My roommate during my Peace Corps service in Suriname (2004-06) introduced me to yoga. She practiced every morning, and I admired her dedication. Later, I found a book from which I learned poses – using that to teach impromptu lessons to villagers when taking trips to the jungle, and the staff at the sea turtle beach where I lived for a bit. That was the start of my yoga journey.
I moved back to the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois) where I grew up, and began taking classes at Indigo Wellness in Rock Island, Illinois. This became my yoga home for several years. Through there, I met some wonderful people, including the studio owners of Tapas Yoga Shala (Evan and Kelly).
My yoga journey then became integrated into my work. I started a photography business, which I had for nearly 12 years, and did a number of yoga-related photo shoots. This included taking images for the studios mentioned above. As a side gig to my photography, I taught social media marketing and at one point spoke to a yoga teacher training class.
For many years, yoga was simply something I enjoyed and nothing more.
When I moved to Iowa City, Iowa in 2012, it took me a while to find a studio home. Much of it was due to the fact that I didn’t have much money to afford classes. I did eventually go to classes regularly at BodyMoves and Downward Dog Yoga.
A Shift in Perspective
There was a studio about three minutes from where I lived but I had no desire to step foot into it for the longest time. It was a hot studio and I wasn’t interested.
One day in 2018, shortly after starting a new job, I noticed a new sign at that studio: Muddy Feet Yoga. It got my attention.
I took that as a sign that I should at least try a hot class. So, I came in shortly thereafter and told the owner/instructor I’d done yoga but never a heated class. Good news: I survived the hour-long session, which was hot and fast. Turns out I signed up for the most intense class there was. Afterward, that instructor told me she was keeping an eye on me and thought I did well. That was enough encouragement for me to sign up for another class, slightly less intense but still hard. When I signed up for their third class, Hot 26, I went in ready to go hard again only to quickly realize that class had a much slower tempo. I fell in love with Hot 26 and have done it many times. My yoga journey then took a turn in a way I secretly hoped it would.
Yoga Teacher Training
In 2022, I did yoga teacher training (YTT) through MFY, signing up initially because I wanted to better my practice. A few of my teachers believed in me before I did when it came to deciding to teach yoga. Doing yoga is hard, but I’m still enjoying it. Teaching yoga is hard because I’m still new at it and striving to improve. But I’m having fun and learning more with every opportunity. I am grateful to my teachers – past and present – as well as my fellow trainees and yogis who continually inspire me to be better.
Continuing the Journey
As with many things in life, yoga hasn’t been a linear journey. There was a lot of starting and stopping, thrown in with self-doubt and low self-confidence. I’m at a point now that my love for the practice and sharing about it – especially for people just dipping their toes into it for the first time and maybe even the first time in a long time – overshadows anything else.
So join me on this (re)learning journey as I discover more about the practice, as well as share nuggets of experience I hope will help you.