Children and adults can’t resist Anthony Tumolo's positive energy. I go to Anthony’s Saturday morning yoga class whenever I'm in the New Hope, PA area. I wake up extra early to make sure I can get a spot in his 8:00 am class. If you don't get to class early, you may be disappointed! And that's a double disappointment: not seeing Anthony and not doing yoga. I've even foregone my morning coffee if I'm running late to class. I can’t resist his energy and neither can his many yoga students. After class one Saturday morning I asked him how he got started with meditation and yoga. He laughed and said, "Meditation and yoga have changed my life in so many positive ways. I was a runner. For me to consider an activity a workout, I needed to sweat. Running was also my moving meditation." While running his knees began to bother him and ultimately, he had to give it up.
Like all of us, he hated to give up something he loved and that fueled his passion. He was looking for something to replace running. He never thought about yoga but got hold of a P90X yoga video. He said, “It was hard. I thought I could get something out it and there was a meditation element that intrigued me. The meditation was different than what I did when I ran. It focused on breathing techniques."
"Meditation and Yoga changed my life profoundly!"
Of course, I had to ask how. He said, “I’m a 3rd-grade school teacher, and I started adding meditation breathing techniques and some yoga poses into my classroom. My little students loved it and they wanted more! They liked the calming effect and so did their parents."
This led Anthony to take a kids' yoga teacher training course. He taught solely kids’ yoga for the next four years. During this time, his school district noticed Anthony’s meditation and yoga efforts and asked him to develop a yoga curriculum that brought positive energy into the classroom. The curriculum Anthony built blossomed into a new career path for him. He became the K-8 Social and Emotional Learnings Coach/Supervisor for his district. "I never imagined bringing meditation and yoga into my classroom would lead to a new career."
While he was busy teaching kid's yoga he also kept up with his own yoga practice. He found a yoga studio he loved, Dig Yoga in Lambertville, NJ. Finding Anthony’s positive energy irresistible, Dig’s owners encouraged him to build upon his kids’ yoga and school teacher training.
He hesitated and was fearful of teaching adults since he had only been teaching children. After meditating on this, he decided to take Dig’s yoga teacher training to gain more knowledge on alignment. Dig’s owners Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny are well known for their dedication to proper yoga alignment. I've practiced at Dig over the years and appreciate their focus on alignment, experienced teachers, and the yoga community they have built.
Before knowing Anthony studied at Dig, I called him the King of Alignment. It makes sense now why he’s such a good alignment teacher. He shared with me that his passion for alignment stems from wanting to provide a good foundation for students. He said, “Everyone will look and feel different in their poses, but the alignment principles remain the same.” Very true, indeed.
After completing his teacher training, he was still fearful of teaching adults because they can be so critical, but after much encouragement from Sue, Naime, family, and friends, he finally took the leap of faith and started teaching adults. He has become such a beloved teacher ever since.
This fear of criticism is common among new and experienced teachers. You open yourself up to a whole new level of criticism. And it shouldn't be that way. I had the same fear when I started teaching yoga over 20 years ago. Occasionally I still feel the fear. Anthony and I spent a lot of time talking about this fear, how to embrace it, and how to overcome it. Anthony shared with me the six ways he overcame his fear.
Six ways to overcome the fear of teaching yoga:
Don’t take yourself too seriously, you won’t be able to please everyone.
Every opportunity to teach is an opportunity to learn. Be open to feedback.
Be genuine to yourself and your teaching style.
Keep taking classes and keep up your practice.
Remember to breathe and trust the path.
Embrace the journey!
To remind himself of these important responses, he has tattoos of Embrace the Journey on his left arm and a continuous band of Inhale and Exhale on his right arm.
If you follow me on Instagram @thetrippingyogi you may recall in April 2020, I posted about my three favorite meditation books.
One of the books is Journey to the Heart, by Melody Beattie. This is also Anthony's favorite meditation book. He begins his Saturday morning yoga class with a reading which inspires the class. For me, the reading always hits the right spot with something I may be considering or struggling with. During class, he brings us back to the reading to keep us centered and present. Anthony also prepares a fab playlist to set the right tone for the class.
I'm always happy/sad when Anthony's yoga class ends. I want his class to go on forever. But I also look forward to how he ends class. As he guides us up to a seated pose from Savasana (corpse pose) he says “Bow into yourself and an unfolded heart. Namaste.”
Think about the meaning of an "unfolded heart". Take one of Anthony's Saturday morning yoga classes at Cornerstone Health & Fitness in New Hope, PA. You won't be able to resist him either. Remember, get there early!
I’d be very grateful if you’d help me spread the word of how meditation and yoga can change your life. Please email Anthony's story to a friend or share it on Facebook or Instagram. Read more stories of how yoga has changed people's lives in so many positive ways. Thanks for reading!
You can find Anthony at:
Cornerstone Health & Fitness
322 W Bridge St.
New Hope, PA 18938
204 N. Union St.
Lambertville NJ 08530
I’m a yoga teacher and fulltime RVer. I travel the US and Mexico teaching yoga, exploring communities, gathering inspiring life stories, and sharing yoga information. My intention is to bring together people interested in wellness through yoga practice.
Follow me on Instagram at @thetrippingyogi and Facebook under Theresé Julo