March Teacher Feature – Nancy Wedemeyer

By Libby Scanlan

Nancy Wedemeyer, BS, RN, 500 CYT, yoga instructor at Prana Yoga CenterNancy Wedemeyer

Mondays, 7:15pm-8:45pm – Yin Yoga

Fridays, 9:00am-10:30am – Hatha Yoga

Nancy Wedemeyer started life on a small farm outside of Detroit in Wayne, Michigan. The younger of two girls, she spent her formative years in Michigan until her family moved to Illinois (Decatur and then Joliet) She attended Joliet West High School and then U of Illinois as a journalism major. 

Love and marriage led her to Vancouver, Canada where she lived for 10 years, working in a variety of jobs and giving birth to Rachael, the first of her two daughters. By the late 70’s she was a single mom and ready to be near family so moved to St. Charles where she has lived ever since. Inspired to finish her education Nancy got her AA, AAS, and RN degrees at ECC, then continued with a BS in Community Health at NIU. As busy as she was she still squeezed in getting married to her current husband Steve and having her second daughter, Jessica. Nancy worked in nursing for 22 years, her emphasis on home health care and women’s health issues. Her yoga journey began when she starting practicing with Jessica, to help improve Jessica’s health and help her manage the demands of college life. The yoga bug had bitten and she eventually enrolled in first a 200 hour teacher training with Tricia Fiske at Yoga Among Friends in Downers Grove in 2007, and then the 500 hour teacher training course at Prairie Yoga, Lisle.

Her classes are grounded by her medical knowledge and experience combined with her considerable yoga training and elevated by her enthusiasm for the gifts that yoga has to offer. For a taste of Nancy’s expertise in the medical and yoga field read her recent article featured in Healthier Paths, What Is Yoga?

Nancy’s calm, gentle demeanor and confident, steady, instruction contribute to exceptional classes that keep her students coming back for more. As a published poet and frequent writer Nancy

Fun Facts:

Most Influential Teacher: Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy for her spirit (although I’ve been fortunate to study with so many great teachers-Tias Little, Rod Stryker, Tricia Fiske, Lori Gaspar, Elissa Cobb)

I’m inspired by: My students, especially when they trust and honor me with deeply personal stories about their lives.

Five Words to describe my teaching style: Expanding, creative, challenging, safe, and fun.

Favorite Pose: Virabhadrasana 1and 2 because I enjoy and need the grounding effects. My favorite aspects of yoga, though, are pranayama because of the inner depths it takes me, and yoga nidra-the most peaceful practice on earth.

Least favorite pose: Balance poses are the most challenging for me. I’ve always been an outlier, not under the bell curve, and that keeps me challenged with balance in my life. I wouldn’t have it differently, though, because of the unique way in which I see the world from out here.

Personal Practice: I “do” yoga every day. Asana, meditation, pranayama, or philosophy studies. I also walk outside everyday because of an appreciation for this earth that we live on that I fear we are destroying.

People would be surprised that I: Am a published poet and play guitar and sing.

I want my students to: Take the awareness they find on the mat into their lives.

Guilty pleasure: Watching a lot of Netflix and movies

Fav. Color: Blue-any shade

Fav. Pig out food: Potato chips and anything with sugar…bring on the sweets!

Dream vacation: Greece, especially if it involves a spa!

Personal hero: People who come up with creative, caring ways to help others, especially those brought up with privilege who recognize their advantages and help those who were not born with the same advantages. Eleanor Roosevelt, Bill and Melinda Gates, John Kennedy

Proudest accomplishment: Raising two loving, socially conscious daughters, they are the north stars in my night sky.

Fav. Halloween Costume: Cowgirl (loved the boots)

When I was 5 I wanted to: Play with my dolls and dress the farm kittens in baby bonnets and wheel them around in a buggy.

How yoga has changed my life: Yoga has taught me to be more aware of my own heart, my actions, my words and to be more generous with other people by realizing we are all in this together and have far more similarities than differences.

Yoga philosophy I try and instill in my students: Lead your life with your heart but take your brain along.

Most profound teaching moment: Any time a student tells me I’ve helped them in any way, it means yoga has reached them through me.

How I see yoga changing in the next 5 years: I think yoga is becoming more recognized by the medical community as a therapeutic modality, and I see that blossoming further (take my back care workshop!)

How do you spend your spare time when not enriching the lives of others through yoga? I’m pretty low key (i.e.boring!) I read a lot, write, garden, watch movies, walk my dog Maddux, and travel with my family. Travel is very expansive (and expensive!) and it helps me see the world from different cultural perspectives.