More About Mona.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico – Oct. 2, 1954. My father (Naval career) was stationed at the American Consulate, Island of Singapore, Southeast Asia, during my childhood. I attended primary school grades at Singapore American School.
INFLUENCE: My childhood was steeped in cultures, through families we grew to love, from Malaysia, India, China, and UK. My mother shared with my sister and I her passion for Buddhist temples, Hindi ceremonies, Muslim mosques.
We returned “State-side,” for my high school years (1968-1972). My dad was stationed in Lemoore, California, site of the largest Naval Air Base (bomber squadrons) in America during the Vietnam War (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_Air_Station_Lemoore#History)
INFLUENCE: My mother, now ex-communicated from the Latter Day Saints Church (LDS/Mormons), embraced feminism, and so did I! My Hippie values were forged during adolescence in a military base town during the anti-war, women’s rights movements.
Received a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications (Journalism emphasis) from Chico State University, Chico, (northern) California. Also attended semesters at University of New Hampshire, Durham.
INFLUENCE: Pre-internet, Print Journalism was speaking truth to power!
During undergraduate summers (later for income to pursue a Master’s degree in Journalism), I worked at Harrah’s Casino, in Reno, Nevada, as a Back-Jack Dealer. I met my husband there; and later followed him to live in Forest Grove, Oregon; where he was an Optometry Student at Pacific University.
INFLUENCE: Married 38 years, he’s still seeing patients. Two beautiful inside and out daughters!
In Oregon, I became the Lifestyle Editor of the Hillsboro Argus, winning Oregon State and National Press Women Awards for writing and photo journalism. My husband and I drove away from our years in northern Oregon (our car covered in the ash of Mount St. Helen’s eruption), the morning after an Opening Reception of my art photography and his graduation as a Doctor of Optometry.
INFLUENCE: Women in small town newsrooms were assigned to recipes and obits. My journalism education, and changing times came together and I ran with it!
My husband is from Mankato, Minnesota. We lived in St. Paul and Rochester (had two daughters there) before finally rooting where he was always meant to be. I have lived in Mankato, same house, for about 30 years. During the years I was raising my daughters I worked for a decade as a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and health educator. I completed a Master’s Degree in Community Health. I developed GIM (Girls in Motion) a program linking research to girl’s physical activity, self-esteem and academic scores (AAUW/1998). The program was based on my Master’s paper, “The Contemporary American Girl: An Overview of Research on her Mind, Body and Spirit as she Transitions into Puberty.” I conducted the above as an after school program through District #77 Community Education.
INFLUENCE: Fitness program director meets graduate level! I learned to develop evaluative programs to specifically target health issues. With a Master’s Degree, and skills to design, implement and evaluate programs, seeds for my Social Entrepreneurship are sown.
I was in the first cohort to become an ACE Practical Master Trainer in Chicago. I began training fitness instructors, as a Fitness Program Director. While employed in the fitness industry, I became disillusioned. I began travel for authentic yoga training to the top yoga centers in our country to become a teacher. I completed three yoga teacher training programs, and taught yoga in the greater Mankato area for 10 years before establishing Sun Moon Yoga and my own training; which became the first Yoga Alliance 200hour program in a five-state radius.
INFLUENCE: I left the pink-collar ghetto of the appearance-based fitness industry behind to pursue my highest human potential through yoga. Sun Moon is my effort to sustain sacred space for my students to practice authentic yoga.
My enduring dedication to sharing yoga is evidenced by my daily attention to the space, teachers and classes at Sun Moon Yoga, and doing The Work in my community(link). Right now, in my sixth decade, I am deeply enjoying working with experienced yoga teachers, through “Wellness & “Leadership,” a Yoga Alliance 300hour training , that I co-direct with Candy Bell. Through my 200hour Yoga Alliance teacher training I’ve trained hundreds of yoga teachers, including my sister Laurie Prime. She opened her studio, York Yoga Studio, UK, six years ago; and joins the faculty of both my trainings this year. Excited to collaborate with my sister!