Special Guest Saturday: Andrea Blasdale

From time to time, we like to hand the blog over to one of our amazing instructresses to let them share their stories. Andrea Blasdale joined our team last year after first joining #poisenation as a client. Whether you've caught one of her classes, or sparkled next to her on the mat, Andrea's energy and passion for fitness is irresistible! Andrea, take it away!

How does one “find” fitness? Well, I strongly believe that each of us discovers a healthy lifestyle in our own way – some through tragedy, some through a health scare, and some through pure curiosity (among other life events, of course). I’ve never spoken much about how I found fitness and developed such a strong love for it, but I’ve come to realize that it’s so important to share stories. We share stories to find others who may have a similar story, and therefore come together to transform ourselves into better people. Here is mine, in a nutshell…

I always loved to be active. As a child, my mother let me experiment with anything that sparked my interest, and therefore I played softball and basketball, I danced ballet, I became a cheerleader, and I did anything that involved running around and releasing all my energy. I loved to be busy and consumed by physical activity. As time went on and the relationship I was in grew more and more serious, I allowed that to become my number one priority. I worked full-time, I went to school full-time, and I was taking care of everyone else before taking care of myself. Before I knew it, I was planning a wedding while finishing college and applying to graduate school. I wanted to have the life I had always dreamed of: a home of my own, an education, a well-paying job…and a husband. I was 22 years old and well on my way to the majority of that list.

I felt so accomplished, knowing that I had already crossed so many items off my “to do” list. Unfortunately, I had also crossed myself off that list. I lost sight of who needed love, respect, and attention – me. In the midst of it all, I started feeling less than worthy to someone who I believed loved me no matter what – including what I looked like. That belief shrunk as the days went by, and no matter how hard I tried, it fell apart. I was left with the shell of the life I had been so busy planning for, and then I had nothing. It took a long time to bounce back from a failed relationship – one that made me think I didn’t deserve to be happy or feel beautiful in my own skin.

I finally got out of my funk and took my first class at Studio Poise. I loved every second. It made me sweat, it made me sore, and it was a challenge. I knew I would be back for more, and that’s exactly what I did. I made going to class a priority at least 5 to 6 times a week and I was eating better, and before I knew it, the pounds were dripping off and I could see muscles in places I didn’t even know existed! I was so inspired by the energy and welcoming nature of Studio Poise and its instructresses. Eventually, I took the plunge to become an instructress myself, and I found myself attending certification classes and training more than I ever had in my entire life. I even developed a love for running and yoga – who would have thought? I look back at the rough patch in my life that made me feel lower than the lowest low and smile, because without that to bounce back from, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. I am thankful for the hard times, and for the opportunity to give #poisenation the same energy and welcoming nature that I felt on the first day I walked through that door.

Thank you ALL for your support – whether I take a class with you, you take a class with me, or if we just chat in the lounge. You make all of this worth it! <3

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Andrea - and thanks for bringing your energy and sparkle to SP! Don't miss Andrea's Piloxing Xpress class, held every Sunday in Lynnfield at 11:30am. 

Special Guest Sunday: Melissa Petrella

From time to time, we like to turn this blog over to the fabulous instructresses who bring their sparkle and energy to class each and every day. You may have taken Pound or Poise Stretch & Tone with Melissa - if you haven't, you're missing out! Melissa is helping to raise money for Yoga Reaches Out as a part of Team Studio Poise, and today she's sharing her personal connection to yoga and how it changed her life. 

Have you ever had something that kind of changed you?  A book that, once you closed the back cover, you felt a lightness in your heart?  Or maybe a movie that, when you walked out of the theater, left you reeling?  Or even a conversation with a friend that filled your soul with so much joy, you knew in your deepest depths nothing would ever compare? 

We’ve all experienced something like this before.

For me, that’s yoga.  Every time I step on my mat.

I found yoga in 2004 when I was a junior in college.  Admittedly, I hated my few first classes.  Imagine a bunch of college kids packed like sardines into a dance studio, more than half of whom weren’t there for any serious reason.  I left that first class feeling awful.  Sore, broken.  But I kept going, thinking maybe it would get better.  It didn’t.  A couple of weeks later they stopped offering it, after said sardines dwindled down to single digit numbers.  I went back to my cheerleading and drinking and was happy as a clam.

After I graduated and moved home, I looked at myself one day, really unhappy with my reflection.  Aside from the excess weight, my soul needed something else.  Not long after that, a family friend invited me to take one of her yoga classes.  I hesitated after reliving those horrid classes a year prior, but decided to give it another go. That class, my friends, was the defining moment.  It occurred to me then that my competitive nature in college forced me into uncomfortable places with my body that my body simply didn’t agree with.  When I took the time to get out of my head and just be… well, if you’ve never experienced that feeling, I highly recommend it.  

Fast forward to 2015 and yoga is still just as much a part of my life now as it was then, even as a mom, ESPECIALLY as a mom, I make the time to practice.  There have been three very specific moments during my years practicing that will always hold the highest place in my soul.  The first was during my teacher training when, at the end of our lesson, we all participated in a “kirtan”, a call-and-response musical chant of a particular mantra.  Believe me when I say, the entire room positively BUZZED with energy.  It was incredibly moving and I’ve never felt anything quite like it before then, or since for that matter.  The second was during one home practice, when I laid down for savasana.  It could’ve been the music, but as I let my body sink deeper into relaxation, the tears came, and didn’t stop.  I lay on my mat and just sobbed.  It wasn’t a sad cry, it was just… emotion.  That’s all I can say.

And the third moment?  The third moment was Yoga Reaches Out.  When YRO came to town in 2013, I knew I had to be a part of such an amazing event.  There’s just nothing like thousands of yogis coming together to practice for a cause.  On April 27, myself, Ali Oxton, and few others will be representing Studio Poise at Yoga Reaches Out again.  Did you know you can be a part of this, too?  You don’t have to be an Instructress to join the Studio Poise team.  If you just want a day filled with amazing experiences, friends, and yoga, JOIN US!  If you don’t think it’s quite your speed, but still want to help, you can donate online to help us reach the amount needed to participate.  Either way, visit our Studio Poise team page where you can choose to donate or join.  I hope SPnation will be a part of this event with us, one way or another!  

Don't forget - you can also support Team Studio Poise in their fundraising efforts by joining our March Madness Challenge! Thanks, Melissa, for sharing your story - and for helping to change lives through Yoga Reaches Out! 

Special Guest Saturday: Sarah O'Keefe

Special Guest Saturday: Sarah O'Keefe

Our special guest this week is one of Studio Poise's OGs, Sarah O'Keefe. It's hard to miss Sarah's bright smile and her infectious energy, even during her killer rounds of Arms of Death. We're so excited to have Sarah back on the schedule, so we asked her to share a little bit about herself. Read on to learn more about Sarah!