You can teach and spread what is a beautiful practice and philosophy."
A year later, having come to this and other realizations, Nicoli knew that after 8 years, it was time to leave NYC. Her last month she attended classes at all the traditional yoga studios: Sivananda Yoga, Integral Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and she was able to take a class with Dharma Mittra. She met Sanskrit teacher Manorama at a Jivamukti Yoga satsang, and discovered her Mantra at Katonah Yoga where Jen studied. After her yoga studio excursion, Nicoli left NYC and moved to Harrisburg, PA to see what life had to offer after the storm, aka city life. Nicoli currently studies with Manorama.
Nicoli Sinclair holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Indiana University, a Fashion Design certificate from Parsons, and is working on a Masters in Digital Marketing at Temple University.