Welcome Anthony – Westwood Studio Manager
At Fire Shaper we get all “fired” up about the talent that circulates within our community. Please take this moment to meet our new talent member and new Studio Manager for Westwood, Anthony. We asked Anthony a bunch of questions so that maybe you could get to know him a bit better and hopefully you’ll even more comfortable while chatting with him at the studio.
Q: WHAT GOT YOU STARTED DOING HOT YOGA IN THE FIRST PLACE?
A: In December of 2003, during the holiday celebrations, two of my favorite nieces on two separate occasions , each mentioned Bikram yoga to help me with a nagging injury. I was training for a triathlon and started developing some back issues. Never had a problem before. So, I walk into the Westwood studio and met Natalie who helped me get a one week intro and within 2 hours I was hooked! My travels with Bikram brought me to the NYC studios since that was the main part of my territory as an Oncology representative. I would be off and on with my practice, mostly using it as a prep for races or maybe a quick weight loss after the holidays. Occasionally, I would wander into Westwood for a Blaze class.
Q: WHAT BROUGHT YOU BACK TO WESTWOOD FIRE SHAPER AND WHY DID YOU JUMP INTO TEACHER TRAINING AND HOW DOES ALL THAT LAND YOU INTO THE POSITION OF STUDIO MANAGER?
A: I have worked in health care all my life. Coordinated a day treatment program for the severely mentally ill. Transitioned into pharmaceutical sales and marketing with a concentration in Oncology therapeutics, diagnostics and research. I came back into the victim support area as a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor working with Sandy Survivors in the towns of Moonachie and Little Ferry. After that work I began a partnership with the PEARL Network that was breaking off from NYU to become a free standing, patient- centric research organization. I was looking forward to taking all my skills to help grow this new entity. It was a very exciting time. It was December 2016 and yoga was far from my mind.
In early 2017 my older brother took a major turn as his Melanoma became systemic and he was no longer responding to treatment. I went out to California with the goal of bringing him home so he could spend the last days of his life with family here in the East. Unfortunately, he was too ill to return with me and I spent the last few weeks of his life caring for him and preparing his estate. It was an emotionally draining few weeks but, I was so glad that I could be with him at the end of his life.
Pete wanted to be buried back home with our mother and father. The funeral was almost a month after his death and when I returned home the night of his burial I received a call that my partner with the PEARL Network had died of a massive heart attack. I sat in my office chair in a bit of disbelief. In that one instant I knew that I was going in another direction and, in a strange way, I was free. I was going to make my next career all about me and only me. I had no idea what that meant. But, my first instinct was to run, train and I signed up for some races. Then something else hit me. A voice that said go back to Westwood. Open up to all the different classes. Go, go , go! So, I returned to my Westwood roots and opened myself up to all that Fireshaper could bring to me. My first Flow class with Maria, my first Ignite II class with Sue C and finally a Blaze class that just rocked me! (I forget who taught). Sue announced the new teacher training and I just knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher. I wanted to bring my practice to a whole new level, I wanted to bring the spirit of yoga to others and I wanted to make my life richer within the yoga community. I first came to Westwood to repair a bulky back. I returned to Westwood to repair a hurting heart. I am back home.
When the call came for this studio needing a new manager I was more convinced then ever that I was on the right track. I was going to get this job and be the best damn manager ever for the Westwood studio. It’s crazy, wonderful and I am having a blast with all the challenges. We are going to have fun.
Q: WHAT ELSE OCCUPIES YOUR DAY?
A: So, what else do I do? I love my two grandchildren more than my life and I have some child care responsibilities that I balance with work. I am a constant reader of books and loathe the TV. I have not watched TV since I started this job. I don’t miss it one bit. When I can, I ride my bike, which is my favorite way to get to work, and I play in a little garage band with friends. I am signing at a wedding of a good friend this weekend which is why my practice guitar sits back here with me in the office. Sometimes it is just good to SING OUT LOUD! I love the experience of meeting new people which I now do every day here at Fireshaper. I am also a volunteer with Kula For Karma, and I lead a gentle yoga class with cancer survivors at the John Theuyer Cancer Center in Hackensack Hospital. The classes are amazing and their response to my teaching has been wonderful!
Q: WHAT DRIVES YOU?
A: Love… giving and receiving. Can’t get enough of that feeling. Yoga has opened my heart and gets me past my head. It will be my life’s endeavor to continue my practice in every way I can for myself and those whom I love.