Stranger 9, Day 9 – Meet Andrea, the “Yogi Teacher for Children”

Stranger 9, Day 9 - Meet Andrea

Surprised that even in my short time meeting Strangers so far, this connection was my first one at my yoga studio. I wouldn’t be surprised if many more of my Strangers are yogis from Infinity Yoga. The culture bred at the studio is one of great community and open relationships.

Today’s particular Stranger embodies the very spirit this project. She had great energy and an interest to connect. So…

Meet Andrea, 28

Who are you?

“I’m Andrea the daycare teacher and yoga teacher.”

She’s thinking now and laughing, remarking, “tough question, but should be… so many versions of me.” This point about versions is scattered throughout our talk, but before moving onto our next question, she describes two versions: “enjoying life version of Andrea… dainty and prissy version of Andrea.”

Her laughter bubbles up again.

What are your passions? Dreams?

“My dream… I want to do yoga therapy at children’s hospitals.”

She further adds how her passion is all about helping kids, describing this as her “basis of entire life”.

As she describes her love for helping and working with kids, I can feel her passion. The way she lights up talking about children. Her arms wave and she emphasizes the impact. She maintains a big grin while going on about her love of helping.

Andrea takes a moment to share that she has had this passion for helping kids since she was even young at daycare. She would also shuffle kids around and help her peers. And through her experience with yoga growing up, she’s realized its power and effect that can be made on adolescents.

What is your biggest regret?

Without much hesitation, Andrea points out, “engaged after high school instead of dancing and singing on the Disney Cruise Line!”

Looking back at this now, she realizes how short-term the relationship was (less than a year), but in the moment, she felt certain deference for her then-fiance. She recalled he “didn’t let me go.”

Thinking back at the chance, though, she fantasizes about it for a split-second saying it “would’ve been so dope!”

What is a Life Lesson you’d like to share?

“Independence is beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… I thought I need others to be happy.”

Perhaps because I led this question with the regret piece, this was the lesson. However, I got a sense that this was very much a principle of her life now – to be wholly happy with herself and not need the influence of others.

If you could do ANYTHING in the world right now, nothing holding you back, what would that be?

“Travel and help children everywhere… feed children… build houses… provide them with things.”

“… stay-at-home version, I would have all the money in the world, and adopt all the babies.” She glows as she shares this little fantasy. It’s apparent how much children mean to her and being able to provide children everywhere with love and attention.

Did you have a Life-Defining Moment? If so, what was it?

“Yes, kind of as a child – could’ve died seven million times.”

Andrea continues realizing “this journey… this is why I am here.”

She shares with me how she was very sick as a child and was consistently in the hospital including a 5-week stay in ICU when she was 5-years-old. She tells me she remembers the entire experience including her mom having spent a lot of time with her in the hospital.

She also recalls one particular moment when all the other children in the ICU came together… it was one of those moments of community and connection. It’s this very memory that Andrea wishes to recreate more often – for the children in the hospital, but also with their families.

“I wish there was yoga for my mom and me,” she shares.

So since this moment, she’s been striving to help more kids. She received her certification to be a teacher. Then, she received her certification to be a personal trainer. Each certification brought her into a new career path, but having spent time doing both, she abruptly exclaims, “f*** all that.” However, she also realized that both of those certifications “fueled my yoga certification”. She was able to leverage the experience and certifications of both teacher and trainer into a strong foundation and platform to which to build a career as a yoga teacher.

(She just completed and passed her yoga teacher certification course at Infinity just weeks ago.)

What is your purpose in life? What is your negative imprint? (Thanks to Steve, Stranger 8.)

“Purpose is to help kids learn yoga to help them cope, and learn how to cope to take with them in their lives.” She stresses the importance of teaching children on the how piece.

On the negative imprint, she immediately says, “diffusing being ‘nasty’”. She shares how she can have an “attitude for days” and how she can sometimes be “not as accepting of other people… judging.”

She realizes, too, that working on her negative imprint is a constant practice – “working at it everyday”, and she uses her learnings from yoga.

What question would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“What are you doing today to make the world better?”

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