Meet Michele Lyman, Owner & Director of Serenity Yoga
Hi, I’m Michele, owner of Serenity Yoga since 2012, and I’ve spent almost two decades studying and teaching yoga.
My goal is to provide a space in the pioneer valley where you will feel welcome to explore your own practice at your own pace. I am not interested in folding you into a pretzel and my studio does not promote a celebrity ideal of what yoga should be. All you need to practice yoga is a little time, your body, and floor space. A mat and some props are pretty helpful too. Anything else, such as new age-y music, incense, expensive fancy yoga gear or an understanding of the Sanskrit language is unnecessary. The media wants you to think yoga is only for the wealthy, vegetarian, young, skinny white girl. These awesome ladies definitely practice at Serenity. But so do the middle-class, middle-aged or retired, non-vegetarian, average sized men and women of the community.
If you’re interested in doing real yoga with your real-self so that you can go about your day with a renewed sense of calm, then you’ve come to the right place.
Serenity Yoga is a reflection of my experiences. I tell people I’m a yoga mutt. My training and my practices have included all sorts of yoga styles that end up being intertwined in my teachings. The offerings at Serenity are similar – classes range from alignment based to flowing sequences and everything in between. There’s definitely something for everyone.
I didn’t always want to be a yoga teacher or studio owner. I went to Babson College in Boston MA to receive my bachelor's degree in Finance and Economics and my masters degree in Accounting and Entrepreneurship. I spent 18 years focused on climbing the corporate ladder, making a name for myself in the finance industry and working toward getting the fancy job titles. When I told people what I did for a living, most acted shocked and said something like “wow, corporate accounting doesn’t really fit with your outgoing, enthusiastic personality.”
Come to find out, those people were right, but it took me a while to realize it.
I took my first yoga class in 2000. I was pretty nervous since I loved aerobics and wasn’t sure what yoga would offer me. I was also very self-conscious and worried about what other people would think if I didn’t do the poses right. I was pretty surprised when I left class feeling calm and grounded. I also knew right away I wanted to go back for more.
I wish I could say I was immediately transformed, but it didn’t happen overnight. During the first few years of my practice, I struggled with depression and after five years of practicing, I was incredibly anxious. I looked to talk therapy and antidepressants for immediate relief. However, I give yoga all the credit for helping me finally get off medication and for giving me the ability to cope with whatever life throws my way.
I decided to become a yoga teacher in 2003 because I wanted to share my experiences with others. I opened Serenity in 2012 because I thought it was important to have a place in town where people could come together, share an experience and learn from one another. Balancing my full-time job and my passion for Serenity was pretty difficult. I didn’t think it was all that hard while I was doing it, but looking back I now realize how unhappy I was. So when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to make the switch, leave Corporate America and pursue yoga as my full-time profession.
The Serenity Yoga community means the world to me. A huge part of yoga is finding compassion for yourself and others. I’m inspired when I see you trying to better yourself, sharing an experience, and finding strength in each other. It’s the look on your faces, the smiles, the laughs, the tears, and the feeling that I’m part of something bigger that keeps me coming back for more.
I look forward to getting to know you and welcoming you to the community!