Updated: Feb 4
Read about Pam, a 200 RYT and prenatal yoga teacher trainee with Milwaukee Prenatal Yoga Community.
What’s your background?
I grew up in SE Michigan, but have moved around the Midwest several times since I graduated from Michigan Tech years ago. When I was living in West Lafayette, IN, I took my 200hr teacher training at Community Yoga and just loved it. I moved to the Milwaukee area in 2019. In 2020, I completed the classroom portion of the MKEPYC prenatal yoga teacher training program. I’m married and we have a young little daughter and an old little dog. I love snow, sewing, reading, and knitting. I also am a certified personal trainer with a focus in prenatal and postnatal fitness.
What got you into yoga?
I took my first yoga class a long time ago through a community Parks and Rec program over one summer when I was in high school. The classes were held in an elementary school gym/lunchroom - I’m smiling about it as I remember it now! - not your typical setting, but the teacher was good and it caught my interest. From there, I checked out some video tapes (am I dating myself?) from the library, and watched Priscilla's on PBS. Fast forward a few summers and I started taking some more serious classes at the suggestion of a roommate. The teacher was amazing and got me interested in much more than just the poses.
Why yoga? Why teach? Why prenatal?
I don’t consider myself a typical yogi or typical yoga teacher. I’m not very flexible. I need a lot of props! I have trouble staying focused. Mediation is tough for me. I compare myself to others a lot, even when I know I shouldn’t. I don’t talk like a typical yoga teacher - I’m not very eloquent and don’t often provide deep thoughts to ponder.
But the beauty of yoga (one of the many beautiful things about yoga) is the practice, the ritual, the acceptance. Getting on to the mat helps me get out of my head and back to the present, back to trying again and again to let go, to love, to accept.
So, I teach to try to show yoga from a slightly different perspective. To show students that yoga is for everyone and anyone. That a person doesn’t have to come into practice already self actualized, with great breath skills and extremely noodly. This is why we practice yoga. I often say in my classes, we practice yoga just like we’d practice the piano or tennis or writing or math. We aren’t born experts - we have to get there, and it takes guidance, mentorship, practice and commitment.
I've found this is true for becoming a mother too. We aren't born experts. It takes practice, help and mentorship. Prenatal yoga offers us not only the asanas, the breathwork, and the space to connect and prepare for baby, but it also gives us community. It gives us a time and place to chat with other mamas to be, and if we are lucky, other mamas that can help with that guidance we might need without offering judgement or expectation.
Favorite yoga pose?
Hard to narrow it down to just one - I love Ardha Chandrasana, half moon. Strong and powerful, works on balance, and some flexibility too. I also love a good supported Supta Baddha Konasana - reclining bound angle pose. Get those props in there to support me and I’m in a happy place!
Most challenging yoga pose?
There are a lot, but the simplest of them? Seated forward folds. So challenging for me. Ugh.
Bhramari Pranayama, or Humming Bee Breath. There are so many benefits to this breathing practice, but for me, the sound helps me keep my focus while practicing.
Favorite hobby outside of yoga?
I love to sew. I started knitting when I was in high school, and I still love that, but really got into sewing about 10 years ago and it just brings me so much joy! I started with quilts, but moved on to clothes, home dec, and alterations. I also love to read. Thank goodness for audiobooks! It lets me do my two favorite things at once.
What's next for you?
It takes quite a bit of teaching hours to get fully RPYT approved, so I’m looking forward to teaching in the next while. The pandemic sort of put the kabosh on it for a few years but hopefully in the next year we’ll be able to get back at it again!