In February of 2009, my life changed in an instant when I decided to end my marriage as a result of betrayal. For the months that followed, I kept up my usual routine of an active lifestyle by teaching cycling and group fitness classes part-time. Hoping that I had made the right decision, I tried to face each day with dignity on the outside; however, on the inside, my sense of empowerment and self-confidence was crumbling. In December of that year, I met Stacey Lei Krauss through another training and she mentioned her signature class, willpower & grace®. She spoke about his class with such passion and affection that I could not help but be intrigued by this hard-to-describe barefoot, sweaty, cardio, pilates-infused, mind-body class. A few weeks later, Stacey Lei invited me and my colleagues to attend her master class at a nearby professional conference. On that hotel ballroom carpet, I skeptically lifted my big toes and pinky toes up and down and wondered what on God’s earth was this class?
After the sweaty 90 minutes were over, I had this euphoric and empowered feeling I had not felt in months, and maybe even in years. Something about the willPower & grace® class spoke to my wounded heart and perhaps, this was what I needed to lift myself out of the fog that I had been in for months following my divorce. Thanks to my boss, our studio held a Phase I training for willPower & grace® within weeks of taking the master class and our staff was our way to becoming certified instructors. Within a few short months, one of my colleagues was teaching a class on Saturday mornings and every week, I attended that class to not only learn the choreography to teach my own classes someday, but also I loved the way it made me feel. By focusing on strong precise movements, I was forced to think about my physical body in a purposeful way. By focusing a word of the week each class and letting it permeate my actions and thoughts, I was forced to contemplate my self-awareness and my self-belief on a deeper level. Consequently, I began to connect with myself in a way I had been avoiding for months.
In the months that followed my breakup, I had been in therapy, I had been working out, I had spent many hours talking to my family and friends, but nothing made me truly push through until I found willpower & grace®. The vulnerability and the rawness that came from the physical challenge and the emotional energy of class stripped away the facade I had shown to the world that I was “okay and moving on” and here I was, a girl that was indeed, scared, riddled with self-doubt, and alone for the first time in years. Ultimately, what propelled me back to authenticity was an epiphany that no therapist, no amount of mindless sweat, no friend or family member could do it for me—all I had was me, my soul, my body, my purpose, and my movement.
To this day, when I teach or take a willPower & grace® or infusion® class, there are a few moves that remind me how far I have come, particularly, the squat with rotation. Sometimes when I pick up my “gift,” behind my foot, I pick up my past. I grab ahold of it, I honor it by placing it over my heart and I find gratitude in how it transformed my life. Then, with all of my power, inside and out, I set it free over my shoulder, releasing it. Then, I find my eyes in the mirror to see that all I need is in front of me: myself.