Instructor Spotlight: Andrea Wong
When Andrea Wong was trying to discover a vocation that felt like a perfect fit, she ended up finding passion for yoga. Andrea says it was all about knowing her strengths and finding the environment that fits who she is, rather than the other way around. Instead of immersing herself in a career that seemed right on paper but wasn’t truly fulfilling, Andrea explored how she could turn her love of fitness into a job.
How teaching yoga became part of her life
As a lifelong athlete, Andrea has consistently pushed herself to exceed expectations.
“I have always loved working out, from middle school on. I love the physical endurance and the mental endurance it takes. I’d make myself workouts and spend time by myself, pushing myself. The mental endurance would help me push through to make a new connection with my body.”
After going to college at Syracuse, Andrea was a hospitality intern at Disney World in Orlando. That’s where she realized her penchant for customer-focused roles and the joy of turning someone’s bad day around. She said it was a 180-degree pivot from the path she thought she was on as she discovered a new side of her personality. Eventually, she went to the other side of the world to learn more about herself.
“I traveled around Australia, New Zealand, Bali and Fiji looking for what I really wanted to do. By the end, I cared more about providing an experience and impacting people’s lives. I wanted to add value -- quantitatively -- to peoples’ lives,” Andrea said.
This desire translated into teaching yoga, and Andrea eventually fell in love with GYROTONIC®, which she describes as a similar practice to pilates in that builds strength and flexibility, except the movements are much different, which also changes the intention and beneficial effects one gains from this exercise. The circular, spiraling movements that characterize GYROTONIC® exercises help to increase the functional capacity of the spine, contributing to a spherical and three-dimensional awareness, resulting in total equilibrium. This exercise methodology stretches and strengthens muscles, while simultaneously stimulating and stretching connective tissue in and around the joints of the body. To build on endurance you can add resistance or weight, as well. It’s about looking at your body as a whole, which gave her a newfound curiosity with anatomy.
“I don’t have a physical therapy degree but my huge curiosity in anatomy helps me use yoga as my tool to change people’s lives, educate them and positive influence them. When you help someone’s body, they carry themselves differently.”
What’s her favorite yoga class to teach?
“I like different classes for different reasons, but I’d say yin and all levels. I like the extremity of each. They’re polar opposites with different intensities. All levels is motivating and uplifting, but it also helps people connect with their body.
The way I teach Yin involves more movement than lying flat on your back and letting it all melt and drip off. It’s all about allowing your body to talk to you. Where are you holding onto tension in your body? What can you let go of? What don’t you need? When you’re in Yin poses for 3-7 minutes, your body and your mind evolve.”
What else motivates Andrea?
“Getting into yoga made me think about what being a teacher is. We’re all teachers and being a teacher is so important. I always want to hear other people are feeling and help give people a new perspective on how they approach life and handle problems. There’s always a modification in yoga and finding where that solution is involves critical thinking,” she said.
“Teaching yoga challenges my thinking, motivates me to find ways to be a better teacher, lets me learn where my faults are and think about how I would have wanted someone to help me in this same situation.”
You can get to know Andrea at our Merrimack yoga studio. Sign-up for one of her yoga classes in Merrimack, NH, today!