Hot Vinyasa was the first place I felt like I was going to die … and wanted more. The rhythm, music, HEAT, and ever-present breath woke something up inside me. With every class I went to, I failed, fell, laughed, grew, and craved for more. Soon the freedom found on my mat consumed me. I didn’t back off – I pushed into this feeling and jumped headfirst into teacher training. Today and everyday, I am honored to hold space for fellow students as they taste the seductive flavor of freedom on their mat, in their life, and from their thoughts.
I dipped my toes into yoga around 2010 but had difficulty connecting. After a few sports related injuries I returned to the practice in 2013 and haven’t looked back since. My initial love of physiology naturally extended to a focus on alignment, which has progressed to furthering the mind body connection. Through this practice I have learned to better trust my own instincts and, in turn, connect more meaningfully with those around me. So join me as we work to build a community of individuals that find a way to breathe as one, even if only for an hour. See you on the mat!
Great Lakes Yoga opened in 2011. I started practicing there that fall as a student. I never realized that I would join the team in 2018. I was looking for another form of exercise – a new challenge. Yoga was it for me. Later I found the yoga breath. This breath was full of power, but also had this calming sensation. I was hooked. I could use this breath on the mat for practice and off the mat in life. It allowed me to learn how to calm my body and mind when faced with difficulties. One of my old yoga teachers use to say, “Yoga is all about being comfortable with the uncomfortable.” If that sounds good to you, come check it out.
Yoga has saved me and changed my life three separate times! About 12 years ago I fell while jogging. I wound up with a bulging disc in my back. This was very hard for me since the pain kept me from running (which I did daily) and even carrying out my day to day activities. I went to a pain clinic and physical therapy. Neither of those things helped me. I decided to buy a yoga book and start practicing. It was the only thing I did that eased my pain. This was when I fell in love with yoga. The next time was when I was going through a very difficult emotional time in my life. I needed something to pull me out of my despair. I decided to take hot yoga classes at a yoga studio in Kalamazoo. It was amazing. I typically went 5-6 days per week. It helped my frame of mind and put me in a much better place. The third time was when I started coming to GLY. My hubby actually built me a hot yoga room in our previous house. But after moving, I missed hot yoga. It was then when I started attending classes at GLY and I LOVE it. So much so that I completed my 200 hour RYT training in August and am so happy to be teaching here. I was looking for a purpose after I retired and now I have found it.
My life tends to be busy with a family and a demanding professional life. But 8 years of teaching yoga and 10 years of practicing have helped me realize that we are all exactly where we’re supposed to be. When I step on my mat it heals and when the sweet sweaty mess begins to clear I find a better version of myself.
My adventure into Yoga began late in life – in search of calm. I began with an online class – Yoga with Adriene (YWA). After a year of daily home practice I attended Yoga Teacher Training and received my RYT 200 designation. Having not practiced in a public studio, I ventured into Great Lakes Yoga and unknown to me – a Hot Yoga Class. I remember asking Jenn, “is it always this hot?” Never did I think I would be able to practice vinyasa yoga, let alone hot vinyasa – haven’t looked back.
Vinyasa and Slowburn became a way of letting go of my day. I started the process of detoxifying my mind and releasing negative thoughts and attitudes. Yin helped me to just be. ‘Breath in, breath out,’ was a new motto, both on and off the mat.
I hope to teach students of all ages – to spread the love. Yoga is not just stretching. It is getting deep inside yourself and getting comfortable with you. It’s not about the pose. You learn to trust yourself more and more. Each breathe is a new beginning. Yoga provides an opportunity to become a better version of yourself every time you step onto that beautiful mat. Yoga is a way of life, a way of happiness, compassion and healing for yourself and the ones around you.
“On sunny days or rainy days, there is always space to grow.” This is one of my favorite quotes in the world. It connects so deeply with yoga. When you walk onto your mat the possibilities are endless. You can have many new and wonderful sensations, uncomfortable feelings, affections, emotions and a sense of being free to be one of a kind YOU.
Why I choose yoga? I was at a point in life where all relationships had been off balance. I was stressed from work/school and grieving. The moment it made me want to go deeper was when I finally let go. I felt that mind body connection and surrendered to all the things that were no longer serving me. I cried on my mat and was ok with it. I found peace with things that did not go my way. I found love with becoming a better me even if it meant losing things that I once loved. Since then I have been studying the different styles of yoga by land or water and I plan to spread love and light to all beings. This journey is amazing.
I was first introduced to yoga in 2013, through a research and graduate school prep program that I was involved in while working on my bachelor’s degree. The goal of the program is to get first generation, low income, and minority students into PhD program fully funded. The basis of the program was more as to prepare for research and graduate school, however and additional goal is to expose students to various opportunities to maintain a healthy mind and body during the rigors of their education. One of these opportunities was yoga.
I started going on and off for the next several years. But it wasn’t until fall of 2017 that I was able to find a consistency in my practice. It began more as a way to help de-stress from the chaos of finishing my master’s degree, taking classes, applying to graduate programs, and working full-time. But at the start of the New Year it became more a journey of healing and strength. Since then I have gained not only strength but confidence as well as self-growth.
I began my yoga journey in 2011 at Great Lakes Yoga. I have always had an interest in practicing yoga, but kept putting it off for an extended period of time for various excuses. Once I began my daily practice at GLY it has always felt like home. For me yoga is very much like a moving meditation that connects the mind, body, and spirit powered by my breath.
I totally fell in love with every aspect of yoga and decided to teach it. This experience was beyond what I am able to express adequately in words. I learned to hold space for myself and others in a way that allows them to express who they are in the moment. I formed a lifelong bond with 18 other people whom I now consider part of my family. I now teach yoga to be an active participant in the journey to wellbeing with as many people as possible.
I just wanted to touch my toes! My sister could just sit, legs stretched out, and rest her heart on her thighs. That’s when I started with power yoga. I went to Delta College where I found Ashtanga. This practice inspired me to continue with Yoga Teacher Training.
I went to my first yoga class in 2010 with the same attitude many have, thinking, “I’m not flexible enough for this, what am I getting myself into?” I eventually fell in love with the practice and all it provides. Over the years, I found a new layer of myself, wanting to share yoga with others. I strive to provide a safe, sustainable practice for my students. I believe yoga can be a great tool to find flexibility, strength, and peace of mind, but it will only give you what you’re willing to put in. My goal as a teacher is to hold space for students to explore, reflect, and grow.
All classes are open to everyone, which means there will be a range of students in every class. This creates a great opportunity for us to learn from each other and grow together. Come as you are.