#HOTTRIBE BLOG SERIES 6
#HotTribe Blog Post 8 with Jan Gerrity
I wasn’t looking for my new HotTribe blog interviewee….really I wasn’t. I just happened to be scrolling on Facebook one evening and I saw two pictures of a confident woman in upward-facing bow pose. One picture was taken in May of 2015 and one was from May of this year. I could see the physical progression from 2015 to 2016. Although the caption read, “It just takes a little effort,” I saw BIG effort…BIG transformation and I wanted to learn more. I shot Jan a message asking if I could interview her and I was thrilled when she accepted the invitation.
So we met in the lobby at Melt one Thursday evening for a chat. We sat down as two women who loved yoga and walked away as two friends who loved yoga.
Monea: How did you hear about Melt?
Jan: My chiropractor actually recommended it to me. She started doing yoga probably 2 or 3 weeks beforehand and she liked where she was going but she couldn’t fit it in her schedule so she said to me, “Hey, I found this place called Melt Hot Yoga. Why don’t you go with me? I’ll meet you at work and we’ll go!” I was thinking, “I can’t tell her ‘No’ because she’s a family friend.” So I said, “Alright fine, I’ll go with you and we will see what happens.”
And it was fantastic. I just loved it and she kept telling me the whole week beforehand, “You’ve got to go, it will be so good for your back. Try it and just see what you think about it.” And I was like, “Yeah ok….” (laughter).
Monea: So when was that?
Jan: January 20, 2014 so I’ve been here for 2.5 years now.
Monea: Wow! So you remember your first class, right?
Jan: Oh hands down (laughter) because I came in here so scared. My first class was with Molly and I love Molly… but it was a Hot Power Fusion class so I had no idea what to expect. I remember Molly going, “I’ll put your mat down in the room exactly where you need to be,” and she stuck me right up against the window. That was so intimidating… but it was so fantastic. I remember laying in the room thinking, “It’s getting hot in here but it’s not so bad.” I can do this.
Monea: Yes, I know that feeling! So you mentioned you had back problems?
Jan: Yeah I have a lot of trouble with my neck and lower back so my chiropractor encouraged me to give it a shot and it’s done such wonders. It’s so crazy how much yoga can help.
Monea: Wow that’s amazing! So after that first class at Melt, what made you decide to keep coming here?
Jan: The initial thing was that I was shocked at what I was able to accomplish and at the same point I wanted to be able to do some of the stuff that I couldn’t do. And I really did like the heat so I decided I’d come back one more time. I made plans with my friend to come back again and she had to cancel on me so I got here and I was by myself. That was a little nerve-wrecking but, again, it was Molly teaching and it was great! Then, I just feel in love with this place. I don’t think you could come here and not fall in love with this place. It’s great!
Monea: I agree! How has yoga changed your life? Describe what it used to be like, what happened, and what it is like now.
Jan: It’s kinda funny because the number 1 thing that everybody in my family and friends laugh about is that I can probably tell you on one hand the amount of times I drank water before yoga (laughter) and now they all laugh because every time they see me, I’m drinking water. I don’t drink soda at all anymore.
Yoga teaches you just what your body appreciates and it shows you just what not to eat and you don’t even realize it. It just happens overnight. It’s so funny that when you eat something you shouldn’t and then you go in that [yoga] room you know it (laughter).
And yoga has really helped me with being too critical of myself. It’s really helped humble me with the aspect of not every day is going to be perfect and not every day are you going to be able to do what you want to do. You can just do what your body lets you do that day. Every day you show up on your mat. Every day is a different day.
Monea: Right, I like that. So at Melt, we believe, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” What pose has challenged and changed you the most, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
Jan: (Sigh) Standing bow, hands down. And I will never forget in one of my first Bikram classes, Kristen Herman could see my frustration with my balance in standing bow in my face. She looked at me and said, “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.” And I was thinking, “Shut up! I hate this right now!” (lots and lots of laughter).
And then I realized that I need to just breathe through it and just focus and eventually it will just come. I’m already better now than I was before and I know next year will be better yet. It just takes practice.
Monea: Right. If someone was intimated by hot yoga, namely the heat, what would you tell them to encourage them to give it a try?
Jan: I think that everybody, in some form or another, needs to try yoga. My dad is a perfect example. I can’t get him in the room but he had back trouble so I’ve gone online and printed out different poses for him to try at home and he can tell you that his back is so much better.
I tell everybody to at least just try. There’s no need to be intimated. There are people here in their 60s and then there are people here who are 16. No one judges you. You just do that you can do and if you can’t take the heat, sit down on your mat. It will get better. There are days that I still have an issue with the heat. And you just have to breathe through it and eventually you won’t even notice the heat.
Monea: Yes, I agree. It’s an acquired taste, I guess. So what do you like most about being a part of the Melt Hot Yoga community, Jan?
Jan: Well it started out as a community. I walked in and loved how everybody talks to each other, everybody is so welcoming, and everybody is so much fun. Then, one day I realized that its more than that. It’s a family. I have my yoga mom and yoga sister here. I walk in the door and I’m so happy to see everybody. It’s such a family situation that I spent my 30th birthday here doing a silent class. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my 30th birthday than a 90-minute Bikram class. I felt like I was surrounded by my 2nd group of family.
You guys are all great! I don’t know what I would do without you guys some times.