Teacher Feature - Heather Thamer
When I began taking yoga 20 years ago, I remember one of my teachers saying, “There are many layers to practicing yoga. You can delve as deep as you want to, there is always more to learn.” At the time I had no idea what she meant by this.
I was taking yoga classes that were mostly physical practice in nature, with little meditation. I was a full time special educator involved in various volunteer projects in my spare time and thought that always being busy and having the mind occupied was a good thing, indicative of a “full” life.
After having my kids and stepping away from teaching to raise them, I began to practice yoga on a more regular basis. I was attracted to this practice that could be calming, inspiring and could help me bring balance to a busy life. I found I was happier, more relaxed and enjoyed life more. And my family could see that I was a calmer, more patient and more fun mom!
After continuing like this for a few years, I wanted to learn to be a yoga teacher, wanted to learn more about how yoga can heal, strengthen and provide peace within busy lives. I had been a teacher for people with developmental disabilities in various capacities for years, working as a job coach, a special education teacher, involved with The Arc and active with Special Olympics. By stepping down a new path as a yoga teacher, I could merge my passion for teaching with my love for yoga.
I completed my 200 RYT training and began teaching classes but still wanted to learn more. People were coming to my classes who had special conditions, were affected by illness, and some who were recovering from injury. I wanted to learn how yoga could help them.
I pursued a 500 RYT training through Golden Heart Yoga in Annapolis, training with Jenny Otto and Lynn Matthews. The training had a therapeutic focus and I found the information and techniques from that training extremely valuable in working with students in a broad range of classes. Since completing my training with Lynn and Jenny in 2009, I have continued to take classes and workshops which have a therapeutic and restorative focus. Last year I became a certified cancer exercise specialist and actively continue to research methods which support and optimize the body’s energy systems when affected by illness.
Over the years I’ve learned valuable information from many teachers such as Rod Stryker, Doug Keller, Roger Cole and enjoy following the mindfulness teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn.
I currently teach a wide range of classes and have worked with young athletes, dancers, individuals with chronic conditions and those living with chronic illness. My current classes include private classes for HCPSS, HCGH and classes through the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Center at HCGH.
Yoga has enriched my life in ways I never expected and has connected me with extraordinary people over the years. I am deeply grateful for the experience of working with others in this capacity and helping others to support their wellbeing. I love teaching and taking classes at the Yoga Center, a loving, supportive community of wonderful teachers, staff and students. I continue to delve deeper into yoga as my teacher once alluded to, exploring the many gifts it has to offer and I aspire to help my students do the same.
I teach a gentle class at the Yoga Center on Mondays at 1 p.m. and a Yoga 1-2 class on Thursday mornings. You can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.