When we rolled out our brand new schedule last month, it didn’t just mean some new class times and formats in the class lineup–it meant some fresh faces on the B Team too! We are thrilled to welcome two new yoga instructors, Kate F. and Megan H., to our growing team. Along with barre tender/yoga instructor Kara B., they are now leading yoga classes every week at B Present. Read on to find out more about Kate and Megan, how their respective journeys with B Present began, why they love yoga–and why you will too!
Kate F.: Fast Facts
- Originally from the Detroit area
- Completed undergraduate work at Michigan State University; currently a third year law student at Notre Dame. Hopes to go into litigation: “I have a big mock trial coming up on Saturday and that will be my first real experience in the courtroom. We’ll see how it goes!”
- Loves to travel: “I lived in Amsterdam for a month before I started law school, I spent last semester studying abroad in London, I lived in France for three months during undergrad for an internship, and I lived in Washington D.C. for the last two summers working for a small law firm.”
Megan H.: Fast Facts
- Born and raised in Mishawaka
- Graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a degree in Mass Communications. “I thought I’d be a journalist, but didn’t pursue it. I instead got a job working for a financial firm, met my husband, got married fast, had kids fast, and now here we are!”
- Currently a stay-at-home mom to her little girl, which might be boring if it weren’t so darn busy: “Every minute is crazy! My daughter has a very full social life somehow and she’s not even two yet. But it’s also allowed me to create a new social network for myself through her, and I have met tons of great women in the area.”
- Loves yoga and barre, obviously, and cooking healthy meals for her family: “Basically I work just to fund Whole Foods grocery bills!”
How long have you been practicing yoga, and how did you first get interested in it?
KF: I first started practicing about five years ago when I was a senior in college. One of my roommates had started going to classes at this great little studio in East Lansing about six months prior, and invited me to come to a class with her. My first class there was a heated vinyasa class, and I loved it immediately. I used to dance, so the style of movement didn’t feel totally unfamiliar, yet it was still something brand new for me. I bought the unlimited student package right there on the spot. After I graduated and moved back to Detroit, I found another studio that I loved–there are a lot of great yoga studios in Detroit, so I was really lucky that I didn’t have to leave a great one behind and spend a lot of time searching for a new place.
MH: I first started going to yoga classes in 2010 as I was searching for something I would stick with in terms of fitness. I was an athlete in high school, didn’t pursue it in college, and I just hadn’t been able to find something that I enjoyed and would keep doing. A new yoga studio opened in town, so I went with a friend to check it out and right away, I knew it was a good fit. I thought, “This is attainable, I’m enjoying it, it’s a good workout, and it’s different than anything I’ve done before.” And I stuck with it, which was huge!
What was it about yoga vs. other forms of fitness that really grabbed you?
MH: I was lucky to have a couple of brilliant instructors who could make anyone fall in love with yoga–which I did. It really drew me in for the physical aspect, and then gradually the mental engagement followed. Practicing yoga helped me make that transition from being a college student into becoming a mature adult, and all of the mental and emotional stuff that goes along with that.
KF: I think a lot of people who ultimately get really into yoga say this, but it really is the physical that grabs you first and the mental or spiritual aspect follows. For the first six months, I would leave class feeling great because I had gotten a good sweat in. Then I remember one instructor in particular–his name was Nick–was great at posing these questions during class: “Why are you here? What is it you’re really searching for?” I felt like it was very profound without trying too hard, and it just clicked for me. I haven’t personally found that in any other type of workout–though obviously at B Present, that mindset is a big part of it, which is why I really latched onto it when I found this place. It’s really rare that you find a workout where you get a really physically challenging experience and also engage the mental side.
What made you decide to become a yoga instructor?
KF: I had always kind of thought about it; there are different programs offered all the time, but it’s a lot of money to spend upfront and I didn’t want to do it just for the sake of it. I wanted to make sure I was training with people who would give me more substance beyond “Okay, here’s the basic anatomy of yoga.” The couple who had owned the studio near my house in Detroit eventually sold it and moved to San Diego and launched their own yoga brand out there, but in early 2014 they announced that they’d be returning to Michigan that summer to do an immersion training. For several months up until then I completed my training with them remotely–practice, homework, conference calls. There was another girl in the area also completing the training who owned a studio, so we could go practice flows together there. I just really liked the two of them; I started my yoga practice with them, and it felt right to carry it forward with people I trust and who I knew wouldn’t try to fit me into a mold but rather teach me how to instruct and be authentic doing it.
MH: When I saw that the studio I was attending at the time was offering a teacher training, I actually wanted to do it strictly to further my own practice. I really didn’t have any interest in ever teaching; I just wanted to learn more and get better. There’s not a lot of yoga in this area–there’s more now than there was six years ago, but still not that much–so outside of going to Chicago or going out of town for workshops, I felt like I was at a standstill as far as what I could do. So I thought teacher training might offer that opportunity, and I ended up enjoying it even though I didn’t initially plan on actually teaching classes myself. I taught for a year before my daughter was born, all the way through my pregnancy, and then took a break until this job came along.
Both of you were “barre beauties” at B Present long before you came on board as yoga instructors. How did you first discover the studio, and what were your first impressions?
MH: It was 2011, and I was working my first office job since graduating from college. I was sitting at a desk all day, gaining weight, not super thrilled with how I was feeling and looking. I met a friend for lunch and was telling her that I had started yoga and was really enjoying it, but needed to add some variety to my routine. I asked her if she knew of any really good workouts, and she said, “Well, I know this lady who does barre in her basement!” [laughs]
I went along with my friend to my first class, and even though it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, Tammy made me feel so welcome and just made it easy. I remember to this day that we did “swan arms” in that class, and I was sore for a week. I knew it was the good kind of sore, though–the kind that means things are changing–so I thought, “I’m going to try to stick this out.” I don’t love doing cardio, but I do love what this place is all about. Everything about Tammy and Bryan and their life and authenticity just shines through this place.
KF: Last fall, through a series of weird events, I had to figure out my housing situation on the fly. I was going to be studying abroad second semester, so I needed a six month housing option, and the first place I was going to live fell through. I ended up at University Edge and used this roommate matching service, and they matched me with someone who turned out to be a client here (her name is Rachel–hi Rachel!). We are very similar: we both liked working out and eating healthy, she was a grad student at Saint Mary’s, I was a grad student. As soon as we met, we were like “Oh, you guys actually did a pretty good job!”
When we first met, I asked her if there was anything else to do around here for group fitness aside from the campus rec center, and she was like “OMG, you don’t know about B Present?” [laughs] It was actually about month later before I ended up going to a class because I was just pretty comfortable in my routine, but she was insistent that I really needed to try it.
The way she talked about it–the whole signing up process, the wait lists, she knew who all the instructors were–I was like “What am I walking into?!” My first class was with Kara F., and I remember that with every single move, for the first minute of reps I was thinking “Okay, this is fine.” And then we kept going until I was like “…okay, my leg is going to fall off. This is insane.” I was sore for about three days, so I thought, “Well, I guess I need to keep coming back to this place!” I went through a ten-class pack so fast that I switched to the monthly unlimited package, then did Barre on Demand the whole time I was in London for the spring semester. My roommates thought I was crazy–we lived in this little flat and I would be all spread out with all my gear working out in the kitchen.
Why do you think yoga is a good counterbalance to barre within a fitness regimen?
MH: Personally, I can’t do barre every day. My body just doesn’t like it. I feel at my healthiest when I’m alternating barre and yoga every other day. I know everyone’s not like that and some people thrive on barre ten times a day! But yoga also goes right along with the barre method and philosophy–you have to stretch out to get the long, lean muscles. Plus, with the emphasis on mindset and intention that the studio puts in place, it’s a natural fit. Obviously you’re not going to get the same sweaty, heart-pumping workout in a yoga class that you do in a barre class–but it’s not meant to be the same workout.
What do you think is one common misperception that might keep people from giving yoga a try?
MH: Most of all, I wish that people knew that if you’re not flexible, it means you need to come–not that you have to already be flexible to come! That’s the biggest thing I hear: “Oh, I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.” Well, then you’re really the prime candidate!
Second, there’s a huge range of yoga practice. It can be restorative and really slow, or it can be fast-paced and flowing from pose to pose. Right now we are just doing an all-levels class, trying to meet in the middle and find balance.
KF: I’d echo the flexibility thing! All of my family is finally doing yoga, and my dad was the last to get on board, but he always used to say “I can’t do that, I can’t touch my toes!” And I’d say “Well that’s why you go, so that eventually you can touch your toes!”
I think there’s also a perception with group fitness in general that whatever class you go to, you have to do exactly what the instructor is telling you to do. With yoga–yes, the instructor is telling you how to safely get into positions and helping with form and posture, but it’s meant to be truly geared toward what you need to get out of it. I think that can be hard for newer students to get comfortable with–they’re like, “How am I supposed to know what I need out of it if this is my second class?” But as you continue to practice and build familiarity with it, you can say “I really need to sink into this pose for five more breaths because my hip has been bugging me all day.” I love that about yoga, that you can tailor it to your body rather than relying on what someone else is telling you to do.
Are you ready to say “namaste?” Find one of Kate, Megan, or Kara’s yoga classes on the schedule today, and save your spot by registering in advance through the MINDBODY scheduler or the B Present Studio mobile app (available for iPhone or Android).