Team Member of the Month: Michael Edwards
Please join us in celebrating our Team Member of the Month: Michael Edwards! Most of you have taken one of Michael’s powerful yoga classes – or perhaps practiced with him. We are grateful to have Michael’s strong, supportive and friendly presence in the studio – and honored to have him on our team.
To get to know him a little better, we asked Michael to share a bit about himself and his yoga journey…
1. Tell me about your experience with yoga: how it began, where it has taken you, and how yoga has impacted your life.
I was first exposed to yoga at six years of age. I was at the YMCA [in Asheville] and in the sauna was a guy sitting in lotus pose doing something weird with his stomach. He was pulling in the sides and just leaving a ridge of muscle down the center. I knew he was doing yoga and I was fascinated. I was determined that I was going to be able to do that one day (still a work in progress…).
For many years, I read books and tried to practice on my own, but it wasn’t until a friend opened the Effective Living Center in Waynesville in 1995 that I was able to receive formal instruction. My first teacher was Kripalu-trained and emphasized alignment and very long holds. I immediately fell in love with the practice and with the physical and mental changes it initiated in me.
For the first 12-14 years of my practice, I focused on getting stronger and more flexible (and maybe a little more peaceful), but then Candra Smith changed all of that when she showed me that yoga is a way to live life. I now do yoga in an attempt to remind myself that every moment is a precious resource and that my responsibility is to honor each one in a sincere attempt to make the world better in the only way I can: By changing my heart to align with the loving intentions expressed in the Yamas and by living as if my own happiness and well-being depended directly on the happiness and well-being of everyone else.
Yoga is a huge part of my life and a big portion of what makes me uniquely me. I am incredibly grateful to all of my teachers and fellow practitioners for their help on this journey.
2. What are your favorite styles / classes?
I love hot/warm flow classes with an element of challenge to them. I always try to maintain a slow steady breath throughout my class, but I’m a little disappointed if I don’t lose it at least once! 🙂
3. What’s your favorite pose and why?
I love inversions of all types – especially handstand. I love the challenge; I love the rush of fresh blood to my head and I love looking at the world from a totally different point of view.
4. What do you do when you’re not practicing yoga?
As my vocation I work as a purchasing analyst for a medical kit packer; I’ve been doing that for about 24 years. It’s nothing I ever thought I would do as a career, but it’s complex enough to be challenging. I love to read, cook, listen to music and play role-playing games (my current addiction is Dungeons and Dragons Online).
However, my most important responsibility and the source of my greatest joy is to be the very best husband I can to my sweet and lovely wife Kimberley and to be the cool grandpa to Piper and Heidi.
5. Tell me something funny or unexpected about you.
The first time I saw female fireflies I thought they were fairies. The male fireflies are the ones we are all familiar with. They’re greenish yellow, bright and they blink on and off as they make their wandering way from the ground to a high point on a branch etc. Their pattern of blinking identifies them to the females of the same species.
Females however, are a very faint blue. You can only see them if it’s very dark; even the smallest bit of light renders them invisible. The first time I saw them was at Coleman’s Boundary on a moonless night under a thick canopy of trees.
They don’t blink and they fly directly from the ground to their chosen male. When I saw this I had a moment where I believed they really could be fairies, but soon figured out what they were. I still believe there something magical about them though…
If you haven’t yet taken a class from Michael, click here to find his current schedule…