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Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc.
My parents moved to Fulton, N.Y. when I was three to pastor a local church- I am the oldest of four children; they have since moved away, but at thirty-five years old, I am still here and have made the Fulton community my home. I have attended SUNY Brockport and SUNY Oswego to complete my Bachelors (English Literature), Masters (Curriculum and Instruction) and Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Educational Administration, and am currently the English Department Chair at G. Ray Bodley High School (Go Raiders!). I have been part of this rewarding field for over ten years. Aside from my work and the practice of yoga, as well as exercise in general, I also find enjoyment from reading, praying, writing, cooking, being outdoors, playing piano, spending time with my family, and watching/attending college football.
What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga?
In the spring of 2013, a friend at work invited me to a Bikram class. I had always enjoyed working out and staying fit, but had never tried yoga, so I was up for the challenge. After the first class, I knew that this was something that was going to hook me. I had strength and flexibility, but I could immediately feel that this practice was going to help me reach a truly fulfilling level of fitness that I had never attained. At the time, Sandy had the studio at the Kingsford House, in the top floor of that gorgeous old home. The ambiance of the room combined with the beauty of the hot yoga completely enveloped me and I have needed this life-sustaining practice ever since.
How often do you practice?
From 2013-2015, I practiced nearly every single day (morning or night), but the craziness of life takes over so I am grateful to get to the studio at minimum three times a week, mostly in the evenings as a much-needed unwind to the day. I try to practice more in the summer, but I also find it relaxing to take the postures that I have come to love, and practice on my own at our family’s camp on Cross Lake, or in the yoga room I have in my house.
What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being?
I have engaged in physically strenuous exercises all of my life, and as I entered my 30s, I was starting to feel the effects of running, kick-boxing and weight-lifting on my knees. My career and continued education have also come with their share of pressures, and prior to adopting this yoga practice, I was feeling the effects of this internally, having troubles with my digestion and anxiety/lack of sleep from internalizing stress. After a few weeks of practicing and willfully focusing my mind on making my yoga truly MY yoga, the stress did not seem so stressful and the aches in my body were replaced with newfound flexibility as well as strength.
What are the greatest benefits of your practice?
Yoga has transformed my life, giving me a place of solace from the chaos of life, an opportunity to feel strong (from bones to skin, fingertips to toes), and relief from the physical issues that plagued me before. I feel healthy, balanced and empowered through this practice.
How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?
When I practice yoga, I come back to me, my purpose in life and relationship with God, and those I love, my work (that I am so passionate about), and finding the strength that I need to keep focused on all of these things. I truly believe that God led me to yoga to help me through some of the most difficult times in my life, divorce, and positive changes. Without this practice and my faith, I do not know how I could have done all that I have done, and have the strength to do all that I will do, in my life; it is truly the key to emotional, mental and spiritual health.
What is your favorite part of Blossom Yoga Oswego?
My favorite part of Blossom Yoga Oswego is the extended family that has become my yoga practice, and the escape that it offers me. The people here, Sandy, Judy and the rest of the team, are wonderful people who believe in the power of this exercise to help the mind and the soul. I am looking forward to a lifetime of practice and perhaps even becoming an instructor too someday.
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