Hello! I am Monica and here is my YOGA story...
In 1995, I took my first Yoga class at World Gym. I loved it right away and continued taking classes with dedication. I fell into teaching Yoga in 1997 by total default. As a Personal Trainer, I was asked to learn to teach Group Fitness classes in order to occasionally fill in for teachers. Having a dance background, teaching aerobics came pretty naturally. I was asked to teach the Yoga class one day only because the teacher was a no-show. Yoga was still in the up-and-coming stages in the fitness industry, and there were very few competent teachers. I was very intimidated and remember saying, “Well, I’m not a real Yoga teacher but I can figure out how to give them a good stretch class – even if I don’t know all the names of the poses.” I totally winged it! I felt right at home teaching Yoga and after subbing over the next few months, I realized that this may be my niche. I was offered my first full time teaching job in 1999 at Lady of America.
Over the years, I taught myself by reading and watching videos of the top teachers. I took every workshop I possibly could! Teachers such as Shiva Rea, Bryan Kest, Baron Baptiste, and David Swenson were my inspirations. My love of Yoga, fitness, and athletics evolved over the course of the next four years and there was no other place to go except back to college.
In 2004, I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion at Florida Atlantic University. The degree gave me the confidence to expand and progress. When I began teaching in studios, I discovered a whole new perspective. My first Yoga studio job was at Something Yoga, Boca Raton. Working with Patsy Finger (sister-in-law of Alan Finger, ISHTA Yoga) and Tracy Chamoun was a blessing I didn’t see coming. I was not consciously seeking it, but they became my spiritual teachers and provided my missing link. I learned from them about Chakras, restorative approaches to Yoga, meditation, and the subtle energy work that is truly the base for the Asanas. I began to truly understand the deeper possibilities that Yoga had to offer.
In 2006 and 2008 Jonny Kest blessed me with the opportunity to teach at the Yoga conference “Art of Vinyasa“ in Miami. I had always wanted to experience that type of teaching venue. It was an amazing experience and one for which I am very grateful. The following months brought about tremendous earthquakes in my personal life. I stopped teaching, but re-emerged in 2009 with the intention of opening a studio and starting the American Yoga 200 Teachers Training Program, which you can research in detail on our Teacher’s Training Page.
We look forward to making YOU part of our AY family! We welcome all adults, all sizes, and abilities. Do what you can, in each class, with yourself and for yourself.
Monica Schmidt Kniskern
~BS in Exercise Science
& E-RYT 500
All my life has been
an act of revision."