Hi! Welcome everyone 🙂
Thank you for visiting my blog. Maybe you’re one of my students at Cal Poly Pomona, a member of one of the Club Pilates studios I teach at, or maybe you stumbled upon me while scrolling through Instagram, either way I’m glad you’re here!
My vision for this blog is to share all things fitness and health related: workouts, links to virtual classes, and new content I learn about in my studies.
Before I start, I should probably share a little bit more about me. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning and others are just recently popping into my classes, so let me take you back to where my fitness instructor journey began. Just to be fair, since most of you know me as this happy instructor, it’s important to note that some of my journey has not been so bubbly.
My yoga journey started in 2009, my Freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona. I remember my roommate coming in after a club fair, handing me a flyer for the yoga club on campus and suggesting “You should probably try this.” Which came as no surprise since I’d already shown my highly anxious tendencies of freaking out over the simplest things. I practiced weekly and fell in love with the way I felt after each class. Those initial classes taught me how to manage my stress and emotions in a way I had never learned before.
I’ll give you the short and not so sweet version of my “before”:
Growing up I dealt with my own depression and anxiety, as well as the mental illness and addiction within my family. Stress management was not a concept I was familiar with nor taught (to no fault of my family, I’m not sure they knew themselves yet how to manage their own stressors and I am grateful that since then we have all become essential to each other’s support system). To pre-yoga Shelly, negative emotions sent me into spirals of self-hate and I hid the self-inflicted scars that often followed. For post-yoga Shelly, I learned you could feel more things than just pain, that you could focus on your breath in times other than a panic attack, and that you can feel alive in ways that don’t result in scars. Yoga was my first introduction to learning that it’s okay to not feel okay, that you can in fact sit with something that is uncomfortable and be able to mindfully note it as just that: uncomfortable but not forever.
I’m always hesitant to share my past, and current, experiences with depression and anxiety because of the unfortunate stigma that surrounds mental health. But I always will. For me, it’s an important piece of my “WHY?” and I feel I can’t leave it out. Yoga helped me develop enough love for myself to seek out therapy my Senior year and advocate for mental health services on campus. Yoga even helped give me the confidence to apply to graduate school where I am now studying ways to use social psychological theory to encourage others to seek help for their mental health.
The summer before I started graduate school, I made a promise to myself to do something that would further my career as a yoga instructor and allow me to continue sharing yoga with others. In 2014, I completed a 200 hour teacher training program with Cloud Nine Yoga School and I have continued to teach at Cal Poly Pomona ever since.
But what about Pilates? Well my Pilates journey started around another big chapter in my life: writing my Master’s thesis. My first year of graduate school brought about an entirely new set of stressors that tested my current coping skills to their limit. I managed these stressors by continuing to teach, even offering free classes for graduate housing in Claremont, but I was stubborn in realizing this wasn’t enough. In my third year, the stress from writing my thesis forced me to take a break from teaching yoga and sent me back to therapy. My therapist is actually the one who recommended I try Pilates (I don’t always tell people that but it’s true), along with one of my close friends in graduate school. I was facing a whole new wave of uncertainty and self-doubt but Pilates helped me realize I am much stronger than I tell myself. Pilates taught me that I can accomplish great things, with time and probably some modification, and that my progress will not look like my neighbor’s progress. I felt at home on a reformer, familiar with the emphasis on mind-body connection and the importance of the breath in helping the body and mind work to their fullest potential. In typical Shelly fashion, when I’m passionate about something I immerse myself within it and feel the need to share it with others. So naturally (cue my friend’s laughing at my over-acheiver tendencies) I enrolled in the Club Pilates comprehensive Pilates certification course the year after I graduated with my Master’s. It took two years to complete all 500 hours of in-person workshops, online learning, observation, self-practice, and apprenticeship but I finally tested out in January of this year. My Pilates education inspired within me a love of learning all about what the body and breath are capable of. I have since taken several barre certification courses and suspension pilates workshops to continue running with this passion.
I’m still in graduate school, this time finishing up my PhD, but I continue to teach yoga, Pilates, and all my other classes because it brings me joy, and hopefully brings a little joy to all of you.
So that’s me, in all my rambling and often anxious glory 🙂 If you made it this far, thank you. I’m glad we could share this space together and I look forward to seeing you in class!