OM Times : SACREDspace : Studio Spotlight - West Palm Beach Yoga Day

In 2002 I would have never thought yoga would be a daily word in my vocabulary, becoming a teacher, nor organizing Florida’s largest free annual yoga event .

I was seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis, mostly from back issues.  My job was extremely stressful and I was overweight. Every few sessions, my chiropractor would recommend I try yoga. “Yoga is not for me”, I said “that not “real” exercise”. This was  coming from a place of no first hand experience and from labeling I heard about the practice and people involved.

Eventually I started eating healthy, exercising (no yoga) and losing a little weight. I still had back issues and the regular visits to my chiropractor.  Secretly, I had been driving past a particular yoga studio and saying that one day I would go. I don’t recall what prodded me to finally go, but I remember having to muster  enough courage to walk in that first class. It was intimidating; everyone seemed to know what they were doing. It was humbling, harder than I even imagined. It was eye opening; I felt an incredible sense of peace.

I had a lot of energy after the class and slept better than I had in months. The next day I felt like I got hit with a mack truck. I was sore in places I didn’t know I had. I went back and began a 3 time a week practice. Yes, the physical practice is great; however at the time, yoga was all about the breath and centering. I was the project manager  for a 5 company merger -the largest non-profit merger in the US. Yoga allowed me to better deal with employees fearing for job loss, center myself before my presentations to the board and convention attendees, focus on the deadlines and staying sane while reporting to 9 different bosses who were not aware, nor cared of the demands of my time from fellow bosses. The interesting part is that others began to notice a shift and commented how when dealing with me they felt calm.

Fast forward to today, my life has changed dramatically. Fitness, especially yoga is a big part of my life. I’ve lost 60 pounds and kept it off for 9 years.  My career shifted from business suits to yoga clothes.  I own a fitness business and help others create a healthy lifestyle.

Part of our business model is to give back to the community. One way we do so is through the annual West Palm Beach Yoga Day I founded with my partner, Jerry  Jefferson. It is a free event designed with the beginner in mind. This event is personal for me because I still remember my first yoga experience. Let’s face it; anything new already is intimidating. With yoga, there are so many styles it can make your head spin and most non-yoga people don’t know that. They try it don’t like it and assume that all

yoga is alike. The beauty of Yoga Day is that is it a smorgasbord of yoga. Participants can ask questions of all the studios represented about their style of yoga.  It is also an opportunity to bring the community for a positive connection.

So, similar to my old job as project manager, instead of bringing people together and facilitating at corporate meetings, I bring people together on their mat to help them find a match.

Oh yeah, about my chiropractor…I remember going back to him and he mentioned he hadn’t seen me in awhile and wondered what I was up to. I told him that I finally taken up a yoga practice and that I had just completed Yoga Teacher Training. Had it really been that long since my last appointment? I didn’t think so. He looked on my chart, smiled and said “It’s been well over a year!” Hmmm…. feel better – try yoga!

Therese Abair is a certified and registered Yoga Alliance yoga teacher (E-RYT200), group exercise fitness instructor, personal trainer, Pilates Mat certified and registered Zumba instructor. She is the co-founder of Living Fit Today and the West Palm Beach Yoga Day, Florida’s largest free outdoor yoga event. The 6th annual event is scheduled for Saturday, January 21, 2012 anticipating over 1500 participants throughout the day, taking in 14 asana classes and 7 seminars, over three stages along the beautiful West Palm Beach Waterfront.  Event information can be found at: Event information can be found at: YogaDay.LivingFitToday.com

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