Research has shown that yoga has many benefits for us, from better sleep and immunity, to relaxation, easing migraines, and fighting food cravings. Yoga has been a big part of my parenting life (as a wonderful source of stress relief and re-balancing), so I thought it would be fitting to interview the owner of the yoga studio I attend to hopefully get other parents to consider adding yoga to their lives so they can reap those same benefits. Her name is Tricia Heiser and she owns The Sanctuary for Yoga in Medford, NJ.
- How did yoga first come into your life?
When I was in my twenties, a friend invited me to my first yoga class. I was nervous and unfamiliar, but having been a dancer and gymnast my entire life, practicing yoga immediately felt natural to me as a form of self-expression. My friend had been practicing yoga for quite a while and was surprised to see how easily I was able to get into and out of the poses, but I pointed out to her that I had been basically moving like this my entire life. But I also learned quickly that yoga is not about comparing yourself to another person – it is about doing what is comfortable for you and finding that edge that is just a little beyond what you were able to do before. In my experience, the people in class who appear to be struggling the most are the people who say they got the most out of the class at the end.
- How did you decide to open your own yoga studio?
My dad owned his own business and I absorbed his ambition. When I was young, I envisioned being a CEO of a company. I went to business school and became a financial advisor, where I met my husband. Looking back, I know that I followed that track because I was destined to meet my husband in that environment, but working as a financial advisor was not fulfilling for me. I always felt pulled in too many directions and never felt like I was serving my clients the way I wanted to. When my first son was born, I decided to quit my job. I was not sure what I would do moving forward – I just knew being a financial advisor was not what I was meant to do. My husband on the other hand, loves being a financial advisor, so that clear contrast showed me that this was not my path. A little while later, my daughter was born and afterwards, I decided to get certified to teach yoga. It seemed a natural progression at that point because I had been taking yoga classes for several years. I began teaching yoga classes at a few local gyms, and quickly realized that this was what I was meant to do. The next step was opening The Sanctuary for Yoga.
- You have young children at home. How do you manage being a female, small business owner, a yoga teacher, and a mom?
When the studio gets too overwhelming, I step back from teaching and focus more on my kids and my family. I am fortunate to have several wonderful yoga teachers who teach classes for me. When my kids and my family feel more balanced, I dive more deeply into the studio. This allows me to be present when I am with my kids and present when I am at the studio. I notice that my kids are happier with a more balanced mom, so it is good for all of us. I have had to learn how to let go when necessary.
- I imagine yoga helps you to stay balanced with all the parts of your life, right?
Absolutely! Yoga reminds us to be still and go inward. That is especially helpful when times are very busy, hectic or stressful.
- What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
Definitely Ardha Chandrasana, or Half-Moon Pose. I love this because it is a balancing pose and I need to be aligned properly, or get into alignment, in order to do it well. It is a challenging pose, but it feels so freeing when I get into it properly. It makes me feel open, uplifted, light and balanced.
- What do you love about teaching yoga?
I love when it flows. I cannot write up a plan of poses that I will move the class through – it feels too stiff and it doesn’t feel natural. I teach from my heart and feel guided through the class. I simply ask my Universal Guides to help me guide the class through the poses and it works every time. I feel and am inspired by the collective energy in the room as well.
- Have any of your students taught you something through your classes?
Yes, my students continually teach me. I never know what is going on in a student’s personal life. They may look perfectly fine on the outside, but may be struggling on the inside. I have learned that I cannot just assume I know what is going on or how it is affecting them.
- It can be intimidating to go to a private yoga studio for the first time. What advice do you have for people who may want to give it a try?
My first suggestion is to get your ego out of the way. I remember my first yoga class at the Moorestown Arts Center. I was intimidated walking in, but the people were friendly and welcoming. My message is that no one should be intimidated to visit a yoga studio. We are a friendly, non-judgmental group, just a nice community. We want you to reap the benefits of yoga. A yoga studio has a warm and welcoming vibe with wonderful energy. The entire practice of yoga is based on not comparing yourself to the person next to you. It is all about finding your own personal limit with no attention paid to the person next to you and what s/he is capable of doing. It is beneficial to be open-minded and open-hearted. Get out of your comfort zone to come and join us. Don’t be scared – yoga is pretty neat, and interesting things happen when you open your mind.
- How can people find out more about you or visit your studio?
Our website is www.thesanctuaryforyoga.com
Our address is 43 South Main Street Medford,NJ 08055
Our phone number is (609) 953-7800
Our Facebook page is The Sanctuary For Yoga