I am very excited to announce the start of our hot yoga season and would like to take this opportunity to give you a little background on me and what to expect from the yoga program here at Willow Tree!
I stumbled upon yoga quite by chance during a pre-season workout routine for my college ice hockey team. Most of us laughed through the majority of it, partly because it is just about as opposite as you could get from our chosen sport, and mostly because we were not the picture of balance and grace (at least not without our skates on)! Over the next several years I continued to have a curiosity about the practice of yoga and took some classes here and there, but did not develop a consistent routine until more recently.
As I continued to play various sports after college, I began to develop pain from injuries I had sustained and a congenital malformation of my hip joints at birth. After countless appointments to the physical therapist, I continued to have chronic back, hip, and knee pain. A few years ago when playing hockey in a co-ed league, I was hit on the back of the skates and fell directly onto my back, losing feeling in both my legs for an hour. I was carried off the ice and taken to the emergency room. Luckily it was just a bad sprain and I regained feeling soon after, but I had a displaced vertebrae that worsened my pain and made it difficult to lay flat. At this point I knew I had to change course so I started to incorporate gentler forms of exercise into my routine including yoga.
Some people are born flexible, but I was not one of them and from years of contact sports, I had quite a long way to go. My thinking started to shift from “no pain no gain” to a kinder, gentler fitness routine. While I did make progress, I also grew bored with the classes because I craved more intensity. My form of stress relief and exercise up until this point meant breaking a good sweat or hip checking someone into the boards. Sitting still and meditating for long periods of time was not filling that void.
During this transition time I went back to school and earned my health coaching certification while increasing my yoga practice by attending more classes and practicing at home. I allowed myself to learn and grow each day and believed I could heal myself from the inside out. I spent a lot of time becoming clear on what I wanted and the specifics of what that looked like. This included the type of music that inspired me, the pace of flow that produced a sweat, exercises that supported flexibility and strength, and most importantly, fun! I added in weight lifting, aerobic activities tailored to the changing seasons, and discovered the wonderful world of power vinyasa flow yoga! The pace was more vigorous so it kept my attention with the increased intensity, but it also improved my flexibility, focus, and allowed me to be more mindful and appreciative of my body and life as a whole.
After visiting various studios in the Northeast, I had a clear picture of what I wanted and how I could share it with others. I began the process of becoming a certified yoga instructor and continued to adapt and grow my own practice. I was and continued to be challenged by the ever evolving practice of yoga and encourage others to experiment with different styles. I am excited to either introduce yoga to those who have not done it before or help grow your existing practice to meet your needs.
The classes I will be offering at Willow Tree are based on the foundations of power vinyasa flow yoga but are designed for all levels. The pace may be more vigorous than you are used to so be prepared to sweat and challenge yourself. I encourage everyone to listen to their body and take breaks if needed. I will provide modifications as we go along so that everyone can practice in a safe manner. This style is repetitive so if you come to class often enough you will catch on quickly and probably find that each time it becomes easier. The atmosphere is laid back and there will be upbeat background music. For hot yoga, bring a towel and water and wear minimal breathable clothing that is not too loose. It will be around 90 degrees in the studio so try to hydrate before, during, and after class. If you have a tendency towards dehydration or headaches, an electrolyte drink can help alleviate these. The October schedule is posted on our website and the winter schedule starting in November is in the works and will have more classes being offered. We welcome suggestions on days/times that work best for the majority so please let us know so we can best accommodate everyone. Hope to see you there!