Yoga has become my vise for life. My husband introduced yoga to me in 2006 as a way for us to release stress during his deployments. I dabbled back and forth with the practice for a few years. Yoga became a full time practice when I was diagnosed with Lupus a couple years later and it became my "medicine". I gave up my career as a hair designer and I was able to rehabilitate myself through the asana part of yoga and gained even more strength than I thought my body was capable of.
Through the years I found myself going to a variety of classes that I immersed myself into the physical part of the practice until I found Hippie Yoga in St. Clair Shores, MI.I found space that guided me to a whole new level of mindfulness and much more about the pranayama. The community I found on my mat at Hippie Yoga lead me to my YT-200 training there through Yoga Impact.
My training transformed me and gave me more knowledgeable of the therapeutic side that yoga can offer as well as all the fundamentals to guide those seeking the yoga practice. I find inspiration all around me with my teaching and I find I am just as much a student as I am a teacher. I believe there is a yoga practice for everyone. I like to offer a variety of practices and styles in hopes that I can help people make a connection at their own level and can leave the mat feeling more peace and love for themselves. My favorite to teach is a restorative practice and a core driven practice with a strong focus on the pranayama, the breath. It humbles me to experience and witness those seeking, on their mat, letting go and taking the time for themselves. That is the place where this teacher becomes the student.
I began practicing yoga asana in 1996 as a natural remedy for an autoimmune disease diagnosis. In 2015, I graduated from 200 hour yoga teacher training with the intention of making yoga accessible to everyone. I also earned certification as a Reiki Master, Master Gardener and Master Naturalist.
Over the past couple years my practice has taken a spiritual path and includes the use of Tibetan singing bowls, essential oils, and crystals.
About 11 years ago, I began practicing yoga frequently and regularly. I realized yoga was the perfect fit for what my body needed: increased flexibility, strength and balance. The calm and gentle space and the culture of positivity, gratitude, and peacefulness was such a drastic change from gym classes; I savored this difference. The inward focus necessitated by attending to the motion and position of the body as well as the breathing connected to movement was reminiscent of what I loved about dance. More quietly and I think more importantly, yoga taught me how to be present. The quiet demand for my being present was a powerful skill to learn; throughout my day, I had a tool with which to access a greater degree of calmness and clarity of thinking. For this, I am very grateful.
For many years, I had it in the back of my mind that I would love to teach yoga. I had the good fortune to be able to pursue this dream. In November of this year, I traveled to Bali and completed my teacher certification through the Awakened Life School of Yoga. I studied under Liz Carey, Joe Miller, Cristi Christensen and Muriel Murphy. With my certification, I hope to help bring yoga into the mainstream of more walks of life. My goal is to teach with clarity of instruction and keenness of observation, thereby enabling students to safely maximize the benefits of each pose. Just as importantly, I hope to nurture in students the love of yoga, the importance of taking care of oneself, and the joy of positivity, gratitude and love.
Yoga has floated in-and-out of my life since 1999, my love for yoga stuck when it helped relieve my chronic migraines and depression/anxiety related to infertility. It served as a lifeline while working on behalf of individuals reentering the community from the criminal justice system. Yoga helped me meet clients where they were at (emotionally, spiritually, energetically) and to just be present with them in that space. I fell in love with a power hot yoga asana practice. Then, it became more than that, my husband calls me the "Pusherman of Yoga," referencing the Curtis Mayfield song. Yoga is like a drug for me; it started as a love of the postures, then came the breath, now the mind, body, soul...yoga has infiltrated my life. Every day it offers me something new. Whether guiding a class or practicing, I am always grateful for the opportunity to practice asana and meditation with a group of people. Breathing in and breathing out together is a beautiful thing. I currently live in Gaylord, MI and I am co-owner of Yoga-45, with an amazing friend and partner, Amy Mertz. I was trained at Yen Yoga in Traverse City, in hatha yoga, under two remarkable women, Jenny Lintvedt and Heidi Dietrich. I will always be a student, humbly learning from those around me; always knowing my four greatest teachers in life will be my children and husband.
I first tried yoga because I heard it was very helpful for dealing with stress. Between moving to a new town, new marriage and career, I was looking for an avenue to help with so much change. I took my first yoga class in 2001 at a community class offered at Grayling high school. I was unsure about what I had experienced, but liked the overwhelming calm feeling I felt after class. That class led to a lot of exploration, reading and yoga classes. I developed a passion and love for it, that I know I wanted to share with others. After ten years of practice, I completed the RYT 2oo hour program in September 2011 at Yoga for Peace in Southgate, MI.
My teaching style emphasizes proper alignment and safety through the use of props. I strive to inspire students to use the skills and ideas taught in class to develop a home practice, but also, to use those themes in class and everyday life off the mat. I study the Iyengar method with Mary Reilly, a Senior Iyengar Yoga Instructor in Petoskey, MI
I began practicing yoga in 2008 as a form of physical exercise and a way to reduce stress in college. I felt empowered and was hooked immediately. For the first time in my adult life, I felt calm and peaceful. Throughout the years, yoga has been like a trusted friend, always there to lean on during times of need, knowing just what to give you. In 2015, I was hit with multiple personal tragedies and life seemed unbearable. During these times, yoga helped me realize there is a deep well of strength and joy within each of us that we can tap into whenever we choose.
This awakening and a desire to give back led me to a teacher training program in 2018. I was blessed with the opportunity to study with Stephanie Lynn, of Blooming Lotus Yoga, in Traverse City, Michigan. Our studies were comprehensive and thorough, focusing not just on the physical practice, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits, along with a study of the ancient ethical and philosophical teachings of yoga. I received my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification and extensive training in hatha yoga, vinyasa flow yoga, yin yoga, meditation, and yoga nidra. I remain a life-long, dedicated student of yoga.
The path of yoga is deeply personal and unique to all. It is a path of self-awareness - of body, mind, and spirit. It is a path of uncovering your true nature and true potential. My teaching style honors this path and aims to meet students where they are. Yoga is for everyone, and I am humbled to serve you on your journey. The light within me honors and bows to the light within you. Namaste
Yoga has been seeking me for many years but it wasn't until I retired from Corporate America and moved to Northern Michigan in 2008 that I truly discovered the power of a regular yoga practice.
I was blessed to find a sanctuary for the growth of my own practice through gentle guidance of my mentor, Mariah Frye Colie and as a result was inspired to pursue my RYT-200. Transformed by the experience of teacher training, I am excited to be a part of the exploding yoga culture in America and hope to encourage others, regardless of age, to discover the tremendous benefits to be realized through the practice of yoga. I would like to see children exposed to yoga at a young age so we may have a future of yogis who can experience a lifetime of what it took me so long to find.
My goal is to continue my yoga training at every opportunity and expect much of that will come from my students! My teaching focus is designing classes accessible to all experience levels and to provide my students with a safe, fun and inviting environment in which to grow.
In addition to yoga, I enjoy riding the trails with my "boy", Rebel, a quarter horse gelding, golfing, fly-fishing, kayaking, reading and spending time with my wonderful grandchildren. I am blessed to share my life with my best friend and husband of 42 years, Gary who has always provided me great support and encouragement.
"Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most."-Buddha
Kim Vokal began practicing yoga in 2005 after the birth of her second son. Practicing yoga became a way for her to submerse and nurture her mind, body, and spirit all in one place. After delivering two more children, Kim gained major respect for the connection of breath and body. As Kim continued to nurture her four children, the desire to share and nurture others through the language of yoga grew stronger. In October of 2013, Kim landed at the Updog School of Yoga. She graduated with her 200 hr certification in January of 2014 and has been guiding students through their practices ever since. Kim is a Vinyasa yogi at heart, but has realized the importance of building solid foundations in her own practice evolving her to teach Basic and Slow Flow classes as well. She truly believes that the practice of yoga is a gift for all to enjoy, and finds much inspiration in watching her students explore and navigate their way through the many benefits of the mind, body, and spirit connection yoga offers.
Yoga is for everyone; yoga is unity. Sarah has practiced various styles of yoga for over 10 years, including Vinyasa, Hatha, Baptiste, and restorative. She received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in March 2017 from Be The Love in Petoskey, Michigan. Sarah believes yoga is a way to find true strength and build community through shared breath and movement. Sarah also enjoys trail running, cooking from scratch, and spending time with her husband, Ross, and pup, Kolo.