Chaya began looking at life from a holistic and artistic perspective at an early age, valuing her freedom and ability to live her purpose above all odds and against her circumstances.
She graduated from Northport High School and after studying dance at SUNY Brockport, completed her degree from Queen’s College, making the Dean’s List, with a degree in Home Economics, specializing in food science and went to work at St. John’s Hospital and shortly after promoted to St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC as a Graduate Dietitian.
She was continually devoted to health and teaching fitness classes, transitioning out of the hospital work to return to dance classes, working as a professional dancer in NYC for over 10 years, traveling the world performing, and teaching dance at NYU and NYC dance studios, until overwhelmed by familial stress and physical limitations she made her way to yoga for healing physically, mentally and emotionally.
Around 1995, she had a meditation experience where she realized she was more than her name and started using her other given name Chaya, meaning life. About a year later, she found Integrative Yoga Therapy, the yoga teacher training program that she now teaches, and Kripalu Center where she immersed herself in the culture, and absorbed herself in yoga, Ayurveda and massage and worked for 10 years.
While living at Kripalu, Chaya had the opportunity to study and work with leaders in the field of yoga therapy, holistic health education and Ayurveda and also became a licensed massage therapist, and a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, and presented programs at Kripalu, Canyon Ranch and Omega Institute, in between working at a therapeutic boarding school as a house parent and yoga and health educator, and traveled to study in India several times.
Chaya received her certifications from Integrative Yoga Therapy in 1999, Professional Kripalu Yoga 500 hour in 2000, Krishnamacharya’s Yoga in 2001, and is a Certified Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has been a member of Yoga Alliance since 2000 and is a YACEP CEU provider as well as a Yoga Alliance approved affiliate school for Integrative Yoga Therapy.
Chaya completed 3 Ayurvedic Certification programs from Kripalu Center, Jiva Institute and Ayurveda Health Education, LLC and is a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, where she is also a required mentor for their Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy designation and a PACE CEU provider.
While at Kripalu, Chaya also completed the Massage & Bodywork program and has been a licensed massage therapist since 2004 and is licensed in both MA and FL and is a certified CEU provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, NCBTMB for massage therapy.
Chaya authored Yoga of Action: Holistic Lifestyle and Adaptive Yoga for People with MS and Similar Conditions, is featured in Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off The Mat and Yoga International Magazine. She is a national program facilitator, speaker and educator and passionate about her advocacy for people with disabilities, working with the National MS Society for over 10 years, garnering prodigious testimonials for her life changing work.
Outgrowing the constrains of corporate yoga and cold weather, Chaya moved to Florida and opened The Chaya For Life Center in Delray Beach, and a few years later, upon visiting Gainesville, decided to make it her home.
After working for 8 years at other Yoga and Ayurveda Centers in Florida, and 4 years for UF Health Shands Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Department, she opened ChayaVeda™ Integrative Healing Arts, consisting of a studio, transformative wellness programs, professional trainings and community outreach, as she continued trailblazing and advocating for health and wellness, further developing her services and programs to the community and health professionals.
Chaya is passionate about her advocacy for Women’s health and well being and has presented for the University of Florida’s Inspiring Women in Leadership Conference, Comprehensive Women’s Health, and the Gainesville Area Woman’s Network (GAWN). She is an EWITS graduate of the UF Women’s Collaborative and program presenter and former board member of the Woman’s Connection, and contributes to various centers serving women and girls.
Active with the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Chaya volunteers as a Chamber Diplomat, and serves in her local community, contributing to the tapestry of life in a purposeful way, fostering good will, calm and health, through contemplative practice and an open heart.