Nicole Nelson, Universal Yoga Teacher

I began practicing yoga about 10 years ago in college and started attending Sheri’s classes at Prajna in 2014.  It was there that I truly fell in love with yoga and started to understand the not only physical, but mental and spiritual benefits of practice.  Sheri’s Universal Yoga classes have a special way to push you hard enough to demonstrate your full potential while leaving you feeling rejuvenated and accomplished at the end.

I have 2 spunky kids, Camden and Larken, and I enjoy raising them in the Midwest amongst friends and family. I love being active: hiking, camping, boating, playing volleyball, gardening, walking my dog, Marty, lifting weights, and biking. I work full-time for Louisiana Pacific as an On-Site Analyst for Menards.  I have a bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in Apparel Design and Development and a Spanish minor.

My passion for yoga really took hold after having kids. There is nothing I love more than my children, but with them came a lot of added stress and anxiety. My youngest Larken was born 6 weeks early and we found out shortly before his first birthday that he has a cyst in his brain that caused hydrocephalus (a build-up of spinal fluid). It is a life-long issue he will deal with, but so far he has had 2 successful brain surgeries and is doing great! He is a normal spunky little boy, working every day to keep up with his “big” sister (they are the same size, despite the 2 year difference). Through this experience with my son, the importance of investing in your health really resonated with me. I use yoga as part of Larken’s physical therapy to build strength and balance. I put my mat down and he always beats me there with his pose of choice, downward facing dog. I love sharing the benefits of physical practice with my family, and like I said earlier, it also lead me to understand the mental and spiritual benefits as well. I realized I am able to refocus my anxiety and negative energy to a positive goal through practice. This is where my yoga journey truly began, realizing that yoga is so much more than an asana on a mat.

I trained alongside Sheri with Andrey Lappa in the fall of 2017 in Florida. It was an amazing experience learning from the mastermind behind Universal Yoga, and especially character building as Sheri and I were forced to evacuate due to hurricane Irma (a great adventure story for another day if you are interested). This experience only reaffirmed the respect I have for my teacher and friend Sheri, as she did things like pass out her own limited food supply to stranded children during the long journey home.  I was fortunate to be able to finish my 200 hour certification training right here in Eau Claire in 2018-2019 with Andrey and Sheri.

Yoga is truly a lifestyle for her and I feel honored to have the opportunity to teach at Prajna. I am excited to share my practice and hope to spread the benefits I have experienced with others. As Sheri says, “Share the sunshine.”