MY Spotlight: Emily Wallace
Interview with Emily Wallace, Owner and Founder of Midtown Yoga, by Michelle DeTitta
In college, Emily’s friends mentioned hot yoga and heard it was a good workout. After she gave it a try, Emily was hooked. She found it wasn’t just a good workout but was a holistic practice. She went home that Christmas break and told her parents she wanted to drop out of college and start yoga teacher training. After she achieved her RYT 200 she found yoga to not only be her career path but it changed her life.
I am super happy to share a moment with Emily in which I had the chance to speak with her about her personal path to teaching; some fun facts about her lifestyle and quirky personality:
Where did the inspiration of starting your own studio come from?
When I started teaching yoga 7 years ago I knew I wanted to open up my own studio. I love the idea of creating something good for people and a place that would make a difference in the lives of others. I’ve been blessed to have extremely supportive parents who have been advocates for me opening my own yoga studio. I’m also thankful to have a business partner that really believes in me and my vision. The idea of being your own boss and holding yourself accountable has always been something I’ve wanted.
What makes MY unique?
I put a lot of thought into how I wanted the studio to look aesthetically. I wanted Midtown Yoga to be a lifestyle rather than just somewhere you go to sweat. I want our students to take a little bit of MY with them when they leave. Whether that’s an inspirational book, bath salts, essential oil or a candle with Snoop Dogg’s face on it.
So Emily, what is the best experience you've ever had in a yoga class?
Anytime I take a class from another teacher at a studio or in a different city I try to learn something. Even if that class isn’t my “exact style” I make a point to walk away with something positive I’ve learned. I went to London with my grandmother a few years ago and took a yoga training with Seane Corn. She said to me “No matter how advanced you think your physical practice is, you stay because there is ALWAYS something to learn.” Seane is one of the most respected yoga teachers in the world and for her to say that, it really resonated with me.
How has yoga impacted your health, mentally and physically?
I find yoga to first be a mental practice, that’s what keeps me coming back on the mat. When I went through my yoga teacher training and started having a more consistent yoga practice I noticed not only the relationship I had with myself shifted but all the other relationships in my life became more healthy and balanced. I broke up with a boyfriend that was toxic and I began being more mindful with what I surrounded myself with. Including the food I put in my body, people, and even what I watch and listen to. I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t love a good margarita or Chick-fil-A number 3 combo BUT balance is definitely what yoga has taught me.
Give me some silly and fun facts about yourself.
Well, I won best actress of the year award when I was 10 years old in Belmont, NC. I grew up singing and acting. I also was a member of a local gospel choir in high school (just envision Mandy Moore in A Walk to Remember). Oh, I had a pet mini pig named Ella a few years ago and had to find her a new home because she turned out to be a hog.
What is your favorite song?
Harvest Moon by Neil Young. It reminds me of cleaning the house on Sundays with my family when I was little. My parents would blast music in the house all the time and I think that started my love for music. Music is a universal language and I love how much it can make you feel and heal. I’m proud that MY teachers put effort into their playlists and music choices for their classes.
What is in your purse?
Wallet, 5 pens, my eyelash brush, Kilwins wrapper, chapstick, a few crumpled receipts probably from 2017…lol
Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
My little sister lives in Shanghai and speaks fluent Mandarin. She is an inspiration to me with her strong will and her independence. If she sets her mind to something, it happens. We were so opposite growing up. If one of us looked at the other the wrong way, there would be hair pulling. It’s been really special seeing our relationship grow and now as adults we appreciate our differences and inspire each other.
What tips can you offer for new students who have never tried yoga before?
I recommend going to the MY Warm Flow if you’re new to yoga, or the heat. The MY Warm Flow has a heavier focus on alignment, slower pace, and the temperature is set to 85-90 degrees. I think it’s also important as a new student to recognize that it’s a practice not perfection. I say in class all the time, “Falling out of a pose is human, getting back in is a yogi.” It takes a few classes to get comfortable with the names of the poses and sequencing but growth is all about being uncomfortable, am I right?
What do you love most about teaching yoga?
I love that I have the opportunity to help heal. I’ve had students say classes have helped them through a divorce, a miscarriage, an addiction, or debilitating anxiety. I can be having a really crappy day and a student will share after their class what they are going through, and it reminds me why I started this studio in the first place. They say MY has helped heal them in different ways and it’s healed me too. MY is more than sweat and chaturangas. It’s a safe place where you walk in and feel like you’re family. We want to make genuine connections with our students and know what is going on in their lives.
You can follow Emily on Instagram at @emilywallaceyoga. We would love for you to come try a class with MY! So, keep updated on our weekly blog posts and follow us on instagram @midtownyogaral where we will share more fun facts about MY, the community, health and fitness, recipes and much more!