McKinzie Spence is a yoga teacher in Chicago, IL.
After spending nearly a decade in hospitality, she left the kitchen to train as a wellness professional. McKinzie shares a unique approach to self-compassion, mindfulness, and food through the wisdom of yoga and Ayurveda. She holds an A.A.S. degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University and is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher from Yoga Alliance. She enjoys spending time in nature with her partner Sean, cooking, and reading at home – with a cat nearby and a cup of tea.
As a teacher, McKinzie’s intentions are simple: to support, motivate, and empower. This translates into authenticity and leading by example. She is committed to the mission of caring for others and herself. The dedication to personal practice has helped to release McKinzie from the self-inflicted pressures and insecurities of her youth. As an eating disorder survivor in recovery, she is acutely focused on spreading practices that encourage self-acceptance. The principles and teachings of ahimsa (non-harm) and santosha (contentment) have influenced her greatly.
Sharing is the key to integration of knowledge and wisdom. McKinzie recognizes the history, lineage, and culture surrounding yoga in its many manifestations. Teachers McKinzie recognizes for their guidance in her studies include: Jo Tastula, Christine Anderson, Vijeth Kumar, Hilaire Lockwood, Marissa Grott, Johnna Smith, Jenny Plaus-Hertz, Chelsey Korus, Elena Brower, Amy Ippoliti, Ram Dass, Judith Hanson Lasater, Donna Farhi, Nicholai Bachman, Tias Little, Geshe Michael Roach, Sage Rountree, Thich Nhat Hanh, Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Brene Brown, and many more.
If you recognize any of the names above, welcome. If not – maybe you’ve never “done yoga” before! – you’re in good hands. Attend a virtual class for $10 and be sure to say hello!
McKinzie’s teaching style is rooted in meditation (quiet sitting/laying), pranayama (breath work), and self-acceptance. She uses creative sequencing and encourages moving mindfully. Intensity and skill level is described for vinyasa, yin, and other yoga asana/movement practices! McKinzie encourages students to modify to their comfort level. Curious students, feel free to send an email to inquire about a private session to learn more about tailoring your personal practice to meet you where you are, here and now.
In the kitchen
McKinzie started working in food service at age 14. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University in 2016. Her career quickly rose to management level, concluding as the Executive Pastry Chef for an upscale brasserie and corporate catering. McKinzie has built a portfolio of fine-dining, French-influenced plated desserts, pastries, and other creations. Her passion began with baking cupcakes to raise funds for a study-abroad stay at age 17. She has worked in Lille, France, Asheville & Charlotte, North Carolina, and Chicago, Illinois.
Plant-based eating and sustainability efforts are now central components of McKinzie’s life. She hopes to share recipes and wisdom about balanced, fulfilling, and satisfying vegan cooking.