Featured Instructor: Courtney Hoffman
Yoga instructor Courtney Hoffman is one of the newest additions to our group fitness team at the Yards. Courtney teaches Vinyasa, Power Yoga and Sunrise Yoga at U Street and offers a fresh perspective on not only using yoga to build strength and flexibility, but also as a creative way to have fun and get in tune with your body.
After growing up in Iowa, Courtney attended the University of San Diego for undergrad and then Gonzaga University in Washington for grad school. Like many college students, Courtney found herself stressed out with balancing a demanding double major, an active Greek life and being 3,000 miles away from home. She started taking yoga classes and says they played a huge part in helping her get through her college years in one piece!
“Yoga saved my sanity in college. It taught me how to slow down and just breathe. I was dealing with so much schoolwork in a very competitive environment and yoga taught me how to take a step back and look at things objectively and control my emotions better. Those classes really helped me get through that time,” says Courtney.
Upon moving to Washington to start her grad school program at Gonzaga, Courtney decided that she wanted to be able to share the empowerment that she gained from yoga with others. She got certified to teach in August of 2011, interned at a small yoga studio in Washington and has been teaching ever since!
While attending Gonzaga Courtney had the opportunity to do private yoga sessions with the student athletes during their pre-season camps. She explains that yoga can be extremely beneficial for athletes and loved helping the student athletes improve their performance through regular yoga sessions.
“Yoga makes you less prone to injury by teaching your body how to face challenges and react quickly. For instance the more flexible you are the further you’ll be able to jump and stretch to reach that ball flying towards you. Being able to understand the mechanics of your body allows you to be a stronger athlete individually and part of a team,” Courtney says.
Her experience at Gonzaga University lead her to accept a position with the athletic department at University of Maryland as a Tutorial Program Director – someone who helps the student athletes with learning disabilities get matched with the right tutors to fit their needs. Since her position with UMD is full time, Courtney needed to find a way to add some yoga to her life after moving to DC a year and a half ago.
“I live right next to the Yards and started out doing a trial membership when they opened. I loved the whole VIDA philosophy right away – how they want to leave an impactful footprint on the community and are always trying to better their environment,” she says.
Courtney quickly became a regular in Chris Parkison’s classes, and he eventually encouraged her to audition as an instructor this past March.
“I was one of three out of 30 instructors who actually made it from my audition. I remember hugging Chris I was so excited! I love how VIDA empowers their instructors and how supportive everyone is here,” she says.
As someone who is used to a ton of regulation and strict policy at work, Courtney says she uses her yoga classes as her chance to be creative at the end of the day – both with her flow and her Spotify playlists!
“I definitely have a more playful teaching style. I like to joke around and be lighthearted. I believe that yoga should be fun, not militant and strict. You just have to relax and let your body show you where your limits are,” says Courtney.
So what else can you find Courtney doing, when she’s not working in College Park or guiding students through their yoga practice? Baking, she says!
“I actually quit my job at a non-profit in college to help a friend open a bakery instead. I loved getting to come home with frosting in my hair every day. I still do it as much as I can,” she says with a laugh.
Big thanks to Chris Parkison for adding Courtney to the VIDA family! Go try one of her classes if you haven’t yet!