I started yoga actually on a Groupon which is silly. I was this athletic gymnast and cheerleader for about 15 or 16 years of my life. I was 20 years old when I went into yoga, and I had had a major knee injury when I was 17. I had limited mobility and flexibility especially in my knee joints, and I had back pain because I wasn’t able to exercise at the level I had been before. One summer, bored, I thought, “hey a Groupon for Bikram yoga … I’ll try it out with a friend.” We were home for about a month and a half in the summer so it wasn’t really enough time to get a job. So it was like, “let’s go do something fun and cool.” We were going twice a day, marathoning Game of Thrones in between, for a month!
It was challenging, fitting my competitive personality, and it was a new activity where I didn’t have to be on a team or be a certain age. I could just do yoga. I started not being able to sit down Japanese style, my hips were nowhere near my heels at all. It took me about 5 months of regular practice to get my hips down to my heels because of my knee joint surgery. It was terrible, I wanted to cry, it hurt so bad. I figured you know what this is helping, it works. I was obviously making progress, so I just kept with it and kept going. I started in Massachusetts and then came back to school in Towson. I got into a consistent practice and I’ve been at it for years.
Debbie (of Bikram Mid-Atlantic) and I would talk a lot teacher training. She would say, “So you’re going to be my teacher right? So you are going to be up on the podium next?” It makes sense, I had studied Exercise Science & Kinesiology: how the body should move and work not only as a unit but also when it’s doing exercise. So I thought, I can teach this yoga. I was a gymnast for so long, it was kind of innate that I knew the body, flexibility, mobility, that sort of thing. The best part about teaching is seeing where people improve in their progress when they are consistent and persistent in their practice. It’s cool to see that switch. As a teacher on the podium, it’s kind of inexplicable but you can kind of see when a person is fully there mentally and physically. It’s really cool to hear the feedback: I had this injury, this was aching or I couldn’t move this way for so long and then they do Bikram yoga and it happens.
I look forward to teaching at Hampden. It will be a lot of fun, a new community.