Back in 2010, my boyfriend and I moved to the neighborhood of Del Ray. Going to Del Ray Pizzeria, the farmers market, and Dairy Godmother, we always walked by the local yoga studio – Mind the Mat – and commented on how we should try it out sometime. At that point, I kept in shape mainly by running but never really loved it and was constantly recovering from one injury or another. I also, in the back of my head, believed that yoga wasn’t “hard” enough and thought I would be bored. Finally in September of 2011, we went to our first class at Mind the Mat – a heated vinyasa flow. That class changed my life – it was hard, fun, challenging, new, and we loved it. We started going to that class every week, and also took the Yoga Fundamentals series at the studio to learn the specifics of the poses. I definitely fell in love with yoga from the beginning.
I also began to turn to my practice when life was stressful. I was a lawyer practicing at a large law firm and all the stereotypes were true – on call, and sometimes working, 24/7, no vacations possible, no life, and I wasn’t really happy. Finally I decided to dive in and signed up to do a yoga teacher training in Costa Rica. I fell in love with teaching, and when I came back I emailed Sara Vandergoot, the owner of Mind the Mat immediately. I had always considered Mind the Mat my home studio because I had felt so welcome when I started, and I could see it had the same effect on others. So naturally, Mind the Mat was where I wanted to teach. I started to sub classes while I was still working full-time as a lawyer, and just absolutely loved it – I loved connecting to the students and being able to observe their growth and see how their yoga practice was transforming their lives, just as it had transformed mine. Eventually I began to teach so much that it seemed a natural transition to quit my job as a lawyer and join Megan and Sara full-time as a teacher, and also as their Director of Programming, which is a fun way to use my professional skills in designing and promoting programs that meet the needs of all our students.
I also trained in Pilates and teach barre to diversify my schedule. I’m lucky that I get to teach so many different things: Hot yoga, flow yoga, barre, Pilates, mommy and me classes. I have the privilege of getting to interact with so many different people. My day is never just the same thing and that’s really fun. Plus I’ve gotten to see the Mind the Mat community grow from when I was a student and it was just the first floor studio to being a full 3 floors, plus a studio in Arlington. We have such an amazing community of students and instructors and I look forward to going to my job every day. Mind the Mat truly is the heart of Del Ray where people can come and make friends, encourage and be encouraged, and lighten their lives – mentally and physically. I love seeing friendships form and grow there. I always feel so fortunate that people allow me to be a part of their lives in such a special way.
What would you recommend to someone interested in becoming a yoga teacher?
Do it! Even if you don’t end up teaching, the experience will help you grow and expand in your practice and life in so many ways! You learn so much more about yourself – beyond just the practice of yoga. Plus, you will always have the ability to teach if you choose after you graduate! Mind the Mat has an amazing teacher training program coming up in the fall. It is a special program because it focuses on the anatomy of the poses and understanding of the body, as well as how to cue students well, which is one of my biggest priorities. I feel like you can go to many classes and be told what pose to do, but the teacher cuing you through them well makes a huge difference. If students are interested, they should check out www.mindthemat.com for more information. The program runs every other weekend starting in September and goes for 5 months – and teacher trainees get to take free classes at Mind the Mat during that time!