Nick has a deep understanding of how yoga can heal, as he battled mental health issues and degenerative disc disease, causing turmoil in his life and severe pain in his body. Nick found solace on his mat and knew he had to share his experience, in the same way he shares his nursing skills with his patients. He decided in early 2017 that he wanted to combine his experience with western medicine and eastern healing and philosophy and founded M3Yoga.
Nick hails from the DC metro area where he has lived most of his life. He is a Registered Nurse and began his career at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD working in the Cardiovascular ICU, taking care of postoperative patients after heart surgery. He later transitioned into emergency medicine, surgery, and substance abuse treatment.
He has a passion for anatomy and physiology and has studied under the top medical professionals in the world at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He believes having a detailed understanding of the physical body and how it operates at a cellular level enhances your ability to practice and instruct yoga.
Nick has been practicing yoga for nearly seven years and completed his 200hr teacher training at Rubber Soul in Athens, GA. Nick teaches and has trained in a variety of styles of yoga and is currently pursuing his 500hr certification through Asheville Yoga Center.
He is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT, which shows that he has demonstrated enough skill level to be considered an “expert”. This certification level enables him to train and teach other instructors.
Nick is also a Certified Rocket Yoga Instructor after completing his 60hr training with Amber Gean Espelage in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2017. Ask him about his passion for Rocket Yoga and the Larry Schultz philosophy.
Where are you from? Washington DC and all around DC
How long have you lived in Athens? 5 years
What’s your passion? To help people in whatever way that looks. To foster connection. I was as a nurse for 10 years and am now as a yoga teacher and studio owner. I want people to feel better about themselves and I am passionate about helping them do that.
Favorite book? Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk or The Hours by Scott Cunningham
Favorite movie? Beauty and The Beast (the original) or any spy thriller
Favorite restaurant? Volt (back home) Peking (here). I know, I know, but have you had their General Tso’s Tofu?!
When did you start practicing yoga and why?
I had tasted yoga when I was in my early 20’s, and it didn’t resonate with me. Honestly, I was not in a place to receive anything yoga had to give me then. I became serious about it after moving to Georgia several years later. I was broken. Both physically from having severe disc degeneration in my lower lumbar spine, and emotionally. I was spiritually bankrupt and went to yoga at first to have some sort of exercise regimen. What I found filled me with wonder in every area of my life. I learned to heal my body and, more importantly, my soul. I had just gotten sober after struggling with addiction, and yoga replaced the hole that I kept trying to fill with substances. I began to learn to sit with myself, even if uncomfortably, for the first time in my life. I was able to learn that I am not my past, nor my future, but I am the person I choose to be right now. It literally helped save my life.
What’s your favorite yoga style?
I like to teach anatomically focused flow classes—be that flow, power or Rocket. I also really love to teach Pranayama and Restorative. I also really like to take these types of classes as well. I gravitate toward Rocket/Ashtanga for my personal asana practice because I like the challenge as well as synching movement with breath. I also really like to take our Candlelight Yin class when I need a good intense stretch and to settle my mind’s chatter down.
How long have you taught yoga? What inspired you to teach?
When I decided to teach it was because I wanted to give people yoga as it was gifted to me. I dove head first. Even after my first yoga teacher training, I started studying the yoga sutras and The Bhagavad Gita and other forms of yoga philosophy with a Vedanta monk from Atlanta. I took other trainings on different styles of yoga. I literally became a sponge who couldn’t soak up enough. I still very much feel that way. Always stay a student, the best teachers are the ones who know they don’t know everything but continue to try to know more.
What’s your advice to someone who is new to yoga?
Keep coming back; breathe through the challenge, and know that it is never ever about achieving something perfectly. As soon as you master one pose, there is a more challenging one right after that. Yoga means union. We use asana as a vehicle, not as a destination. And also to not take yourself so seriously. Have fun with it. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Laugh with others and at yourself. I literally fall down while I am teaching, and I am not even demoing a pose, sometimes I just trip. Falling in yoga or in life lets others know it is ok to fall too. Embrace the fall, it is a teacher just as much as the triumph is.
What is your favorite pose?
This varies, I love astavakrasana because it makes me feel strong and limber. But I also really like the poses that are challenging for me. Those are the ones where I learn the most about myself. Where does my mind go when I am faced with defeat? How often do I want to take the easy road or on the flip side, how often am I practicing in ego and need to just chill out? Each pose has something to teach us, so I value them all in different ways. But physically I am a sucker for a backbend or deep forward fold.
What’s your favorite class to teach at M3? Favorite to take?
I like them all for different reasons. I love Rocket because of the community it has created and The Rocket System itself. I love M360 and Power360 because these were M3 creations and really incorporate all our values. I really like to plan these classes because they challenge me to think before moving people. They make me a better teacher. They’re sequencing classes is where I really let my geek flag fly. I also really really love teaching restorative yoga. I love it because it is so much about holding a safe space and giving people an environment to relax into and let go.
What do you enjoy most about M3?
This is an easy one. I love our students and our teachers. We have the most amazing community of both. I continue to be inspired by them everyday. I like that we can get deep and then crack a joke a minute later. The level of authenticity and vulnerability between our community is unbelievable. Also, I love that I get to take a drink out of the fridge after classes because I’m the owner.