Real Women’s Stories

  • Before signing up for The Practice, I was afraid that I wouldn’t hold myself accountable for showing up physically each and every week, but I knew I needed that since I had such a hard time getting into a yoga class on my own. And the commitment of the 10 weeks worked.

    I remember at one point realizing that in my life I have some really great stuff and some really hard stuff going on and so does everyone else. This gave me the courage to step out of the victim’s role that I placed on myself. My husband also realized how much I needed yoga and said that I was happier.

    I loved in our circle after a few weeks, and we were no longer strangers and we were able to share from a deeper place. It wasn’t just surface stories, we were real women sharing real stuff. Our dreams, our fears, and all the other things we are afraid to tell other people lest we get rejected or judged for them.

    Everyone is going through different things in their lives and it is so hard to stay grounded in the whirlwind of everyday life. This experience helps you find your footing and strength to pick out the pieces that make sense and leave the rest behind.

    Nicole
  • I joined The Practice because I was new in town after two cross country moves in a year with two young boys, not a lot of down time or fulfilling female connections as a stay at home mom.

    The Practice has given me a feeling of safety and calm. A sense of a slower pace. Practice of self-care. Online community of support and positivity. Stronger, more flexible body. Self kindness which ripples out to my husband, sons, friends and community.

    It’s helping me to get out of my head and move my body, feeling calm and centered, using my voice, being seen and heard!!!, meeting other wonderful women and feeling less alone.

    We all need space, time and a safe, inclusive place to process, heal and grow. Would highly recommend to other women. Amazing!

    Ann
  • I hesitated signing up for The Practice because I was worried about my yoga level. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to open up to a group of strangers and therefore miss the “the practice” experience. But since starting, I feel in control of my body, I feel honored by my body and empowered in every part of my life. I’ve learned my body truly is my temple and how I treat it is a direct result of how I will feel.

    I couldn’t be more thankful to be loved and accepted by Michelle. There’s something truly special about that woman. I think it’s in us all. The raw real us. She makes me want to meet myself. The magical part about The Practice is you grow, but you get to watch all these other women grow beside you. It’s overwhelming at times but there’s isn’t a day I leave without feeling whole again.

    I’m constantly praising The Practice. I’m aware of the fact it sounds like some too good to be true story but it’s not. First hand my whole life has changed because of the two series I have been part of at bloom. I’ve never felt so present in my life. I don’t know how there isn’t The Practice in every city in the United States! I will forever be thankful and never stop spreading the word.

    Kiely
  • When I signed up for The Practice I was hesitant about being in a room of women that I didn’t know and sharing my innermost secrets and fears! But since I did,
    I feel more at peace in my own skin and I am learning to have a voice!

    Most of the women that I know are struggling with issues that they are unwilling to voice. The Practice offers a safe setting to do so. My experiences in The Practice
    are helping me to live in the present and deal with my insecurities. Even at 63.

    Teresa
  • I had heard of The Practice, but I was frankly afraid that I wouldn’t belong. I had visions that the members were all perfectly thin, well-manicured, uppity woman who were the popular girls in High School, just a few years older. A friend was on the Bloom newsletter distribution list and received a video Michelle had made about the ‘lifting the veil.’ Michelle’s words at her kitchen table were exactly the words I had used with my friend in a walk around the reservoir the day before. My friend and I had discussed the disingenuous attempt to disguise ourselves in our affluent neighborhood with fancy clothes, sunglasses and SUVs, all the way pretending that perfection was possible. With that video, I realized I could join a tribe at Bloom who accepted my flaws and who I could trust not to judge me for my everyday failures.

    Because of The Practice I have grown spritiually in so many ways. I have made new friends. Every week, after class, I feel a huge weight has been lifted and have found myself crying and smiling many times throughout the yoga moves. In fact, if I haven’t cried during my weekly yoga class, I try to look at what kept me from digging deep that particular day. The catharsis of the movement, music and connections with other woman have helped me to feel so much less lonely and both my relationships to my son and my husband have benefited from my weekly classes because I feel so much more whole and have greater capacity to love after each class. This week particularly, after our exercise in the 10 vulnerabilities, I have grown so much in practicing self-acceptance and self-love.

    The thing I love the most about The Practice is hearing other woman say out loud thoughts of shame, guilt or failure which I had thought ONLY I suffered from. The freedom that comes from knowing I am not alone is more powerful than any other one thing.

    I look forward to ‘MY’ yoga class each and every week and the schedule is so sacred to me, I always tell people, “I am pretty free EXCEPT 9:30-11:15 on Wednesday mornings.” That calendar commitment is my top priority and the weeks over the summer when the series were not offered, felt empty in a way that I didn’t even realize until I was back in the fold in September!

    Sophie
  • I was hesitant to sign up for The Practice because my kids were very young and it was hard for me to leave them. I felt guilty for spending money on childcare and yoga. I was definitely the kind of yoga practitioner that Michelle describes–the one who would come to a class, get inspired because it made me feel so good, buy a package of classes as the most economical option. . .and then never come. I was afraid the same thing would happen with The Practice.

    However, during the journey, I felt myself getting stronger in class each week. It felt very drawn to many of the women in my class–I looked forward to seeing them and getting to hear how they were doing each each. Having the commitment to show up, because I knew I felt bummed when other people didn’t come, helped me get there even when the logistics of getting out of the house seemed way too hard and not worth it. I loved the check-ins: even before doing any yoga I already felt more centered, seen, because every woman in the room said at least one thing I could relate to. I made a few fledgling friendships, some of which have been blossoming since then. The Practice also led me to the Ultimate retreat, which Michelle offers at Bloom, where I really met my tribe and some true, deep friendships that I didn’t expect to find anywhere at this point in my life. I was already blessed to have several great women friendships from other times of my life (none of whom live closer than an hour away). With The Practice I have been meeting and making friends with women who are like me, my adult self. People who question themselves and want to take better care of themselves and want to talk about the big, real, hard, scary shit. It’s totally changed my life.

    Megan
  • I joined The Practice after having moved to a new city during my pregnancy and lost half of the year dealing with major pre and post partum depression, I decided I was yearning to build my new community and make connections with other woman in a safe, tight-knit atmosphere. I was also feeling comfortable enough to start sharing my story to enable other woman who’s had mental illnesses, struggles as a mother, feeling alienated in a new environment to feel supported. The other big reason is that I NEEDED some “me” time set aside on a routine basis so I can breathe, clear my mind, reflect and rejuvenate.

    It’s helped me sort out my thoughts on my life and others so clearly that it’s been instrumental in part of my recovery from my traumatic depression in the past year.
    I’m now fearless of sharing what’s on my mind. The feeling of being vulnerable is gone. It’s empowering! I love that my restored positive energy is back and infectious with my family and strangers ; D

    I think every woman in every city needs The Practice because it encompasses magical support with a real sense of community, a breathe of fresh air that all woman need in their daily lives. It’s like taking a small vacation everyday to make yourself be a better person while being in a supported safe haven to decompress.

    Akiko
  • I was especially drawn to The Practice because of how it incorporates conversation and deeper connection into the yoga practice. I was dealing with grief and trauma after losing two younger brothers tragically. I was searching for new ways to find myself again through the pain of loss that had come to overwhelm my sense of self and my outlook on life.

    Right away after joining The Practice, I started looking forward to my Saturday mornings at Bloom. I always came home feeling energized and inspired.

    Some weeks, it was hard to share and open myself up to a group of so many amazing and inspiring women. I dreaded digging deep into emotions that my chaotic daily life made it easy to repress. Pushing myself to just show up and let it out was therapeutic, and I started to feel stronger because of it. I came to define myself, not by the tragedies I had endured, but by the strength within myself that kept me going—and even happy—despite those tragedies and other challenges in life.

    I highly recommend The Practice to anyone who feels stress or anxiety. Also, women who want to feel more connected to others on a deeper level. As women, we don’t often talk to others about the things that are really affecting us. We need more than that, and Bloom provides the platform where deeper connection can happen.

    Lila
  • I was brand new to yoga, and nervous about not being able to keep up with the class. I wasn’t sure that I could commit to something every week, and was fearful that I’d feel guilty for taking time for myself. Ultimately, I decided to give myself the gift of time. Time to pay attention to my body. Time to open up and connect with other women. Time to be honest about what I needed to discover myself again. I realized that I could only do this in the safe space that an ongoing series could create.

    I never thought that I would enjoy exercising! I used to be a dancer, but have not felt at home in my body since before I had children. I am re-learning how my body moves, what it needs, what it feels like to be strong, and how my body will always support me. I’m an introvert by nature, and Michelle’s classes make me feel like I’m among friends. I love the sharing circle that happens before class, the bravery and candor that she pulls from each woman in the room, and the healing energy that she encourages through movement and conversation.

    I love how The Practice is “fit” for all levels of experience, all body types and capabilities. Michelle encourages you to be your own best version of yourself, to be gentle with yourself, and to push yourself in a way that feels right. She wants us to succeed, wants us to be comfortable, and seems genuinely happy to be there with us. I love that she has created a warm, inviting space where women can do something to take care of their hearts and their bodies. I feel at home when I’m at Bloom. Every interaction feels “real”, genuine, and empowering. I love having the opportunity to commit to myself and my health, and with Bloom, it’s an easy commitment to follow through on.

    One of the best things about The Practice is that you don’t have to be a Yoga Master to join in! It is for everyone! In fact, I think that it’s especially for women who aren’t sure if they belong, who aren’t sure if their body can “do that”, who don’t know if they can survive a whole class. The Practice is structured in a way that helps you to discover your strength, and discover yourself. Women who are great at Yoga also belong…..Michelle makes room for them to push themselves further in their practice, and different experience levels flow seamlessly beside each other. Regardless of ability or experience, the concept of using yoga to create a safe space for women is something that we can all benefit from. I have never had an exercise class (or teacher) that cares about my emotional experience the way that they do at Bloom. And why shouldn’t they, right? Exercise is emotional for women, especially when we are at a transition point in our lives. Women don’t have many opportunities to treat themselves with kindness, and The Practice fosters that self-preservation and self-care.

    Kim