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Evelyn Spangler

I graduated from Emporia State University in 2008 and went right to graduate school at Washburn University for clinical psychology. It was not long before I realized that path was not for me. I worked at TARC aiding families with disabilities for four years prior to graduate school. I went on to be a nurse at Cotton O’Neil Clinic for 3 years. You can probably see that my path has always been directed towards health, both physical and mental.

I’ve always loved working out, so when I heard about the new heated yoga studio, Lava Yoga, I went in and signed up.  Though I had been practicing yoga off and on for years, I never stuck to it as well as I did at Lava Yoga. The more I practiced, the more I learned that yoga was that “right path” for me.   I jumped at the chance to get my 200 hour through a certification Lava Yoga was offering. I soon found that instructing yoga was an incredible way to help people both physically and mentally. 

Helping people discover how strong they are is what keeps me motivated. When I teach a class my number one priority is safety. Alignment of the body is so important in everything we do, on and off the mat. How and why I am sequencing a class is EVERYTHING. 

 Corporate yoga is a niche that I did not see myself getting so involved with. However, after I started teaching at a couple of corporations I realized, these people are here to do what they can. They are not worried about yoga stereotypes. It is incredibly rewarding to be part of something that allows you to both connect with people and make a difference in their lives.   Due to the repetitive nature of many people’s jobs, corporate yogis have their work cut out for them on the mat. A large percentage of the business people we work with have pain or weakness issues with their hands or wrists from being on the computer a lot. We have found that, similar to private yoga sessions, corporations benefit from personalized classes that are formatted around their specific needs. Furthermore we find that the convenience of yoga coming to the company, helps people stick with a practice and reach their goals more consistently. 

One of the things I excelled at in my pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in psychology and even while I was working on my master’s degree in clinical psychology is research.  I found that I added value to evaluations and medical issues because of my persistent need to research and understand how things work physically and mentally. I was able to transfer that skill directly into my new profession.  I use that skill every day to re-work sequences and research chronic pain issues to help my clients. My research shows that there is evidence that suggests even one yoga class a week can create noticeable changes in an employee.   Employees soon experience better stress management, think more outside the box, have better communication amongst co-workers, a noted rise in confidence, and overall are more productive in the workplace. Being part of that type of change in every company we work with is exciting!

Because yoga is so easy to integrate into a company’s wellness program, most companies will see immediate rewards with very little outlay.  We provide all the equipment, mats, blocks, etc, and are willing to teach in any available room. Once employees begin to notice changes in their strength, their flexibility, and their energy level,  maintaining a consistent health routine becomes easier to stick to.

I love every day of my work and hope that soon I can….

See you on the mat :)

Mary Boland

I didn’t have a yoga calling.  Really, I never saw myself as a yoga instructor.  Actually, I am corporate...35 years corporate. I love my company and for the most part, enjoy the challenges of my job.  But most of all, I love the people I work with. When you work with people over 30 years, you care about them. You care about their families, their kids, their grandkids and yes, even their health.

I started practicing yoga with my daughter because it was something she wanted to do.  In an effort to find ways to fit into her life as she became an adult and a mother herself, I practiced with her whenever she asked.  We heard about a Lava Yoga opening here in Topeka so we jumped right in. Seven years later, we still practice there. During that time, I learned something about myself.  I learned that yoga was more than just a way to keep fit, it was a way for me to deal with the stressors and the physical issues caused by repetitive actions and extended desk time at my company.

While practicing at Lava Yoga we were fortunate enough to participate in yoga teacher training.  I decided to participate to learn more about safe yoga practice. My daughter excelled and expressed an immediate interest in going further with her yoga teaching.  I wasn’t so sure about teaching but enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about how yoga impacts the entire body and mind.

As we progressed through our certification, I started to see ways I could help the people I worked with.  I began to think about how yoga could help this friend and that friend with their physical issues. At some point, I decided that I would find a way to share my practice with my friends at work.  Within a few months, the corporate practice took off. People came, practiced and they too started seeing the benefits in their own bodies and their lives. The practice caught fire and soon we were seeing the benefits company wide.  Eventually, our company built a studio for our practice and the classes were more than I could handle while doing my regular work. Our company hired my daughter to help with the class load.

At some point, I realized that this type of practice could help people with the physical problems they had developed from repetitive actions required by their jobs.  That is when I decided to work on an additional certification. I asked my daughter if she would be interested in going through a 500-hour certification in yoga therapy.  She jumped at the chance.

As we worked through that certification, we both soon learned that you really can’t change a person’s physical work environment.  There are some things that people have to do in order to do their job, and there is no way to materially change how they do it. What we learned is, while you can’t change a person’s work environment, you can help them counter the effects of those repetitive actions with yoga therapy.  Our business expanded to other larger corporations and those companies also saw benefit from bringing this type of practice into their wellness programs.

So here I am today…still corporate, but loving how yoga helps with the physical issues caused by extensive desk time, loving how yoga helps with the work environment, loving how people began to bond and to work better together after having practiced together.

….and really, the greatest benefit of all…. I get to work side-by-side with my daughter.

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