February Thavma Yoga Lakewood Ranch Student of the Month: Maureen Szlemp
- Tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Chicago, then my husband and I lived in Iowa for 30 years and then eight years ago we moved to Bradenton, FL. I spent most of my career leading global marketing communications teams for software and hardware companies. I semi-retired three years ago but still write blogs and other content on AI, machine learning and other technology topics.
I’ve been practicing Thavma Yoga for about six years although I did not practice much during the first 12 months of COVID. I’m 67 years old and have arthritis in my knees, hands and right shoulder and I also have a head and hand tremor. Both the arthritis and the tremor affect my ability to do balance poses, actually, all poses. Initially I thought I could never do this, but guess what, I can!
- Have you done other styles of Yoga other than Thavma Yoga?
In addition to Thavma Yoga, I practice Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin and Restorative yoga.
- What made you decide to take your first yoga class?
I began my Thavma yoga journey when one of my daughters came to town and wanted to continue her practice while in Florida. She convinced me to go with her.
- What made you choose Thavma Premium Hot Yoga Lakewood Ranch as a Studio?
I practice at Lakewood Ranch. Honestly, I chose the studio because of its proximity to my home. I have stayed because of the instructors. I love every one of them.
- What was your first Yoga experience at Thavma Premium Hot Yoga like?
My first Thavma yoga experience is probably similar to others. When I was told that I should stay in the room for the entire class, I almost bolted. I was also quite overweight and hadn’t exercised in a while, so I just took it slow and easy and did what I could. When I got anxious or tired, I laid down and focused on breathing. I was encouraged throughout the session and at the end everyone clapped for the newbies and I felt safe and nurtured.
- What makes you come back?
I keep coming back because I continue to make progress. I still struggle with balance poses but I also am doing these poses far better than when I started. I have both determination and patience, which have served me well. In addition to the progress I have made, and continue to make, I love supporting this business and seeing it grow. With the growth, I’ve seen the roster of instructor’s blossom and that makes me so happy. Everyone is dedicated to their own journey and is excellent in their own way. I love seeing their personalities shine and witnessing their own personal and professional growth.
- How long have you been practicing?
- What changes have you seen since you began the practice?
I have more strength and stamina, and am much more limber than I used to be. I used to go to the chiropractor at least once a month. Now I only go two to three times a year.
- Where have you seen that yoga helps you in your day-to-day life?
Before I started doing yoga, every joint in my body ached. Now, only my knees and hands ache. My posture is better, my demeaner is better, I am all around a better person.
- What is your favorite pose?
I can’t pick just one. My favorite poses change the more I practice. Today, my favorites are Triangle Pose, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose, and Tree Pose.
- What is your least favorite pose?
- What do you like most about Thavma Premium Hot Yoga S?I love the instructors. I walk in, they all know me and sign me in right away. On occasion they will offer a correction, which really lets me know they are watching everyone and they care about my safety. When I leave, they always have a kind word. They are the best!
- Tell us anything else interesting that you feel you have gained or learned since starting yoga with us?
I love learning about all the poses and the health benefits of each one. I didn’t realize I would get an education while exercising. I always appreciate learning and this has become a really important plus to my practice. Also, Thavma Yoga has helped me cope with the craziness of COVID and an uncertain world. The focus it requires makes everything else that is happening in my life dissipate for the time I am in class. After class, I feel renewed and energized which gives me the strength and resolve to keep moving forward.