Vegan Yogini On-The-Spot: The Woman Who Saw My Light

Behind every passionate Yogi is a great Yoga Teacher. #ruthilicioushindsight

My yoga journey is slow but steady.

As I have mentioned in my first blog post for this blog segment "On-the-Spot" which is a SPECIAL BLOG POST for #ruthiliciousfitnessjourney, my very first yoga teacher is my inspiration and motivation for making healthy choices and taking that first step towards my fitness journey.

At first, all I wanted to do was just to break the monotony of my boring week which was pretty much a work-at-work-and-work-at-home kinda routine. The stress I get from working 12 hours a day, 5-days a week and doing house chores all weekends took a toll on my health. I gained weight. Lots of weight. I feel sluggish all the time. My mood swings were ridiculous. I was depressed and wasn't happy with my life.

The first time I met my soon-to-be-yoga-teacher Nichole, I felt I found the missing piece of the puzzle to my happiness. And I was right. She was very accommodating, friendly, and her smile made a great impact on my first impression of her. It was totally genuine.

One of my favorite shots I took of her during our photoshoot session.

I practiced yoga at her studio for a good 2 1/2 years until I decided to practice at home. But even though I stopped going to her yoga classes, it didn't stop us from communicating with each other. We talk to each other through social media and sometimes I see her at the grocery store. And even then, she continues to check on my progress.

She was the one who encouraged me to take a yoga teacher training course and become a yoga teacher. I laughed at her suggestion, of course.

Me? A Yoga Teacher?

But she wasn't joking.

Now that I'm 2 weeks closed to getting certified as a yoga teacher, I want to thank her for seeing the light in me that I didn't know I had and to dedicate this post to her. 

Here is the interview I did with her and I want to share with you guys how amazing Nichole is.




Name: Nichole Tracy
Certification: RYT, CPT, BS Ed
Yoga School: Yogaspirit Studios and NASM
Name of Yoga Studio: Sun Salutations Yoga & Wellness Center
Social Media Handles: Sun Salutations Yoga and Wellness Center on Facebook Pages and @fitveganyogini on Instagram

Nichole at her Studion in Buxton, Maine

When was the first time you fell in love with Yoga? How did it happen and what was your inspiration for the practice?

I started taking yoga classes in the summer of 2000, just after I graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Science in Education. I had already been hired at Massabesic Junior High as a 7th grade Science Teacher, so I had the summer open. I decided to try yoga because I thought it would be helpful for my chronic asthma, and for potential weight loss. I wasn't 'good' at it, as I had a weak core, terrible balance, and minimal flexibility, but I LOVED how I felt after practicing...that residue of AWARENESS. I even exchanged my time working in the little shop at The Yoga Center in Portland for free classes. That summer changed my life forever.

Please describe your Yoga Journey: How did it change your life and how it impacted your lifestyle?

After my summer taking yoga, I tried to continue as often as possible throughout the school year. Being a middle school Science Teacher was definitely a challenge, and yoga was something that always brought me back into balance, and was a source of much-needed stress reduction and peace after a crazy day. Unfortunately, I couldn't continue, as it was just too far a drive from Waterboro to Portland, and I decided to take up Kempo Karate with my husband and son instead, as it was closer. Feeling unfulfilled and burnt-out, I left teaching public school after a couple years to work at a veterinary office, then later IDEXX Laboratories. I was able to get back into yoga again here and there, and it always made my soul so happy. My jobs were another story. I found myself feeling stressed and frustrated far too often. In 2004 we ended up purchasing my step-father's house, which had a two-story detached garage on the other side of the driveway. I decided to leave the corporate world and turn that space into my own yoga studio. I found a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training course through Kim Valeri of Yogaspirit Studios, which was located in MA, but one full weekend a month for a year was held in Maine. I quit my job at IDEXX in May of 2006 and started working hard converting the outbuilding into the yoga studio space. I laid flooring, did all the finish carpentry, built furniture, etc, to make the space beautiful. I opened my studio, Sun Salutations Yoga & Wellness Center, in September of 2006. Now, thirteen years later, I absolutely LOVE teaching yoga still and feel remarkably blessed that I get to share its gifts on a daily basis. It doesn't feel like a 'job'. Yoga is what keeps me grounded, happy, and reminds me to be compassionate with myself and everyone and everything around me. Yoga didn't just change my IS my life!!!!

What 3 words describe you as a Yoga Teacher and what word or words describe your teaching style?

I teach Iyengar-based yoga but in a fun, playful, yet mindful way. Three words that describe me as a teacher are: REMEMBER TO BREATHE...

What advice would you give your new yoga student who is struggling with letting go and ego?

Don't take yourself too seriously. Nobody is perfect...thank goodness!

What advice will you give your yoga students who are thinking of taking Yoga Teacher Training Course?

Do it!!!! It will change your life!!!

How many years have you been teaching Yoga and what are the challenges you encountered along the way?

This is my thirteenth year of teaching. Being a studio owner can be really tough financially...but, the Universe will always support you when you're on the right path.

Is Yoga your only workout or you also do other workouts aside from yoga? If YES, what is it? Can you give a brief description of your other workout?

I am a NASM certified Personal Trainer, as well as a yoga teacher. I enjoy lifting weights, doing push-ups, and a variety of strength training exercises. I love feeling and looking like a! I also adore Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP). It's a great workout, but so peaceful.

She is one of the strongest women I know and idolize.

Lastly, what do you want your student to take away with them from your Yoga Class?

I want them to feel more compassionate toward themselves and all beings. I love it when they walk out feeling 'lighter' like the outside world has been taken off their shoulders...if only a little.


I added this one because this is very important to me.

Just like anybody you chose to lead a healthy lifestyle, I want to see or know someone who really gets the transformation that they wanted. I need proof. I need evidence. I need anything that will totally convince me that if I made a healthy choice, I can really achieve it. 

That it is possible. 

That it is doable. 

That it is real and not photoshopped.

Nichole's amazing transformation that keeps me inspired and motivated
and helps me to get back on track every time I fall off the wagon.

The first time I met her, she was already the Nichole in the right photo. Little did I know that she used to be the woman in the left photo. Isn't it crazy?

It was later on that I realized that Nichole's transformation was legit. She showed me her photo of 2012 maybe about 4 months of consistently attending her classes. She was not bragging about it or anything like that. I remember I asked her about nutrition and any tips to lose weight and eat healthily. Then she showed me that photo.

It was for real and not photoshopped. And for the first time in forever, I know someone who can testify that the choice I made was the right one.

Yoga is pretty much part of my life now. I never planned for this. And I never dreamed of becoming a yoga teacher either. All I want is to go somewhere I can feel safe, relaxed and forget my reality even just for an hour. But this manifestation presented itself to me. The fact that I allow it to happen amazed me to no end and scared the crap out of me at the same time.

Did I say I'm 2 weeks closed to getting my certification as a CYT? Yeah, now I'm bragging. I don't care.

This thing yoga is what I breath and eat now.

This is my life now. This makes me happy.

And I still think it's funny, though.

My yoga teacher, Nichole and I, after our recent private yoga class.

I'm not gonna lie. I'm scared out of my wits about this huge change in my life. The transformation in my body, my mindset, my reality and my perception of life now is totally beyond me.

Nichole did not only teach me yoga. She taught me to trust myself and believe in myself. Two things that I lost when I uprooted myself from my Motherland.

She taught me confidence and patience and letting go and allowing the Universe to take control of the situation that I have no control of.

And she rejoices with every little thing I accomplish.

Lastly, she taught me how to be happy again.

And you know what funny about these?

All these things... she doesn't even have a clue of what she did to me.

THIS Yogi/Fitness Instructor On-the-Spot blog segment is a special blog post featuring a Special Guest Yogi/Fitness Instructor highlighting his/her fitness journey.

It is Ruthilicious' hope and dream that this blog post will serve as inspirations to others to make life-changing choices and become the persons they truly are.

This post is NOT PAID and I did not get any compensation from the person featured here.