Tell us about yourself
After communism collapsed in Romania, my husband applied for a Ph.D program at the University of Minnesota. He arrived in Minnesota in September, 1991, and I followed in April 1992.
I began working for the City in 2001 as an Engineering Aid in Public Works. I currently am a PW Technician 3 in the Sewers Division. I review site plans for commercial projects.
One of the exciting things I found in the United States when I first arrived was all the different foods here that are not available in Romania. I was so curious about all these new foods that I gained 30 pounds in 4 months! I had always been careful about maintaining my weight, but, here, my curiosity and appetite for the new foods got the best of me. It took me three years and my mom’s nagging before I decided to do something about it. I started exercising and being careful again about what I was eating. It took me almost one year to lose the weight and get back in shape. I promised myself I would stay in shape for the rest of my life.
You currently lead Yoga classes for City employees. Tell me about your Yoga career.
I had read a lot of books about yoga in Romania, and I was curious to try it. In 2001, I started taking classes at the YMCA, with not too much confidence that it would work for me. My husband actually saw the benefit yoga provided before I did: he realized if he wanted an affirmative answer about something, he should call me after the yoga class when I was more relaxed and accepting.
In 2002, I took a part time job at the YMCA and began instructor training classes for Yoga, Pilates and Body Flow. After I had all certificates in order, I started substitute teaching. In 2004, I was approved to teach a Pilates class at the YMCA and the next year started teaching BodyFlow, and Yoga. Since then, I have been teaching about a 12 classes a week at various YMCAs, and I love it!
When did you start leading Yoga/Pilates classes for the City? Do you have any examples of what participants have said about what Yoga has done for them since they started?
In 2006, I began teaching at the City, first 2 times/week and have continued to add more classes. My students really enjoy the lunch hour classes. It is a very good way to break up the working/sitting day. After the class, they tell me they feel even more productive. They also feel that their posture and fitness have improved since starting Yoga.
You recently were diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery. What can you say about Yoga contributing to your recovery?
Before the surgery, I was thinking that this is a chance to see if all my working out would make a difference. After surgery, my doctor told me that I would be recovered in one week because of how fit I am from so many hours of Yoga and Pilates. (This same doctor, for the same procedure, recommended 6 weeks of rest for one of my friends.) Not only did my fitness level contribute to my recovery but the yoga techniques of concentration and meditation allowed me to maintain a positive attitude throughout.
Any final words?
I appreciate so much the benefits I have received from doing Yoga and Pilates, and I really enjoy being able to help others obtain these same benefits through the classes I teach. If you’ve never taken a Yoga or Pilates class, I encourage you to do that. When I first started, I had my doubts that I would even be able to do it. I never imagined I would be instructing others and here I am!