If I had to write a headline to describe how Embrace The Wobble Yoga came to be, I would say: “Former high-school jock opens yoga studio on her own terms.”
I’ve been in exercise for a Very. Long. Time. And yet, I’m not 85. I’m a little reluctant to tell prospective clients how much experience I’ve had in the biz, lest they think there are cobwebs on my dumbbells. I started out as a fitness instructor at the tender age of 17. I did it because I desperately needed a place to fit.
I played basketball, volleyball, and I skied in high school. I quit sports my senior year because I got so tired of the coaching and the run-harder-till-you-get-it-right mentality prevalent in most school athletic programs. I was also a band geek in the top 5% of my high school class and SUCH an in-betweener. Our graduating class had seven—SEVEN—valedictorians. Our boys’ basketball team went to state two years in a row, and our music program was selected to perform for the big Minnesota teacher convention. I was a mediocre fish in an ocean full of huge, flashy dolphins.
My story is not unique. I just did NOT blend well, despite my constant effort to find a tribe. Sure, I sat with people at lunch and went to the prom. I dated a bit and knew a lot of people to say “hi” to in the halls. I also spent many weekends alone, on the fringes of the groups that did cool things, regardless of how popular they were. I’ve always felt a little socially awkward and out of place—too much or not enough, and always, always at the wrong time.
So, when I found the microphone on MY head in front of a step aerobics class at the local YMCA, no one was more surprised than me. However, I discovered something there. People were looking to me for leadership, sweat, and excitement— they trusted me (ME!) to provide them with a fun end to, or an energizing beginning to yet another day of life. Wow. Mediocrity evaporated as I threw my heart and soul into music selection and movement programming!
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to create a career out of something many folks view as a source of pizza money. I spent the rest of high school, college, and beyond churning out endless cycling, step, strength, circuit, interval, and dance classes. I studied anatomy and physiology. I got lots of fitness certifications. I worked with private clients, I lead instructor teams, and I became an educator for other instructors, all before the age of 25, when injury stopped me in my tracks.
What happened is, I sprained my butt. Well, sort of. My one and only foray into snowboarding was the final straw on the overloaded camel. All of a sudden, I couldn’t do anything without a lot of pain—walking, lifting, pedaling—they all became just impossible. I tried everything—medication, chiropractic, massage, body-scans—no one could really give me a definitive diagnosis or effective treatment. What I found out after some rest and a lot of frustration was that my body needed something really different. Enter Yoga.
A benevolent instructor at my gym showed me 3 poses that quite literally saved my ass. They were Half-Pigeon, Down Dog, and Pyramid Pose. (Forgive me, yoga instructors. I’ve never been too great with all the Sanskrit. I just remember the ones that are fun to say.)
Still reluctant and scared to make a true change, I continued to teach like a maniac, now with a yoga “Band-Aid” for my boo-boo. I still viewed yoga as a pretend workout and completely without purpose except as a therapeutic (said with a down-the-nose look of disdain) tool and only to be used when absolutely necessary.
It would take a couple more years for me to see the light–the small blue light of meditation and stillness and wonderfulness and inclusivity that is yoga.
My first full yoga class was eye-opening to say the least. At the time, I was managing a team of instructors at a large gym, and felt like I should have a working knowledge of the class just in case I was ever asked to sub. I have always been pretty flexible, so the stretching part wasn’t a stretch, so to speak. However, I was so surprised to find myself so sore (in a good way) the morning after class, that I gave new respect to the practice. (Thank you Michael, my first teacher—a reformed Wall Street investment banker.) Yoga was speaking to me in the only way I could listen at the time. “When the student is ready……” and all that jazz, I guess, right? This was a workout! Hooray!
Before long, I got on the road to becoming a full-fledged yoga teacher– took FOREVER, but I got there. 11 years, hundreds of students, and over 1000 teaching hours later, here’s what I’ve learned about yoga:
Yoga is my tribe. Yoga is where I fit. Yoga doesn’t care if I’m pregnant, fat, thin, or depressed, or male, or female, or a little green alien. It doesn’t care if I’m stressed or tired or introverted or extroverted. Yoga doesn’t care if I had 12 candy bars to eat today or 5 gallons of green juice to drink.
Yoga offers me acceptance. Yoga buoys me up when I just want to die or cry or give up. Yoga chills me out. Yoga works me out when I want it to and it calms me when I need it and yoga asks me to connect—with myself and others. Yoga is there when all I want to do is be alone.
Yoga forces me to observe and be in my own process. Yoga transforms me. Yoga asks me to breathe. Yoga is the Wobble between the extremes—the sublime meeting place where all the chaos can become centered for a beautiful moment. Yoga reminds us of who we truly are.
The people who do yoga all know this, on one level or the other, and because we all know this, yoga class is never awkward. Even when someone farts. I finally feel anything BUT in between. I am totally at home with yoga.
I don’t do yoga anymore to lose weight or gain strength or look better in my clothes. Those are just fringe benefits now. I do yoga because we are friends. Yoga and I have finally created the home I have always wanted. I opened a studio because I want to share my home with all who wish to be invited in.
Come and let me show you how awesome mindful movement, fantastic music, and passionate teaching feel. Come and let yourself know the thrill of being part of the Wobble community—we laugh a lot. We cheer a lot. We fall down sometimes when we Wobble—the best yoga reflects life, after all.
So. Come with me. Join our party. Allow yourself to feel amazing. Accept that you deserve this kind of bliss. I’m here to tell you that you DO deserve it. Choose now to come Embrace The Wobble with me. Our class schedule is a click away at http://www.embracethewobble.com and there is a mat here with your name on it.
You are truly welcome.