Our Student of the Month celebrates one individual who exhibits these characteristics: Commitment, Courage and a strong sense of Community.
Who is Nikki Athanasiadis?
It is really nice to have such a short last name. Spelling was never a problem, especially on the first day of school. Jokes aside; I have a typical and impossibly long last Greek name. I am proud of my heritage, I love my culture and am very close with my family. My parents are straight from the boat, (they’re not that old so I guess we will go with plane) which makes me an American-Greek. They met in STL and then had this wonderful yoga-loving Greek Girl. Let’s get the STL question everyone asks out of the way… I went to Parkway Central High School, where I was on the Cross-Country team and stayed very active. I grew up in Chesterfield and have since then moved to Kirkwood. My new neighborhood is so cool and fun! If you have not noticed, I am a very passionate woman. I love my family, my job, yoga, my neighborhood, and most importantly chocolate.…
Like most others, I was unsure of what I wanted to do for a living. However, I knew I wanted something meaningful that could help others to grow. I attended Drury University and initially declared my major in Business. I have always been told that my patience would make me an excellent teacher, so I switched degrees and began to learn about Elementary Education. Kids can always turn your day around; they are so sweet, open-minded and eager to learn. This inspires me and makes everyday even more fulfilling. Also, kids are smart and it seems everything you need to learn in life, you learned in kindergarten. They teach me too! I now work in the Parkway School District as a Reading Specialist and I completed my masters’ degree two years ago.
Growing up, I was always active. I played soccer the moment I could walk (growing up with a father from Greece, this is pretty common) and then ran during my high school and college years. I had always felt so good after taking a yoga class at my local gym and had the desire to learn more. Reaching out to yoga studios was my next move and it was then I realized, yoga is like a big-kid playground where I get to be myself, letting go of fear and really challenging myself in new and exciting ways. A place where I feel safe to let go and try something new, fall down and feel empowered to try again. Most times on my mat, I feel like my happy, fun-loving two-year-old nephew thirsty to learn and explore more. I never want to grow up. I love yoga.
What is possible in your life as a result of yoga?
Since I have been practicing at Metro Power Yoga, I feel in more control of me and letting go of what I cannot control. Yoga gives me a sense of empowerment on and off the mat. Yoga is therapeutic for me mentally and physically. Honestly, we are blessed to have such warm, loving, and inspiring instructors, and that certainly has a lot to do with this! I feel more flexible not only physically but also mentally, I have welcomed the ability to shift my thoughts and perspective shutting out the negative and welcoming in the positive. By no means am I perfect. In fact, I mess up a lot, but now the difference is that I have learned to accept myself for the good, the bad, and the ugly, because “I am lovely, just the way that I am” (quote from Sara Haze’s song, Lovely). And, you are, too!