Mid-January Teacher Feature: Stephanie Kirkpatrick

Posted By Sarah on Jan 15, 2018 in O2 Yoga Blog |

Teaching at O2 Since: 2017

Stephanie’s Current Teaching Schedule:
5:30pm Sundays – Basics (while Tina is away)
12:30pm Wednesdays – Basics

Stephanie got her yoga-start over a decade ago when a high school friend’s parents took her to a Bikram class.  “I went every week.  I remember always struggStephanie Handstandling in the standing balances, and then one day just being in this space where I wasn’t falling all over the place.  I was just so still, concentrating on my breath.  I didn’t even realize I was balancing on one foot!  The teacher praised me which broke my concentration and I fell over.  I loved that feeling of concentration, stillness, breath, and movement working together,” she recalled.  Stephanie appreciated how her yoga practice helped her out in times of stress or outside-world struggle.  “My mat was always there, telling me it was going to be OK,” she said.

About three years ago is when Stephanie found her way to O2 after a friend encouraged her to give the studio a try and take advantage of the $31 for 31 Days Challenge that January.  “At the end of the thirty-one days, I knew I wanted to spend more time here.  I applied to work in the cafe, only part-time at first.  Now I run the cafe and teach yoga here — what a dream come true,” Stephanie said.

Working at VO2 Vegan Cafe is actually what prompted her to take the leap and do Mimi’s 200-Hour Teacher Training program.  “In Fall 2015, I fed all the teachers-in-training whenever they had a break.  I would ask everyone about different poses and sequences and what they were learning.  I just wanted to know as much as I could.  This is when I realized I should do the training myself.  At first I didn’t know if I’d teach or not, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to guide others,” Stephanie said.  She enrolled for TT 2016 and started teaching Karma classes24313208_1662601660456547_5914937320614305838_o at the start of 2017.

When she’s not teaching, she’s still managing VO2.  “It’s an incredible small, open kitchen that makes so many wonderful food items from scratch…and all vegan!  My team is made up of really funny, kind, hard-working individuals.  Without them, my job would be impossible.  I am thankful every day for my team’s support and dedication to provide the best possible food and service as VO2 becomes more and more popular.  Mimi’s leadership and compassion has helped me grow as a manager — and grow as a human.  I am so proud to run the only all-vegan cafe in Cambridge and to help Mimi’s vision of VO2 be successful.  I seriously have the best job,” Stephanie said.  Come see what’s she’s talking about and enjoy a fabulous meal at our delectable cafe located in the entry level of our Cambridge studio (1001 Mass. Ave).  VO2 is open daily from 8am-6pm — check out their menu ahead of time here.

And definitely join Stephanie for class soon!  Her classes are very thoughtful and so much fun — you will be so happy you decided to roll out your mat and get your yoga on.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?

“Oh my. So many things, in yoga, in the kitchen, in life…I suppose the most important lesson is really very simple: Be kind. If someone makes a mistake, disappoints you, or hurts you, there is no reason to be mean and make them feel dumb. It’s super easy to get mad or defensive or raise you voice & demand things, or to be frustrated when someone doesn’t understand something that seems so obvious to you. Teaching, asking, and forgiving can be harder to remember to do in the short term, but in the long run feels so much better for everyone involved. I’ve made a million mistakes, both big and small, while working with Mimi. She teaches me how to fix the mistake, move forward, and avoid doing it again. I feel so empowered by that – like I really am getting stronger and smarter with each mistake. I know this can’t be true, but I sometimes feel like she has an endless amount of forgiveness & patience. I try to emulate that while working with my own team or teaching a yoga class. I think more critically about my impact on others, including people and animals I may never meet. I have started to realize each individual can have an effect on this world. That perspective has shifted my whole lifestyle. Most importantly, I am much more kind to myself. I still have so much more to learn, and still have lots of ups and downs, but being kind along the way makes the journey an adventure.”

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching?

“Meet the student where they are working today. Sometimes students are not ready to learn something, maybe they are injured, or maybe their mind wants more than their body is willing (or visa versa!).  When I teach I find it really important to push students to try something new or uncomfortable or a pose that uses a lot of core/strength building. At the same time, slowing students down to focus on the alignment, their breath, and be proud of everything their body can do today and to honor that without pushing past their limits. Some of my students are more advanced while this might be the first yoga class for others. Anytime I adjust or cue a student I want to meet that individual with where they are working right now. It’s always one step at a time, one breath at a time.”

What’s your favorite pose to do?

“I don’t have a favorite pose, but my favorite movement is to do the sun salutation. It engages your core, builds upper body strength, resets the body, and reconnects me with my bandhas and my breath.”

What’s your “dream pose”?

“Jumping back which makes the vinyasa movement so much more efficient, and fun! I want to be able to one day just float slowly from my forward fold to my chaturanga, all in one controlled exhale.”

Read more about all of our fabulous teachers here.