Nickname: Generally go by “Michelle” but have answered to Miche, variations thereof, Chelle and “Wimpy,” as in the “Popeye” cartoon character for my undying love of hamburgers. As Wimpy says, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!”
Where was that photo taken? Along the Chicago River trail near our home where my husband and I enjoy daily walks with our beloved dog.
Job prior to becoming a yoga teacher: Also work as a marketing communications freelance writer and editor.
Best yoga experience ever: Learning about the “eight limbs of yoga,” or “tree of life” as I call it, and how yoga is about much more than physically contorting yourself into crazy shapes. Rather, it’s more about unraveling the mystery of your authentic self, respecting yourself and realizing your connection to others and the greater universe to live a fuller, more meaningful life.
(she/her) Yoga & Ganesha Plus
What do you remember about the first yoga class you ever took? Trying to hold full plank and down dog poses for even a few seconds was very hard, as I lifted my overweight, out-of-shape self above the mat, whole body quaking and muscles burning. I remember learning to consciously breathe through it and how present and alive the whole experience made me feel. I felt the sparks of an awakening in parts of me that had been seriously neglected or didn’t realize even existed. Afterward, I remember feeling and thinking there was a whole lot more to this yoga stuff, as I felt completely spent and a blissful energy at the same time.
Why yoga? My obsessive, workaholic nature aided and abetted a sedentary lifestyle at the computer, packing on pounds and weighing on my mind and spirit. Through the practice of yoga, I began to reconnect with my true self on a physical, mental and spiritual level and with other important aspects of my world, allowing me to enjoy a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Accomplishment of which you are most proud: As a pleasingly plump, forty-something, I wondered if I could possibly ever really become a yoga teacher. Thanks to the guidance and encouragement of my teachers and classmates, I learned to let my heart rule over any self judgment or doubts. I realized that “I” was the only obstacle standing in my way. Once I got out of my own way, I was able to begin sharing the gift of yoga with others as I was meant to do.
Yoga training/studies: Began practicing in 2008, and completed my Yoga Alliance®-registered yoga teacher training at the 200-hour level (RYT 200), including prenatal and vinyasa/flow yoga studies, in January 2011, through the Global Yoga and Wellness Center in Chicago.
Super power that yoga gives you: Yoga helps liberate me to enjoy being me just as I am and to enjoy life just as it is in the present moment. Likewise as a teacher, I enjoy helping students of all shapes, sizes and conditions to feel more empowered and liberated through yoga.
Yoga Pet Peeve: Letting the ego override one’s present ability or fun attempting and stumbling through new poses and other yoga techniques. One of my favorite mottos is: “Leggo my ego!”
Five words that your friends and family would use to describe you: Passionate, strong, caring, methodical and sometimes surprisingly downright silly.