We love all the amazing humans that make up this awesome community and we want to celebrate them. So we've created a monthly Community Spotlight- a place for you to get to know your fellow yogis better and learn about their personal journey with yoga.
We're super excited to announce Gretchen Hudson as our July practitioner Spotlight.
Gretchen as been a student with us almost from the beginning. Her yoga story speaks to the why of what we do as yoga teachers... to help transform. Gretchen is a bright light and she brings that energy with her to every class she takes.
Get to know Gretchen and what yoga means to her below.
WHAT DOES HARVEST MEAN TO YOU?
For me, Harvest has become a sanctuary of “Clear Your Head!” When I walk in the door, I almost immediately realize a sense of peace. There truly is no ‘judgement’, and the support you feel is not only from Nici and the instructors, but all of the other yogis! Harvest is also important to me because this is an independently owned studio, and that Nici gives back to the Cuyahoga Falls community as a whole. Harvest is a place of love and happiness! Even on my worst days, when I walk out after a practice, I always feel better and more at peace.
HOW DID YOU START YOUR YOGA JOURNEY?
I tried yoga 10 years ago, and quite frankly, hated it, because my only option was an intermediate class. I had no idea what I was doing. (more on that later). Last summer, a friend of mine (Katie Kuzyk) shared a post on her FB page about Harvest offering an initial class for free. I decided to try yoga again – I was especially intrigued because Harvest offered a Beginners Class. Tracey was just amazing! She makes her classes fun and (most importantly) not stuffy! She let me know that it was OK to not know what the heck I was doing… the important thing was to give Yoga a chance to make a difference in my life.
WHAT DOES YOGA MEAN TO YOU?
Yoga has taught me to slow down and make time for my well-being. Practicing yoga not only strengthens your body, but your mind as well as your soul. If you allow yoga to take root in you, it can grow forever.
HOW DO YOU FIT YOGA INTO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?
A great thing about yoga is that you can take it with you anywhere! Yoga is so many things- not just the poses. It’s important to allow time for yourself every single day. Whether that is a long walk, a peaceful meditation, or stretching out the kinks.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOGIS JUST STARTING OUT?
Remember when I said I hated yoga my first time around? One of my best friends convinced me to sign up for yoga with her. Everyone (including my friend) were experienced yogis. The instructor kept the lights very low, so I could not see what was going on, and she did not give any instructions other than call out poses. I was attempting to keep up, and wound up in some sort of head stand. I lost my balance, and went into what I thought was a beautiful somersault! I jumped up like I just planted the perfect routine in the Olympics, all while laughing at myself. The rest of the class was not amused. That experience totally turned me off yoga until now. So.. what is my advice? RELAX HAVE FUN LAUGH AT YOURSELF IF YOU WANT
Just keep trying, ask questions. Push yourself. And if you do choose to continue- don’t worry about fancy outfits. Invest in a good mat (trust me on this!)
IF YOU WERE A YOGA POSE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BE?
Without a doubt, Downward Dog. I am a Dog Mom, and I have learned so many lessons from my pups over the years. Take time to sleep in the sunspot! Seriously, downward dog is such a good stretch for my back, and it is like going back to square one when you get off track.
WHAT’S ONE INTERESTING FACT DO YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH OUR COMMUNITY?
I am a proud volunteer at the Akron Zoo! I truly believe that it is important to support our community. I find that my time at the zoo is also a means of ‘mental therapy’ for me, just like yoga.