Interview with Beginner Yogi

This week we talked to Wendy Zook, a work-from-home mom and a wedding photographer who was looking to begin her yoga journey. She reached out to Nicole after seeing Nicole’s presence on social media where they connected and Wendy has loved her journey ever since! She has seen radical changes in her body, mind and life. Here’s what she has to say!

What inspired you to try private lessons over a group setting?
I’ve done a few exercise group classes in the past — Pilates, Zumba, even kickboxing back in the day. And while they were fun and helped get me out of the way of my excuses to exercise and out of the house, I always felt a little overwhelmed — not sure of some moves and no opportunity to ask and slow down, overwhelmed by a room full of strangers, even the feeling of competing and comparing myself with the other attendees. When I decided to make the switch to Yoga, I wanted to start strong — I wanted to learn the best form and technique from the very first move and I wanted to build up my confidence and the little things that will help me in a more intimate setting.

What did you feel like before, during, after?
Before my first lesson, I admit that I felt a bit nervous and even second-guessed myself for a few minutes. But, that was so silly! Before my lessons since then, I now feel excited! I can’t wait to start! During the lessons, I usually feel a wave of peace and calmness rush over me and I find all of my worries and stresses just disappearing. I also feel the tiniest parts of my body and my breathing and it makes me feel incredible, even if my arms are getting heavy or my thighs are burning! And afterwards, I always feel so strong, so powerful. I walk away for hours, even days, feeling functionally strong — it’s getting easier to lift my children, push the lawn mower, carry my heavy camera bag on a wedding day.

Why did you approach Nicole?
When I moved to the area last year, Nicole was one of the first people I connected with on social media. I loved “watching” her adventures in Hello Yoga Girl — Hikyoga and Yoga and Champagne events but also just how her positivity and enthusiasm grab you even from an Instagram image. I can’t wait to attend a Hikyoga event this summer and beyond and thought learning the fundamentals of Yoga from her would be so rewarding. And, yep, she surpassed my expectations. I never feel intimidated or overwhelmed. She is so encouraging and we spend so much of our lessons laughing like old friends. It’s so amazing!

Your privates were outside, how did you like that?
Outside lessons are the BEST! Seriously, we have a breeze and warm sunshine and the rustling of leaves and grass. It’s incredibly therapeutic and feels so “real.” It’s a completely different experience. Plus, I find starting a new move with wind on me and sometimes uneven grass, etc, makes me feel that much stronger when I’m inside with a flat surface and no distractions. I love outside yoga! It’s so rejuvenating! (A sun salutation facing the sun and feeling the warmth on your face?! YUP!)

Rumor has it you shed a tear? Do you want to talk about how yoga helped release emotions?
I’m pretty sure it was at the end of my second lesson, which was pushing through last week’s moves and a couple of new moves, that I just felt a complete release. In the tension in my shoulders and back and a release in the worries on my mind an hour before. I was hoping for those things. What I wasn’t expecting was such an emotional release. I don’t know what it was — maybe the peaceful spring evening we had at a local park; maybe it was letting go of that tension and the day-to-day worries I face as a mom, a woman, a human. Yoga with Nicole just let me release EVERYTHING. For me, it came in the form of some beautiful tears. Happy tears. I felt so free and so happy. I’ve never experienced that before. That was the moment I knew I was hooked.

Would you others to try private outdoor yoga lessons with Nicole?
I highly recommend a private outdoor yoga lesson with Nicole. You should do it for a thousand different reasons — a great downward-facing dog is a fun check on my to-do list — but the things you get out of this experience may surprise you. It trains your mind, body and spirit to just let go and just “be.” You might make a friend, too. You’ll definitely be a better friend to yourself, and I don’t know that there’s much more this world needs than kindness to one another and ourselves. I want all my friends to do this because I know how hard we work and how many things we try to do in a day — and I just know an hour with Nicole can push the most important things to the front of your mind and can change the way you carry yourself and take care of yourself. It’s so empowering!

Looking to deepen your yoga experience? Treat yourself with some private yoga lessons and reach out to Nicole to set it up!

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