For some reason, I’ve been putting off writing this blog for weeks, and honestly I’m not really sure why. Maybe it feels to final or to big to admit that this particular chapter of my life has closed? Maybe my brain has just been too full of the move and the baby? Maybe my heart just isn’t ready to say “see ya later!”?
What ever the reason, here I sit. Coffee at my side, laptop open, and finding any excuse I can to pick up my phone and look away.
I feel like we’ve all been doing quite a bit of reflection lately. When we arrive at the doorstep of a new year and a new decade it is easy and natural to spend our time looking back at wins and losses that have defined our last 12 months or 10 years.
For me it seems the decade was split in two, geographically and professionally.
In 2009 I graduated college in Missouri, moved to Kansas City and began working as a theatre professional. In 2016 I landed in Texas and stumbled my way into teaching yoga full time. I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences for the world and looking back the path makes more sense than when I was on it, but my how the tides did change.
When I first moved home, my plan was to be here for a year. I would help my family out with some personal traumas that were going on and at the same time I would give myself a little re-set. During that time I would start researching jobs in theatres across the country and when a new opportunity arose, I would go. In the mean time, why not teach a few yoga classes?
Southeast Texas was meant to be a jumping off point, not a landing pad.
I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong.
The last 4 years have been filled with so many lessons and so much joy.
Each time I try to sit down to define them the word that appears is Pride.
Pride in myself and my work, pride in my family and community for being willing to take leaps, and pride in you all for showing up and trusting our path together. We have made some magic in our little spot on the map, and when I reflect on it all I can do is beam.
If you were able to attend my Yoga-ing away Party you heard me say that I taught my very first class in Southeast Texas on January 4th 2016. It was a Monday morning vinyasa at Exygon Nederland and I guess I’ve never looked back. Through out the year as I started adding more classes to my weekly schedule, I was also able to begin Twisted Tykes and community events like Beach Yoga and Brew Yoga with Sea Rim State Park and Neches Brewing Company. I remember being so overwhelmed and amazed at the response. It felt like the whole Golden Triangle had simply been itching to dive head first into a yoga practice and all it took was one small spark to light our community on fire.
I take so much pride in being one of the elements of that spark (though I know that I was by no means the sole ignition). I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, but each and everyone of you who has ever attended a class or liked a Facebook post has helped fan this flame.
So since this is supposed to be an ode to my 4 years teaching yoga in South East Texas, here is a brief rundown of how those 4 years grew and grew!
In 2016 I taught my first class in South East Texas. I starting partnering with the Beaumont Breastfeeding Coalition to offer kid’s yoga classes and I partnered with Neches Brew Co. to create the Brew Yoga monthly events. I took my first yoga retreat to Mexico and honestly, it changed my life. You can read all about my reflections on it here.
This is also the year my father passed away suddenly, and I have to tell you the yoga community and all of my coworkers and friends really took care of me in ways I didn’t even know I needed. I hit some of my lowest lows throughout the second half of this year, but it was through my practice and my work that I was able to stay grounded and present throughout those emotions.
2017 brought me to Greece for the first time, attending another yoga retreat (that you can read all about here) as well as all over Texas for festivals and events (which you can read about here, here, and here.) These events were such huge inspirations in what I wanted to begin creating along the Gulf Coast.
Over the course of the year, I started teaching private clients regularly. I also partnered with Sea Rim State Park to being offering Sunset Beach Yoga and with Lamar State College offering yoga to their basketball and softball teams. And spent this summer offering my first year of Twisted Tykes Summer Camps.
By this time I was teaching almost 20 classes a week, which I quickly learned is too much! This year certainly taught me to find my edge and then take a step back from that so that you are not always operating at your highest function. 2017 was also the year Hurricane Harvey hit and I lost my home and my car. Again, the outpouring of love from yogis, students, friends, and colleagues near and far kept me working and loving and on my feet.
In 2018 I turned 30 and created my very first yoga challenge, 30to30. This was a huge undertaking that crossed multiple online platforms and included in-person events and workshops. It was without a doubt the biggest thing I had ever done and it really solidified my love for creating online content. This year also lead me to teach at my first yoga convention (at the Aegialas Resort and Spa in Amorgos Greece) and my first yoga festival (in Kansas City with the Heartland Yoga Fest) and to offer my first weekend yoga retreat (on Crystal Beach with the Deepen the Heart Women’s Weekend).
2018 saw me create the Restore & Recoop program which goes into Cross-fit and weight lifting gyms to bring yoga to those athletes. I also completed my Barre Above Training this year, which has been such a fun and helpful addition to my practice and my offerings and has given me an excuse to dive back into my dance background and find a great low-impact cardio workout.
To say 2018 has been the year I took the most risks and received the most reward is the biggest understatement I can think of.
2019 brought me back to Greece for the Elysia Yoga Convention as well as back to Kansas City for the Heartland Yoga fest and of course back to Crystal beach for the Deepen the Heart Wellness retreat. I loved seeing growth in the programs and offerings I had been working so hard to cultivate over the last few years. It made me feel so much more confident about what I was creating.
But this year also allowed me to continue to expand in other ways. I began partnering with local artists and makers to offer combination yoga events like our Yoga and Vision Board workshop, Vino and Vinyasa, Grown and Flow, and the Spring Cleaning Yoga Detox. I also teamed up with more local businesses to bring you Yoga at the Station with the Fire Museum of Texas, Yoga on Tap with Pour Brothers Brewery, Barre at the Bar with the Clifton Steamboat Museum, and Yoga at the Park with Port Neches Park.
I offered my second online yoga challenge, the Yoga is for Lovers Yoga Challenge, again crossing multiple platforms and medias including videos, blogs, emails, and social media posts.
It took me the full year, but I completed my 95 hour Children’s Yoga Certification through Yogee’s Yoga 4 Kids in Dallas. Then to round it all out, I finished the year by creating and launching my new YouTube Channel and my upcoming Mexico retreat to Mar De Jade! (On top of all that, I got pregnant and engaged!)
I’ve spent the last 4 years growing exponentially in ever aspect of my life and my self (maybe most prominently this year in my body). And even within the peaks and valleys of it all, I will always cherish this time as some of the best years of my life.
Try as I might, I could never fully express the gratitude I feel for my home town, for my students, for myself, and for each and every one of you. I love each and every student, facility, and community partner that I have been fortunate enough to work with so much and I want you all to know how dearly I will miss spending my time with you all regularly. I appreciate you all so much for breathing and stretching and moving with me, for all of the hugs and love and well wishes, and for every single second of the last 4 years.
2020 will bring even more beauty, joy, and growth as I settle into a new home and new town, offer my 3rd yoga challenge – MamaFlow, welcome my first child, lead my first international retreat, navigate the world of YouTube, and discover what my career and life will look like moving forward.
Namaste My loves!
Cheers to the last 4 years
and now on to the next!