10 Year Challenge

I’ve been seeing a lot of these “10 Year Challenge” posts on social media lately.  I’m sure you also have seen your fair share of photo posts of your friends (and maybe strangers) of what they looked like in 2009 and what they look like now.  Here’s mine:

Other than gaining about a dozen gray hairs, a few wrinkles and having less elasticity in my skin, I don’t feel like I look too different in these photos; but the person that I was in 2009 is definitely not the person that I am today.

In 2009, I was working full-time as an Analyst for a Fortune 500 Company, songwriting and recording at night, singing in a Christian band… and exhausted, insecure, and unhappy with a lot of things in my life.  I was dealing with feelings of inadequacy in all aspects of my life (feeling like I wasn’t good enough of an analyst, a musician, a wife, a mother, a friend… the list went on and on).  I had gone down from a size 12 to size 2, but I still felt like I was too big. I was obsessed with working out, losing weight, putting strict restrictions on food, etc.  Needless to say, 2009 was a very trying year for me.

2010 was a year of rebuilding myself.  With the support of my husband, I left my comfortable, well-paid job to focus on spending more time with my family.  I decided to do contract work so that I can take summers off to spend with my daughter instead of sending her to summer camps.  I made sure I only worked when her school was in session.  I also started taking Mixed Martial Arts class to work on my inner strength (the outer strength came with it naturally).  I also returned to practicing yoga more regularly.

2011-2012 were spent soul-searching.  I tried my hand at being a consultant for an MLM company (which I realized that I was pretty good at but was not passionate about).  I tried starting a resume-writing business and an event planning business.  I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to put my energy into professionally.  I experienced a lot of highs and lows those two years, but by the end of 2013, I had successfully gotten back into the fitness industry as a Zumba Instructor and Dance Fitness Instructor.  I also decided that I was going to become a Yoga Teacher.

In 2013, I completed my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training.  This changed everything for me.  I experienced a transformation from within that shaped the way I began to view life.  I became more calm and grounded.  Life stopped being about DOING but rather BEING.  My relationship with God began to become deeper and more intimate.  I heard God’s voice through His Word (The Bible) so much clearer.  I became more in tune with the Holy Spirit.  I felt more connected to Jesus.

2014 was a year of experiences.  I completed an aerial yoga instructor certification and opened Dallas’ first Aerial Yoga Studio with two business partners.  I learned how to run a studio, train the staff, do payroll… all the while homeschooling my daughter and spending time with my family.  I had to kiss my social life goodbye, but that year was a pivotal time for what was to come.

In 2015, I experienced transitions of many kinds.  The lease was up on our aerial yoga studio, and we had to relocate due to a change in landlord who wanted to use our space for his business.  We tried so hard to find a new location to reopen; but after looking and negotiating with various building owners/management for months, we decided to close our studio.  Around the same time, my husband was offered an opportunity to transfer to their Charlotte office.  After many prayers and a visit to North Carolina, we made the move to North Charlotte in October.

I started to become known as the “Aerial Yoga Master Trainer” (training future instructors) as I began to certify instructors in North Carolina (as well as Texas) in 2016.  By this time, I had “perfected” my aerial yoga teacher training manual as well as my teacher-training skills.  This was the first time since leaving the corporate world that I started to make a decent amount of money.  I loved traveling to Texas to certify instructors while making a lot of money in the process.  I realized that year that I had a knack for training instructors; so I started to pray for greater things for the upcoming year.

I launched my own 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in the beginning of 2017.  It was challenging to write the manual, teach while learning and researching, but I was eager to meet that challenge.  I learned a lot about myself and others while I ran my 200-Hr YTT and 30-Hr Aerial YTT in 2017 and 2018.  I felt that I found my calling professionally, and I was convinced that teaching, training and certifying future yoga/aerial yoga teachers was what I will be doing until it was time for me to retire (although I don’t think I would ever completely retire).

2019 became the year of accomplishments.  God had placed a desire in my heart to write a book about biblical meditation in 2017, but I pushed that desire aside for two years because I didn’t think I knew enough to actually write a book about it.  But after wrestling with whether or not I should author a book for a couple of months, I started writing it in the beginning of March which the publication goal date of October 1.  I actually ended up publishing my book in September all the while completing a certification training to become an IMX Pilates Instructor!

From 2009 to 2019, I was able to experience many challenges that sometimes tested my character deeply which helped me to mature and become stronger.  I also experienced some amazing things such as going on a 17-day roadtrip with my family (which was the beginning of many long vacations we have been blessed to take), choreographing and leading flashmob dances for high profile events, moving to a new state, gaining wonderful friends, mentoring teenagers, taking a short sabbatical, writing and publishing my first book, teaching yoga and meditation at retreats in beautiful places…  This decade has been awesome!

I may wake up with more aches and pains than I used to; but this has been the most favorite decade of my life because I was able to trade in some of my youth for invaluable experiences, much growth, wonderful memories, and a zeal for life that I have never felt before!  I am in a place in my life where I can decide to be still, listen to God, make some tea, and enjoy everything life has to offer!

As you reflect on your “10 Year Challenge,” I hope you’re able to recognize all the blessings that have come out of this decade.


With Gratitude,
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PiYo Instructor Certification Workshop – 3/10/13

I had intended on posting about my experience at the PiYo Instructor Certification workshop the day after the event, but due to some writing assignments that I received, I’m finally getting to writing about it:

I showed up at the workshop at Dancer Strong in Mckinney at 8:45 AM, so I had 15 minutes to sign in, set up my mat, and meet some of the other participants.  It seemed like a lot of them knew each other from the dance studio because they were already engaged in private conversations.  Anyway, the workshop started exactly at 9 AM, and the Trainer, Melissa, went over the agenda for the day.

We went over anatomy rather quickly (about 15 minutes), but in all fairness, Melissa did recommend that the participants get certified in group fitness through ACE or AFAA which covers the musculoskeletal system more in depth.  We spent the morning discussing the PiYo format and its background and what to expect during the practical exam (including demonstration and practice).  We took a 15-minute break before starting the PiYo Masterclass.  Did I mention that I have NEVER taken a PiYo class before?

The PiYo Masterclass was… O M G!  I would like to think that I’m in pretty good shape, but man, I’m surprised that I survived it!  Once the Masterclass was over, we had a 30-minute lunch break.  We went through the legal stuff (when it is acceptable to use the PiYo name, how to stay in compliance, etc.) and then dove right into PiYo form & technique and teaching skills (verbal cues, music, teaching styles, etc.).  We got into small groups and was assigned a combination to work on cueing (half of us were already fitness instructors, so we were placed in groups with at least one person who was not currently teaching).  The combinations are written on the choreography notes that comes with the DVD (part of the goodie bag that everyone gets at sign-in), but our group got confused with the symbols (no legend included).  Once we got it figured out, it went smoothly.  We chose the non-instructor team member to demonstrate it in front of the class because the rest (3) of us in the group were already instructors (We spent the whole time coaching her through cueing), and she did fantastic!

We took another 15-minute break before the Practical Exam began (FYI – THEY DID AWAY WITH THE WRITTEN EXAM!)… Oh, and prior to the break, Melissa went over the different rankings that we can get on our Certificate of Completion:
GOLD: The Gold ranking is assigned to people who demonstrate “exemplary” form/technique and musicality for 90-100% of the time in the non-modified/advanced poses.  GOLD ranking is coveted and is assigned to 10% or less.

PASS: Most of the participants will receive this ranking.  Their form and technique are satisfactory and/or the poses were not demonstrated in the advanced level.  Instructors with this ranking can retest in the future for the Gold ranking.

IN TRAINING:  This ranking is assigned to people that need more work on their form and technique.  Instructors with this ranking can retest in the future for a higher ranking.

So here’s how the exam went:

We were placed in the studio in alphabetical order, and we went over all of the combinations that we were going to be tested on.  Melissa then went from one person to the next, testing everyone individually.  After testing me on the first combination (there were four), she asked me if I was already an instructor or practice yoga… When I replied that I’m currently going through a 200-Hr Yoga Teacher Training and that I’m an AFAA and Zumba-certified instructor, she said, “I can tell.”

After the last combination testing, she said to me (in front of others), “I never do this, but I want to show you your test scores.  You got Gold in all but two categories, but that’s because of your injured shoulder.”  (I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder during the group practice, so I had been icing it the whole time until testing).

I wasn’t sure if that meant that I would be assigned the “Gold” ranking or if I would get the “Pass” ranking so I approached Melissa afterwards to ask her… She confirmed that I got the “Gold” Ranking!  Woohoo!!!