Alyssa Choma

Where are you from and what do you do?

I am from West Windsor, NJ but moved to Ewing, NJ at the same time that Empower opened (how convenient!). I am an elementary school counselor.

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

I started practicing yoga when I graduated college about 6 years ago. I began practicing for exercise, as purely a physical practice, but it quickly evolved into a mental practice for me.

How did you discover Empower Yoga?

After learning that I was moving to Ewing, a yogi friend of mine told me I should attend the grand opening celebrations for Empower Yoga, and I did!  I love having a great studio so close to where I live.

How has the studio helped to EMPOWER you?

I practice yoga as self care and to maintain a healthy state of mind.  The teachers at Empower Yoga weave self care philosophies into their classes and I am always reminded of why I am practicing.  It's my most stressful days when I do not feel like I have time for anything that I know I need to get to a yoga class.  I've found that the teachers at Empower Yoga really encourage their students to find their inner strength and pull from within as motivation for practice.  I love the emphasis on core strength and building the fire within.  I have experienced some healthy difficulties over the last year and it's been extra important for me to continuously check in with my body to determine what it needs. The teachers at Empower Yoga are great at suggesting modifications and encouraging their students to discover the gentle balance of practice.  They have helped me to push myself while still listening to the limits of my body on a given day.

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 once taught a power flow class at Empower to raise money for a community service project that I was a part of.  I was extremely nervous leading up to it and was really doubting myself. I decided to attend Andrea's class right before the class I would be teaching as a way to distract myself from my nerves. By chance, Andrea's theme for her class was courage.  She led us through an empowering flow and spoke to us about bravery and being fearless. It completely resonated with me and was exactly what I needed at that moment. That is a memory that will always stick with me!

Irene's Monday and Wednesday classes work best with my schedule and I've enjoyed making these classes part of my routine.  I love how Irene leads students through a soft but strong flow.  I love heated yoga classes and I have to say that the heat at Empower Yoga is different from other places I have practiced.  Even though the heat will have you sweating your butt off, it feels truly clean and detoxifying!

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

I am a dog mom and my favorite thing to do it take hikes with my dog and fiance.  I love anything outdoors in nature!  I also love to spend time with my family, including my two nieces.


Gabby Gilmore

Where are you from and what do you do?

I am from Hillsborough, NJ, but I currently live in Lawrenceville. I am an executive assistant at a remodeling company in Langhorne, PA.

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

A friend of mine introduced me to yoga about 8 years ago. I really didn't know much about it and she invited me to join her at a class. I remember the first class was so difficult for me, but there was something about yoga that kept me coming back. I enjoyed the challenge and I loved how the practice was a movement meditation. I was going through a difficult time in my life and I believe yoga helped me to gradually let go of my struggles and be in the present moment. I also loved that each yoga class was a full body workout. I always felt amazing after class!

How did you discover Empower Yoga?

I used to work with Keri and I remember her telling me how much she loved teaching yoga and that she was planning on opening her own studio one day. I reconnected with her a couple years later and discovered that Empower Yoga was about to have their grand opening. I went to a class right away and fell in love with the studio! 

How has the studio helped to EMPOWER you?

This studio has helped me to find the strength and courage within myself. All the instructors push me to challenge myself and try new positions that I thought I was incapable of doing before. I have learned a lot about myself since I have started practicing at Empower Yoga. In addition to strengthening my body and mind, I have been able to develop awareness, compassion and acceptance through the meditative aspects of the classes. 

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 Power Flow classes. In these classes, I have learned how to push past my own self-defined limits and boundaries. I have surprised myself many times when I have been able to do an arm balance or an inversion that I might have not been able to fully do a week before. Each time I practice on my mat, I have a brand new opportunity to reach the goals that I've set for myself in my yoga practice. My favorite memory was doing a class with my friends Monica and Erin. While I love practicing yoga on my own, it is so rewarding to have people that I care about by my side in class. I believe that I can bring the lessons I've learned from yoga off of the mat and into my life outside of the studio. Practicing yoga has helped me to embrace life's challenges. I have learned to walk through my fear, take risks and accept the outcomes, no matter what. The more I keep moving forward, the more I am presented with new opportunities to grow. Since the time that I took my first yoga class 8 years ago, I have developed a much more positive and open outlook on my life. I am more motivated than ever to go out of my comfort zone and take on new experiences.

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

Outside of yoga, I enjoy running, hiking, cooking and traveling! I also love spending quality time with family, friends and my dog!