I find that fulfillment, for me, lies in helping people develop themselves - mind, body, and soul. It is easy for me to see potential and beauty in others, and I feel incredibly lucky to spend my time helping people see what I see in them.
After ten years of loving yoga, I experienced a transformative yoga, hiking, and winery tour retreat in Luray, VA. On our first night as we practiced together, I looked around the huge cabin to see forty people of different ages, shapes, and sizes practicing yoga- everyone creating such beautiful, diverse poses. We spent the next day traipsing through Shenandoah Valley National Park on an eight hour hike. We talked, stopped to take photos, meditated at overlooks, and soaked in the beauty of creation and one another. Not everyone had the same ability level - on our mats or in the mountains - or the same body type. Our poses didn’t all look the same, and I was reminded that yoga meets people where they are, as they are. This inspired me to become a yoga teacher. We need more spaces where we can show up to ourselves and to our communities authentically.
Finding My Voice as a Yoga Instructor
With my background in education, I am passionate about integrating yoga to empower people and create space to be, dream, grow, and come home to ourselves and our bodies. After studying to be an English teacher, I found that I could benefit teens more by working one-on-one with them. I began speaking in schools and working one-on-one with clients as a life-coach. I realized my passion for pairing my background in education with empowerment and yoga. Speaking and life-coaching evolved into me coaching, tutoring, and teaching yoga.
Creating Space for Men in Yoga
Many people don’t realize that yoga was originally designed by men for men. In our Western culture, though, yoga has become a female-dominated activity. I have heard from so many men in my life that they are interested in yoga but that they feel intimidated to go to a class with what they assume will be a bunch of young, fit, flexible girls wearing perfect outfits. They don’t feel welcomed or like yoga is for them. I feel that an all male class combats that because it is designed specifically for and open only to men. All male spaces take the presumed judgment out of the equation, creating a more open, welcoming environment.
I started teaching a men’s class is Baltimore last summer on a whim. I had no idea how much I would love it. I found it so powerful to see the ways that yoga helped these men - relieving chronic back pain, lowering blood pressure, increasing flexibility, and reducing stress. Yoga taught some discipline, while giving others an outlet and a space to be kinder to themselves. Through my class, we worked different muscle groups and helped them focus on themselves in the midst of their busy lives. Many of them enjoyed other activities and found yoga to be a good way to cross-train or just to switch up their workouts. One man even told me that yoga saved his life because his back pain had been getting in the way of traveling and picking up his granddaughters.
Continuing my journey as an Ebb n’ Flow Yoga Instructor
I came to yoga with the hope to heal both my body and my spirit. I came to quiet my mind. I came to connect with the divine spirit within me and to remember that I share that spirit with all living beings. I came to yoga to connect with others and to build a community with those who share some of my most treasured values. I teach moderately-paced Vinyasa classes with a focus on mindfulness, compassion, and self-care.
In my evening Men’s Yoga class, specifically, I welcome men of all ages, sizes, and conditions! This all-levels class is created for men who might not feel comfortable going to other classes and are interested in yoga and its benefits in a safe environment. It is for men who need a space to focus on themselves or who want to work on themselves in a judgement-free, positive environment. I don’t care if someone has perfect form or looks more like a baby giraffe. I just want to empower men to feel good in their own skin and to enjoy the benefits of yoga.
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