In our column, Yoga Pam: Guru in Honky Town, we follow Michelle’s yoga adventures as she experiences the gift that keeps on giving. For her 37th birthday, she gave herself regular yoga classes with an exceptionally gifted teacher, Kelowna’s Pam Rader. Join us as Pam—and her classes—transform Michelle’s life and outlook.
“Yoga Pam,” as she’s known by many Kelownites, might seem less guru and more “it girl.” She’s tall, blonde, and ridiculously beautiful. But somehow, Pam Rader radiates both caring warmth and tough expectation (case in point—her “Bad-Ass Yoga Bootcamp”). (Also, her last name should be Radar, because she knows what you’re thinking even before you do.)
Heading into the first class I took with Pam, I snuck glances as she bantered with her disciples. They clustered around; she neither demanded nor rejected the adoration, just shared her energy. A minor yoga crush enveloped me.
And then class started. And my life changed. A few guided breathing exercises in it clicked: Pam was offering a system of transformation that could alter how I positioned myself in the world. Sound hyperbolic? You haven’t met her. I’d been practicing yoga for a decade, but I hadn’t found myteacher until that moment.
Except . . . I lost her. Six weeks later, Pam disappeared from my gym. I heard she was teaching at some hot yoga studio, but hot yoga, myeh. I meant to find her home studio, but life devolved into a series of minor crises before perking into a summer fling that catapulted into an all-consuming autumn love story. Life intervenes, right? Serious yoga was the last thing on my mind. It was a year before I found Pam again, finally ready to commit to a steady practice—a week before turning 37. (Not a coincidence, actually!)
In the meantime, I half-heartedly attempted to continue my pathetic excuse for a “yoga practice” by popping into a class here or a random studio there. I told myself I was too busy. I told myself it was good enough. But the truth was, I was getting ready for my teacher. And the truth is, without the proper teacher—not only a physical coach but also a spiritual guide whose values you share—yoga is nothing more than P.E. class.
When you find that teacher, everything comes together. It’s on.
In Sanskrit, yoga means “to yoke.” The term implies uniting body, mind, and spirit. And guess what? You can’t do it by yourself.
Here’s the story of the best birthday present I ever gave myself—my teacher—and how she transformed me, week by week.
Michelle Superle writes books plus other stuff and earns a living teaching people how to do it too. She gets her wellness on by running around with the lovely human male, charming dog, and beautiful horses she lives with. Join Michelle through her journey back to yoga.