Carrie Hoff, Yoga Instructor and Owner, Valley Yoga in Westminster, MD
“I teach yoga with compassion towards each individual and encourage them to practice mindfully at their current ability. My approach is to gently guide students to connect breath to movement and find freedom in their postures through props and correct alignment. When our approach to yoga is relaxed and open-hearted, the strength and healing we desire happens effortlessly. In our practice, we meditate on the word of God and aim to deepen our faith along with our postures. I want everyone to feel a sense of community and to feel safe asking questions and experimenting on their mats. My classes are a union of the inner and outer being and I am committed to help each person discover the grace and healing that yoga can bring to their lives.”
The Story Behind Valley Yoga in Westminster, MD: Healing Myself and Finding Peace
I came to the mat several years ago looking for a way to care for myself mentally and physically. I had been through some stressful events over the course of the years and knew that the physical body was holding and suffering the consequences. Migraines came weekly lasting for days…after many failed prescriptions and many trips to the neurologist, I stumbled upon a doctor who said it clearly. Yes, I have bulged discs in my cervical spine along with a bone spur and herniated disc but the root of the problem was stress. Chronic stress caused inflammation that was pressing on a nerve causing the migraines. My quality of life was suffering because I couldn’t mentally or physically let go.
Then I found Yoga!
I came to yoga with little expectation but soon noticed it was changing my life. I developed a regular practice and decided to embark on my 200 hour teacher training, not only for a deeper knowledge of the practice of yoga but with the hope that I could share my experience with others; especially those who need it most. Yoga has a way of reconnecting you with your true self. The “you” before the stresses of life, challenging relationships, responsibilities, hectic schedules and little time left for yourself. On the mat you start to find that inner light that was lost along the way. Suddenly your mat feels like a sense of coming home to a place or person you have not visited in a long time. I believe yoga should be an exercise of the body, mind and spirit.
Where I Teach Yoga
I currently teach at:
• Valley Yoga in Westminster, MD
• St. Bartholomew’s United Church, Hanover, PA
I am a 200-E-RYT, 500-RYT certified through Om My Yoga Academy in Harrisburg, PA, I have specialized training through the Prison Yoga Project, for those suffering from addiction, PTSD, depression, anxiety, those in recovery or incarceration. I have additional 200hr and 300hr continuing education through a Christ-centered teacher training. Additionally we have hosted, three 200 hour teacher training and specialty training in Yin, Yoga Nidra and Meditation.
If you want to find peace, relieve stress or pain and connect with your body and Christ then attend a Valley Yoga class today. It could be the beginning of a change in your life! View Schedule
My background is in law enforcement. From the late 80’s to early 2000’s, I was a Maryland State Trooper, finishing my career as a supervisor on the S.T.A.T.E. Team. (SWAT) Due to severe injuries I received from an accumulation of motor vehicle accidents, I was retired on a medical disability. I worked armed security for a number of years after retirement for a local retirement community along with some executive protection details.
I currently work full-time as a Polygraph Examiner for the Department of Public Safety, Intelligence and Investigative Division. I have belonged to numerous gyms over the decades; trying various work-out routines that involved lifting along with cardio. The older I got, the more frequently I found myself in the “recovery” mode vs the feeling good mode.
My wife introduced me to Yoga in 2014. I had my reservations at first, but because she is my wife, I entertained the idea. WOW, was she right (as usual I might add) Yoga opened up a whole new world to me. It not only made me feel great physically, but did wonders for my mind and spirit. I was blown away. I eventually cancelled my gym membership and began taking yoga classes as often as my schedule would allow.
In 2016, I began my 200 hour Instructor Training. At first, I thought it would be mostly about asana (poses) or pose break downs. I was wrong. We delved very deep into the history and philosophy of this ancient practice. I was a sponge, soaking up as much of this ancient knowledge that my brain could handle.
I am now an associate instructor at Valley Yoga Studio. I enjoy teaching classes that challenge our yogis, but also give thanks and praise for where they are in their individual practice. There are things you should know about me. I am not a flexible, bendy type of person. I have titanium hardware in my lower back and shoulder. There are poses that I am probably not going to get into due to my limitations. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Each individual has their own limitations and their own potential. You don’t have to be flexible or even in great shape to practice yoga.
We all come with different shapes, sizes and abilities. That is what is cool at Valley Yoga. We cultivate your individual strengths and build on them. You identify your own weaknesses, and we do our best to make them better. As with anything worth practicing; you get out of it what you put into it. I have read: If you practice yoga once a week you will be sore. If you practice three times a week, you will get in shape. If you practice each day, it will change your life.
For this reason, I kneel before the Father