Student Spotlight: Kim Teachout

When did you start coming to Yen Yoga & Fitness?  

I started going to Yen in April of 2014. I became a member in November of the same year.

What was your reason for starting?

In the past, I had practiced yoga sporadically but had never stuck with it for a long period of time due to what I thought were time/work/life restraints. I grew up in Traverse City and like many 18 year olds in the early 90’s, left town as soon as I could to find my own adventures. I was gone for 22 years. Those 22 years were spent in 5 different states and overseas, 22 years of collecting adventures and misadventures. In 2013, I was living in DC and working at least 60-70 hours per week, commuting many hours to and from work, and constantly bombarded with a high-paced city lifestyle. The busy-ness and clutter in my mind that had been building for so long, not only from my life in DC but also from every other place I had been and experiences I had had, was reaching a breaking point. On the verge of breaking down, I made an extremely abrupt move back to my hometown.

I was in terrible physical shape at the time but my mental and emotional states were even worse. I knew I had to find something to heal my mind and with the little experience I had had with meditation and yoga, I thought that it might be a good place to start. I didn’t go to my first yoga class at Yen with any expectation of success, in fact, I had convinced myself before my first class that this probably wasn’t going to solve my problems. I was cynical and wary of this thing called yoga. I wasn’t even looking to get in shape and probably didn’t realize I needed to. What I wanted to find was something to help me regain clarity, awareness, stress relief, and control of my life, something to help myself cope with the joys and pains of the previous two decades, something that would aid in healing emotions, both love and hate, that had been building for so long, and to learn how to let go of things that I no longer needed.

I started slowly, meditation classes first, then gentle and yin. After I became comfortable with these, I tried a hot yoga class and my world changed. The heat was stifling.The class was focused only on themselves. (What? No one is noticing how much I hate this?) The room was silent except for the instructions being given. To me, the music-less class was amazing because I am a musician who went to music school and all I can picture when I hear pop songs in a class is a musical staff and a pen dictating the notes and rhythms onto it. (I love being a classical musician but ear training classes really ruined pop music for me.) The only thing I had to listen to was the sound of my own inner voice and my breath. It was truly challenging and not in the physical sense. Sometimes a class would end and I would feel this amazing sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Other times, I would find myself in a sweaty puddle laying on the floor crying, the good kind of crying. I wanted to practice it again and again and again.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since becoming a member of Yen?

I’ve had many big accomplishments since I started. Things that I had set out to learn and overcome in the beginning are in a very good states of repair. The one thing that was most shocking and that has become apparent to me recently is that I think I have better control over my emotions. When faced with stressful or difficult news and situations, I have been able to cope more easily.

What is your favorite class?

I have a lot of favorites but the 90 minute hot will always be at the top of my list. I also really enjoy the 90 minute Inspire on Saturdaymornings and most other flow classes, gentle, and yin. I couldn’t ask for better instructors either.

Funny moment:

I remember a hot yoga teacher referring to the detoxification process: She said that we were detoxing, like you have little janitors in your arteries. All that I could picture were little dudes in green onsies sweeping out my insides. It cracked me up.

Words of encouragement:

This is based on reasons not to try yoga that I have heard from friends and family and maybe some of my own insecurities before I started my practice. You don’t have to:

  • Be flexible
  • Be in shape
  • Wear brand name sports bras
  • Look good in tight pants

You just have to make the time and be able to breathe.