Self Care Sunday Release: Meet Nicole Bellamy


I've known you for a while now, and I'm really excited to dive into this conversation and discover more about you. So, to kick things off, could you share a bit about yourself?

My name is Nicole, and I’m a teacher, wife, and mother. I became a 200-hour registered yoga teacher in 2021 and a 500-hour registered yoga teacher in 2024. I teach barre and pilates, am a certified personal trainer, host sound baths, and coach high school cross country. My husband is a licensed charter boat captain and eco-tour guide; together, we own Sandbar Yoga, which is a boat cruise that takes yoga practitioners out into nature for a boat cruise, snacklebox picnic, and yoga session. I also co-own Barre Babies, a workout for new parents that can be done using a stroller handle as a barre. I am passionate about helping others find their love for themselves through movement.

How long have you been practicing and teaching yoga?

I’ve been practicing yoga for many years. I started a consistent practice while I was living abroad in China. While I’m a fluent navigator of Mandarin, I was unfamiliar with many words in a yoga setting, and it taught me to trust my body when I couldn’t understand the language of what I was being instructed to do. I moved back to the United States almost ten years ago and started coaching high school cross country. I’m a runner myself and recognize the strain high-impact movement puts on your body. I used my coach’s stipend to pay for a yoga instructor to lead team yoga practices during the season and ultimately decided to take the training myself in 2021. I completed the teacher training while I was pregnant with my son and gave birth the week after my final teach, so I’ve been teaching as old as my son is (right now, that’s two years).

Wow, I had no idea you lived abroad! It's amazing how your body could communicate for you when words couldn't. That’s amazing. So, tell us a bit about your teaching philosophy?

I teach Mandarin Chinese in the classroom and have taught ESL and humanities courses. I teach many forms of movement and coach running and swimming. The common thread of philosophy that weaves through all of these teaching modalities is the commitment to meeting students where they are and helping them discover what already exists within them. I want students to walk away from me with a lifelong love or appreciation of whatever I’ve shared with them. 

Meet them where they are at! I love it. What type of yoga do you teach? What do you like about this form of yoga?

I teach many different styles of yoga: vinyasa, hatha, gentle, and a yoga and barre fusion class. I also teach barre and mat Pilates and am currently enrolled in reformer Pilates teacher training. The commonality between these different classes is that they are low-impact, gentle on your joints, and can be easily modified to be appropriately challenging to a broad range of people.

I’m always on the lookout for low-impact workouts because I have spinal stenosis, among other issues. I love how you can connect with such a wide range of people. What can I expect from a typical class? Do you provide sessions aimed at specific goals like relaxation, strength, or balance?

I teach various classes, each with a unique purpose. I integrate relaxation, strength, and balance in my vinyasa yoga sessions, but I am influenced by the Iyengar tradition of precise alignment. I aim for a "peak pose" with specific alignment focuses. For instance, this week's class targets ustrasana (camel pose), emphasizing quad engagement and correct thigh bone positioning, tailbone alignment, and pelvic positioning to enhance chest opening. Throughout the class, we explore these alignment points in different poses. The ultimate goal transcends achieving the pose, focusing instead on the mental state needed for such focused alignment.

In your opinion, how does yoga correlate with mindfulness?

Yoga and mindfulness emphasize present-moment awareness and the union of the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga practices, including physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation, are a physical conduit to mindfulness. By focusing on the breath and sensations during yoga, you cultivate an attentive awareness of the present moment rather than external factors. I love establishing a rhythm to a yoga practice so that my students can achieve a flow state or a focused state of consciousness where they are engaged in an activity, experience a sense of effortless action, and lose awareness of time. I also bring that sense of flow state to the sports I coach. It’s a heightened sense of awareness while letting ego and external factors fall away.

Let’s lighten the mood a bit. What's one fun fact about you that our readers might not know?

People are surprised to learn that I speak and teach Mandarin Chinese, finished a full Ironman triathlon, and lost 150 pounds.

You look amazing if I must say so myself. What are your passions outside of yoga?

I’ve taken some time off from long-distance running and triathlon, but it’s been my biggest passion for almost ten years. Even within a triathlon, I can’t wait to get to the run. I trained for a 100k race along the Outer Banks in North Carolina, but COVID shut down the race one week before the event. The next year, I trained again but found out I was pregnant the month before the event. My husband actually spilled the beans about the baby when a friend asked how I was doing at the race, and he said, “Great. There is hardly any morning sickness yet!” I fought fatigue and morning sickness and dropped out of that race at mile 33. The next weekend, I ran a full marathon with two girlfriends and convinced them we should run from the Maryland/Virginia state line to the Delaware/Maryland state line. It was 45 miles, and we had the best time. I love to run socially and with friends, but some of my happiest memories are running a 50k, mostly alone, in the forest. No music, no talking, just eight hours of quiet time in nature!

What do you see as one of your greatest strengths?

I am, without any doubt, adaptable. I would rather be adaptable than incredibly skilled at anything. Being able to roll with the punches and let go of expectations has enabled me to be fully content with life, even under uncomfortable circumstances. From living in a Chinese village with no running water to getting through life in lockdown, there isn’t a lot that can get me down. I am rarely inconvenienced, and I’ve never found a lemon I couldn’t make into lemonade. The ability to navigate unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations is a gift that you only get through being open to those experiences. 

Last question! What’s an opportunity or area for growth that you are working towards?

I tend to think I can transcend the boundaries of space and time, and there are too many things I want to do. I say yes to every opportunity, and sometimes that results in overcommitment. One thing I learned while training for the Ironman is that when you prioritize everything, you prioritize nothing. I am working toward identifying and committing to priorities in a realistic way. 

I’m excited to join you at the Lavender Bloom Fest where you'll be leading a yoga session and a sound bath. I absolutely love your sound baths—they bring me such relaxation. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to highlight your work!



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