What is environment in this city? Does it exist? Everything is always changing and my friend and yoga teacher Zoe’s life is no exception. Currently, she is in the middle of leading Teacher Training at Yoga Vida, the studio she has been working at since its establishment with friend and business partner Michael Patton in November 2009. The training means that in addition to her already busy schedule packed with classes and private lessons, her weekends are spent leading 26 women (and two men) through the yoga sutras and asanas. Yoga Vida is “definitely a home away from home,” as she spends somewhere around 40 hours between the two studios each week. For 22 years old, she’s got the wisdom and work ethic of someone twice her age, most likely from her father who “does things in the music business,” and exposed Zoe to the hustle of the New York entertainment industry before she hit double digits. “I used to go to crazy parties when I was little, hang out with hip hop stars, drag queens, and artists. That’s just how it was.” Although they lived in Westchester during her adolescence until her parents divorce, her father had an apartment in Gramercy Park that Zoe and her older brothers would often frequent for nights of urban debauchery. It’s no wonder she now lives down the street in Stuyvesant Town as she is “without a doubt an East Village kid. Maybe Brooklyn… one day.”
Her father was also instrumental in her yoga teaching, his good friend Sharon Gannon, co-founder of yoga phenomenon Jivamukti, played a role in Zoe’s spiritual evolution, taking her under her wing during Zoe’s own “extensive and expensive” teaching training at the age of 19. Zoe also dated Sharon’s son and spent much time upstate in Woodstock at the Jivamukti “commune,” where she indulged in her love of the outdoors. It is out of the city, in the natural, spiritually open world where fairy stores and vegan cafes are as common as Halal stands and Starbucks, where she finds peace and the ability to recharge. She also finds inspiration for music videos which she shoots with her boyfriend Michael, who “is living with me right now. Which is great for getting things done for the videos, but it’s a lot. I make him do errands and chores though. If I pay the rent, you work.” The two of them regularly make effort to get out of the city, visiting her mother in Florida and his parents in Maryland, but most of the time they opt to curl up on the couch in her two bedroom apartment which her roommate, a yoga teacher named Danielle, rarely frequents, and watch movies. Afterall, at the end of her days, she is exhausted. Soon, Danielle will move in with her boyfriend and Zoe’s mother may re-do the bedroom as a place to stay when she visits– something Zoe is thrilled and grateful for since it means virtually living alone. She’s not one for being alone however, as her room remains unlocked and living room is often filled with friends stopping by. Her apartment is warm, smells like incense and fresh bread, and is “the go-to spot for a lot for a lot of people, it’s a safe-haven.”
After years experiencing the world of music, she began her own lyrical journey and is now signed with a British record and mid-process of recording an album of psychedelic pop-inspired ballads which means many nights after teaching yoga all day she happily carts herself to the studio. Her dream is to eventually travel the world and sing. Even in her yoga classes her star-quality is apparent, she is at home on stage.