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Meet Andi Fitzgerald of Yoga with Andi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andi Fitzgerald.

Andi, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I moved to Denton, Texas in 2012 after graduating from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. I kind of fell into a corporate office job out of necessity. I started as an insurance adjuster and then promoted to a compliance and quality assurance auditor, auditing workers compensation files. Then, in the Fall of 2017, I was laid off. I was at a complete loss with what to do in life. I wasn’t able to find a career in my field of study from college, and I was never in love with my office job of five years, honestly feeling miserable for most of my career there.

So, one day I wandered into a yoga studio, Pure Synergy Wellness, and Movement, and I started taking yoga classes. I had taken yoga classes before at various studios and gyms over the years, but I found Pure Synergy to be completely welcoming and it felt like a second home right away. I decided to go through Yoga Teacher Training there. I started out in training thinking I would complete it for myself, perhaps gain some confidence to find a new career path. I wasn’t sure yet if that career would be yoga, but I realized early on that I had found the path I needed to be on.

I found the training through Purple Lotus at Pure Synergy to be inclusive of all body types, big, small, young, old. It really taught me that yoga is for everyone and there are a lot of communities out there who truly could benefit from it. My B.S degree is in Human Development with a focus on gerontology. It’s cheesy, but it was almost like all of the stars aligned and presented me with exactly what I needed to do. I’ve been teaching Chair Yoga and gentle, slower yoga classes, ever since.

I mostly teach the older population or those looking for a gentler, slower yoga class. Once I completed my Yoga Teacher Training RYT-200 at Pure Synergy through Purple Lotus, I moved on to a Chair Yoga certification and a Gentle yoga certification through Yoga Vista Academy.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think the biggest struggle for me has been overcoming the fear of the unknown. Going from office work to yoga teacher is a pretty big jump. It’s been a huge career change. It certainly isn’t a nine-five gig. And then marketing yourself, social media, and getting yourself out there, showing people how chair yoga can help them in their lives or their day at the office, it’s a lot of work.

Whenever I have a student in class or a student I’ve been teaching in private classes get excited that they can get their knees up a little higher than they used to or reaching down to pick up something they dropped becomes easier, I know I’m on the right path regardless of the challenges.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I’m an independent registered yoga teacher -200 specializing in chair yoga and gentle yoga, “Yoga with Andi.” I mostly teach the older population or those looking for a gentle, slower yoga class. I have students in my classes who are recovering from injuries, struggle with arthritis, use assistance when walking, have autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, diabetes, or have bigger bodies and find a chair more comfortable or accessible for yoga poses.

Just last week, I had a 102-year-old man in my class at an assisted living facility! I mostly teach at yoga studios, assisted living facilities, and private classes. I think my background in gerontology and working with the older population helps me to understand the struggles associated with aging. I strongly feel bringing chair yoga to the senior community is especially important. Inactivity becomes a vicious cycle as we age.

Chair yoga can be modified to suit a wide variety of physical conditions, making it an excellent exercise for those with limited mobility. I also work with people who are mostly sitting all day at a desk. I think working in an office for five years, sitting in a cubical for 8-9 hours a day, and commuting for 1-2 hours every day gives me a little insight into what it can feel like to have a more sedentary lifestyle. It can cause all kinds of physical issues.

Yoga can be so beneficial to people who sit a lot, whether that’s in an office or due to lack of mobility. I think, however, sometimes people get a misconception about what they think yoga is. They think you’re going into a class expected to get into intricate poses and it’s going to be painful, and they won’t be flexible enough, and that causes people to not even consider it.

I think I’ve made my brand or what I’m known for as a yoga instructor focused on yoga being for every single body type and that’s what sets me apart. There is a need for safe spaces for people who maybe don’t fit into what was once considered a traditional body type for yoga. You don’t have to be skinny to do yoga. You don’t have to be young to do yoga. You don’t have to be feeling the best you’ve ever felt physically and mentally to do yoga. If you can breathe, you can do yoga.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think the DFW area is a great place for yoga instructors. I’ve seen more yoga studios popping up and more that are embracing the use of props and making yoga accessible to all body types. I think this area, in general, is somewhat new to yoga and all the different kinds of yoga. It’s really neat to see people discovering yoga who maybe would have never even considered it in the past.

I hear people say that their doctors recommended them to try it out. I don’t think that is something we would have heard not too long ago. For someone just starting out with teaching, I would say embrace a “yoga is for everyone” approach. More and more people with all kinds of different body types, ages, and challenges are coming to yoga now, and teachers need to be prepared to encourage them and give them a space in class as well.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jessica Bishop

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