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Chasm: Bridging the Gap and Finding Your Way, by Holly Nichols

So they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Well, who are the, “they”, we’ve been hearing about all these years and why does it seem as though “they” run our lives? That’s a topic for another day.

Let’s just say the apple was me. The tree can be anything that stands for something good, positive, or victorious in your life. It can be a person, place or thing; or it can just be a tree. In the beginning there was this one particular tree and what a mess that apple created! So the beginning can heavily influence your path. For now, we’ll just assume this tree is tall, mighty and has no evil intent. I know in this life no such thing exists, but we’ll use our imaginations.

My tree represents my Dad, (family, history, past & all that we are made of). You see him below in the picture doing locust pose. I am amazed at how great he looks. I love my Dad, not just because he’s my Dad and I have to, but also because of his unique way of complimenting me- like telling me I look like an Indian Princess, (we have Sioux and Cherokee in our blood), or saying he doesn’t worry about me because I am, “industrious.” It’s because he’s always been one to march to his own tune. He is a Luthier by trade and does amazing work. If you are a guitar enthusiast then check out his webpage at

Dad in locust poste

Dad in locust pose

‘By making the wrong

decisions in life,

we learn to make the

right ones.’

If you ask his race, he’ll say human. Ask his ethnicity, he’ll say he’s from planet earth. He doesn’t care what other people think and that is true authenticity. Just being who you are- no excuses. So again, what about that apple? Well, I’m getting to that.

One of the biggest questions we ask in life is how do you become successful? Two words: good decisions. How do you make good decisions? One word: experience. And how do you come by that?! I offer this two word example: bad decisions! By making the wrong decisions in life, we learn to make the right ones. One of the best decisions I made in my own life was to start yoga. How did I get there you ask? My Dad.

First, I found myself in a, “big girl job”, that created only stress for me and wreaked havoc on my physical body. I worked in Finance which does not suit my personality in any way, however, proved to be a great learning experience. I think everyone should take a trip up (or in my case down) the corporate ladder at least once in life. You know, to understand who, ‘The Man’, is and why we want to stick it to him! So I ended up there because of the thinking that it was what I should do… after all, I made pretty good money and got to dress up all fancy everyday in suits and pantyhose, (yuck!)- Since when did I care about those things anyways? Was I happy? That was the question.

I believe sometimes our physical bodies reveal to us the state of our emotional being. I was, in a sense, taking care of all the tangible things, money, bills, meeting the status quo, ect…but neglecting my physical body and most importantly my spiritual body. Being in the wrong job caused some physical pain, (carpal tunnel), and a whole lot of confusion as to where I needed to go from there. I had to reinvent myself. What was I to do next??!! I wasn’t quite old enough to be having a midlife crisis, but it sure felt like one.

Listening to the voice of others who thought making a career change from finance to yoga teacher was crazy. Who in their right mind does that?! Sometimes our naysayers get in the way of our creative freedom. They take the wind out of our sails and make us feel like we are a bunch of freaks with outlandish ideas. Usually they discourage us without them knowing it. We second guess ourselves and shrink back from our vision and dreams. Thinking thoughts like, ‘yeah that was a pretty crazy idea, what was I thinking’?! I eventually had to learn to ignore all that chatter, cittavrtti; but, I admit that was hard.

My Dad was one who didn’t raise an eyebrow to this notion but in fact counseled me to go in that direction. He always said, “Oh, you’ll be great at that. Go for it Holly.” Don’t get me wrong, my husband was, and still is, one of my biggest fans and supporters but yoga vs. finance? It’s a no brainer! He’d pick a steady job over a risky business route, any day! You gotta love my hubby. He’s a solid as a rock. Those of us who tend to blow where the wind takes us need some solid ground to keep us centered. Thank God for my husband!

I must admit though, before I started yoga I thought that the yoga crowd was a group of weirdos and hippies. I categorized them as a very hungry bunch who only ate lettuce and nuts. Their body stinking from the naturalness they preferred. I thought they only liked to talk about vibes and the universe while blowing bubbles and playing drums in the middle of the park. The latter actually being a lot of fun! So when my Dad told me, “you should try yoga”, he was the bridge that closed that gap for me. I thought, if my Dad does it, then it can’t be a cult, right? Shows you how narrow minded I was.

As with anywhere in life, you have your locust eaters who challenge the judgments and perceptions of what we like to define as normal. Hey, if you want to practice yoga naked on your back porch why not, who’s to stop you? Except maybe the police the neighbor called on you for being an exhibitionist. Oh well, I think you get my point. Be wild, but with abandon. Setting boundaries was essential.

Much to my surprise and contrary to the stigma I placed on yogis, the yoga world has introduced me to so many wonderful people who provide deep, rich and satisfying relationships. I always say that it’s good to surround yourself with people who are smarter and more adventurous than you. We need people that force us forward to do the things we never dreamed we could. They push us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown. They help us conquer the fear that keeps us from stepping towards our dreams and destinies. We can allow them to push us physically, but in a very healing way. So many people in yoga have inspired me to be who I am, just like my Dad; not by their words necessarily, but by their own life example-just being who they are.

Little did I know that this journey of mine, which really has only just begun, would lead me to becoming a teacher and now specialized in prenatal postpartum. I became pregnant in the middle of my training and realize now the direction the, “universe”, was pointing me in. For me, practicing yoga while pregnant was like watching Jeremy Piven on Masterpiece Classic, (it just doesn’t get any better than that!). What could be cooler than awakening to your true self in yoga, while having this little life growing inside? A close second might be seeing others in that same place. I am so thankful for this life and this experience, and I can’t wait to watch so many others have their own.

Not a day goes by that I don’t practice yoga. I have woken to find myself living all my dreams. I don’t know how life could possibly get any better! None of that would have come to fruition if I hadn’t followed my heart, had the time to heal, and to be given the freedom to be myself!

My encouragement to you is to seek that which calls you. Let go of your fears. Ignore your naysayers. Dream away! Who knows where that road may lead? You may find that in the end you have not dropped too far from your roots, (there’s that apple!). Go ahead, ask your spiritual self. I promise it won’t lie.

Growing up, Holly was always very active physically. So it came as a surprise to her that she developed pain in her body at such a young age. Holly began yoga as a means to heal from the pain and was a last resort effort to avoid having surgery. Not only did yoga heal her physically and allowed her to forego surgery, it opened the door to a whole new way of living. Once she began her practice, she realized that being in tune to your body through breath and awareness, along with the physical asanas, can keep you free from injury and disease. Yoga became a passion to not only embrace health and healing for herself but to teach others to find that same path for themselves.

Holly Nichols
Holly Nichols

For many years Holly has explored the world of yoga including Dahn and Bikram, and with her training, focused on Vinyasa, Iyengar, Anusura, Sivananda and Ashtanga. Today, Holly is free from pain and has never felt more happy and alive. She has recently become a mother to her 7 month old boy, Afton. She practiced yoga every day for her entire pregnancy and found this to be a life changing experience. She has since become certified in teaching prenatal and postpartum. She incorporates her experience to her students in each class. You will find her classes to be very dynamic and energetic, with an emphasis on healing. Above all, her classes are a lot of fun! It is her goal to keep the body strong through yoga practice to help avoid injury and disease. Also to create a harmony with our bodies that is nurturing and loving, which will in turn provide rewards to last us throughout our lifetime. Holly is a Yoga Alliance-Registered Yoga Teacher, (RYT 200 Hour), and teaches for OhBaby! Fitness.






10 Responses to “Chasm: Bridging the Gap and Finding Your Way, by Holly Nichols”

  1. Soo JK says:

    Wonderful blog Holly. Congrats on finding your niche in life. 🙂

  2. Brittany says:

    What an Inspiration!! Great article!!

  3. HOLLY says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. Your love and support mean the world to me. ~ Holly

  4. Paula says:

    Holly, thanks for taking the time to share your story….it is excellent! I’m so glad our yoga paths have crossed. I believe you have and will continue to be a positive influence in many people’s lives. I especially love knowing the joy you’ll bring to all the new mommies out there.

  5. joanna says:

    love your article so inspirational!!!

  6. Steven says:

    Great article! If I knew you….I would totally ask you to marry me!!

  7. Jim Hewett says:

    Very Cool,insightful and touching Holly. I’m proud of you girl. Your Dad

  8. Laura Erwin says:

    Wow, this was an amazing and informative article. I had dabbled a bit in Birkham yoga and stopped, this has made me want to start back up again 🙂 Great Inspiration, keep up the good work.

  9. Danielle Lancaster says:

    The article was wonderful! Very inspirational and up lifting! Like I have always said, “Holly, you are the most beautiful woman I know”. I am so proud of you! However, I never expected any less of you, you were made for greatness! You deserve every bit of happiness in your life. Love you for who you were, who you are, and who you have become!
    Love, Danielle

  10. Gmama says:

    Holly I am so impressed with your article and your life. One need only look at you now and how you live your life to know its working for you.

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