This month, we chose 3 students to be honored in our first Student Spotlight. All three of these women have been members of Empower Yoga since we opened our doors last April. Each have attained well over 100 classes!!! We are incredibly grateful for their hard work and support over the last year. Well done ladies!!

Here's a little bit about each of them:

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LAURA DETURK

Where are you from and what do you do?    I’m from Cranbury, NJ but live just a mile from the studio now! I do childcare from home during the day and customer service in the evenings. 

When did you start practicing yoga? What was it about yoga that first interested you?

I first started practicing yoga 7 years ago, after my first daughter was born. I joined a class that did baby and me yoga. I loved that I was able to move and connect with myself (and my new baby!) as well as connect with my new community!

How did you discover Empower Yoga?

After doing many years of  prenatal and Mom & baby yoga my instructor knew I was looking for a studio with more challenging classes and tagged me in Empower Yoga’s Facebook page last March! 

How has the studio helped to EMPOWER you?

Empower yoga has brought so much into my life! Not only a sense of motivation and purpose into my free time, but also showing me just how strong I can be!!! It has brought a sense of calm into my hectic life, I always look forward to my next class! 

Tell us about your favorite classes- What you’ve learned about yourself? How have you surprised yourself? What has been your favorite memory? Anything else you’d like to share about your practice?

I just love my regular Monday & Wednesday power hour classes with Irene. Keri & Andrea’s classes have been a great challenge for me!  I also love a good relaxing recharge class or even yoga nidra. I love the contrast between the two different types of classes. I really appreciate that the instructors at Empower yoga challenge you & encourage you to learn a difficult pose ( thanks to Adam I can finally get into crow!). There’s always a focus on getting into each pose correctly, which I think helps keep yoga fresh and fun for me! Each time I step onto my mat there’s always room to grow, improve and breathe a little deeper! I’m always learning something new from an instructor, or those practicing right along with me. 

Outside of yoga what are some of your other hobbies/interests?

In my free time (when I’m not doing yoga!) I love to read and spend time with my kids, trying new things or just hanging out. I love to cook, bake,and entertain, my house always has something fun going on! 

 

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MONICA FRANK

Where are you from and what do you do?    

I grew up in South Brunswick but now live in Ewing, New Jersey. I am a drug and alcohol counselor working with the young adult population. 

When did you start practicing yoga? What was it about yoga that first interested you?

I started practicing yoga around 2014 even though I was first introduced to yoga in 2007. What interested me was the connection between breath and movement, and in 2007, where I was in a particularly dark time of my life, the meditative aspect brought me some peace. As I began to practice in 2014, I was inspired by the grace and flexibility people had on their mats and I loved that it made me slow down and focus on stretching. As someone who was only doing Crossfit and weightlifting at that time, it was a much needed balance.  

How did you discover Empower Yoga?

Keri!!! I have known Keri for several years and talked to her about her dream of opening up a studio. I would often check in with her and ask about updates and was thrilled when she told me she and Dan finally found a space that was actually going through - bonus was that it is so close to my house. 

How has the studio helped to EMPOWER you?

There are nights I'm on my mat and I feel incredibly confident, strong, and inner focused. The instructors have empowered and encouraged me to slow down, listen to my body (which means checking my ego!), and knowing that strength isn't necessarily the physical strength I already possess - sometimes it's the strength to take a step back and focus on my breathing verse doing "cool" poses. I also bring breathing and lessons I learn on my mat to into my professional work. 

Tell us about your favorite classes- What you’ve learned about yourself? How have you surprised yourself? What has been your favorite memory? Anything else you’d like to share about your practice?

I can't say that I have favorite classes. I've taken classes with all of the instructors and each one brings something unique and therefore something different about myself and my practice emerges. I can remember specific times with all instructors where I've had moments of complete presence - where I am breathing with my movement and fellow yogis are breathing in unison beside me - it is so beautiful and powerful! I will have to say that one of my favorite memories is Andrea's very first hip hop yoga class and we got in a circle and danced - I know it may not have been super popular with everyone that night but I certainly enjoyed and appreciated it! I also really enjoyed the glo-flow at Halloween :) 

Outside of yoga what are some of your other hobbies/interests?

Outside of yoga, I enjoy anything including movement and that is playful! I do Crossfit 2x/week and also do circus aerials 1-2x/week (trapeze, silks, rope, sling) which I absolutely love. I enjoy being upside down as much as I possibly can so am frequently practicing handstands wherever I go. I love my two cats and can't wait for it to get warmer so I can spend more time next to my pool and at the beach! 

 

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LAUREN MADDEN

Where are you from and what do you do?    

I've lived in Lawrenceville, NJ for the past 7 years, but grew up on Long Island and lived all over the East Coast. I'm an Associate Professor of Elementary Science Education at TCNJ.  

When did you start practicing yoga? What was it about yoga that first interested you?

I started practicing seriously when I was in grad school in NC, about 12 years ago. I stopped practicing for a while, but started up again about a year and a half ago, just before Empower Yoga opened up.  

How did you discover Empower Yoga?

A mutual acquaintance of Keri told me it was opening, and then I did a little research and found that it was in the absolute perfect location for me to catch classes before or after work. 

How has the studio helped to EMPOWER you?

I feel calmer, more balanced, and focused both at work and at home as a result of regular practice and the amazing team and community at Empower Yoga.  

Tell us about your favorite classes- What you’ve learned about yourself? How have you surprised yourself? What has been your favorite memory? Anything else you’d like to share about your practice?

My favorite classes are the ones where the movement and music are so much in sync, it feels like a moving meditation to practice. I've been lucky to experience this in a lot of different classes with many different instructors at Empower Yoga. I like being able to confront emotions that come up during practice head on, and always walk out of class feeling more centered.

Outside of yoga what are some of your other hobbies/interests?

Spending time with my twin 5-year old boys, Connor and Luke, baking, traveling, live music, & theater and reading.