…and before I knew it, I was setting up a time to meet her in person to finalize the paperwork for my membership. Wait…maybe I should back up just a tidge.
It was the spring of 2014; I had hit a wall, both physically and mentally. Longs hours of financial work at the university during the day followed by a kickboxing class or a session of crossfit in the evening had started to become pedestrian. I mean, how many times can you really strike a kickboxing bag before it loses its pizzazz? The answer, as it happens, is 1,372…I counted.
I stumbled across M•Power’s information by chance when reading through the neighborhood Facebook page. Somewhere between posts about lost cats, bad parking and stolen Amazon packages, someone had mentioned a new yoga studio opening in the area. I was immediately intrigued.
I’d been practicing yoga on and off (mostly off, if I’m being honest) for the better part of a decade. I’d go strong for a few weeks and then slowly but surely my mat would re-find its cozy home in the deep recesses of my basement. Somehow, this time felt different. This time, it was for realz. I called that same day during my lunch break to sign up for a membership. “Thank you for calling M•Power, this is Michelle.” The conversation was short but reassuring. Michelle was welcoming and exuded warmth just through her voice and before I knew it, I was setting up a time to meet her in person to finalize the paperwork for my membership. It wouldn’t be until much later that I would learn I had just become MPower’s very first member.
I found time to practice in the studio nearly every day for the rest of the year. I had located my home away from home.
The temperatures dropped and the seasons changed. One day while signing up for a class, I saw a posting at the front desk. In just a few months, M•Power would be launching its very first yoga teacher training. I didn’t pay it much attention initially. Becoming a yoga instructor had never been something I’d considered as a possibility…not for people like me, at any rate. A male person of color moving through life in a larger body? I was not what you saw on magazine covers doing fancy poses. I went on with the rest of my day. Later that week, the idea of signing up for training kept popping up in my mind. Something was pushing me to just go for it and weeks later, I did exactly that. I signed up for yoga teacher training with really no clue what I wanted out of it or how it might affect my life (if at all) but I was certain, at the time, that I wouldn’t go into teaching. I’ve always considered myself rather reserved and avoided having to speak in front of groups of people like the plague. The idea of getting in front of classes full of people regularly, on purpose, by choice was so far out of the bounds of my comfort zone at the time that I knew it would never be something I’d do.
And then training happened.
I could write an entire book just on the emotional and physical rollercoaster that was my yoga teacher training (and I just might) but needless to say, it changed my life. Through my training I found my voice, I found my courage, I found…Me. By the time graduation rolled around I evolved from “you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming to go teach a class” to “when can I start?!” La vie est drôle.
Fast forward several years and thousands of classes later, and I’m now preparing to co-lead a yoga teacher training at M•Power myself for the first time. I can feel similar emotions already starting to pop up now that I felt back then, even as we’re months away from the initial session. Anxious? Check. Stressing? You bet. Excited to get started. Absolutely! I’m eager to continue the endless cycle that is the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student and student to teacher. Even as I step into my role of mentor, I remain an eternal student.
The M•Power community has grown to become one of the most passionate and welcoming in Baltimore and I’m overjoyed that I’ve been along for the ridesince (before the beginning. Five years going strong.
Though the seeds of its foundation were planted years ago, the flowers of M•Power have just begun to bloom.
Jermain Keene has been teaching at M.Power since 2015. You can find him teaching our signature M2 Heated Yoga class on Sunday’s at 9am and Monday’s at 6:30pm.
He will also be leading a member’s only VIP Rooftop Yoga practice to commemorate our 5 year anniversary on Saturday October 12th. If you are a member this is completely FREE to you, and we have a limited amount of tickets available for you to bring friends and family.
Join M.Power and Jermain to celebrate 5 amazing years! Click here to reserve your spot today.