I have always wanted to help people. Any job I’ve ever been in, I try to make a difference and impact peoples’ lives. To fund my education, I joined the military, where they trained me as an operating room technician. I was in the Ohio National Guard Reserve. After eight or nine months, I came home and got a job in the OR. At 18 years old, I was a surgical technician in a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit in Port Clinton, Ohio.
I earned my undergrad degree while I was doing that, then went on to nursing school, then to anesthesia school, which I finished in 2011. I was working as a nurse anesthetist with an anesthesia group that covers Lee Memorial Health System [now Lee Health]. I loved working with people, and the patient contact. Around then, I also took up yoga. I started to have some respiratory issues, so I was no longer able to work in the hospital, with the detergents and harsh chemical cleaning products they use.
I had completed a 200-hour and then a 500-hour yoga teacher-training course at Love Yoga in Naples and began teaching yoga and started transitioning out of nursing.
I never wanted to own a yoga studio, but this is how all my training came into play. In the Army, as a surgical tech, and as a nurse anesthetist, I responded to trauma. You have to be open to what comes through the door and be able to adapt and adjust to it. The studio became available, and I saw that this was the best way I could be of service.
The most important thing in being a nurse anesthetist is being able to create trust with the patient within a few minutes. Sometimes I would have two minutes to make a connection and gain the person’s trust. And that transfers over to teaching yoga pretty significantly. I still need to be able to read people and make them feel relaxed and earn that trust so I can lead them through their practice. I feel like with teaching yoga I am giving back more and at a deeper level than I ever was in all my years in health care.