At my core, I'm a teacher, coach, and mentor.
To be a dedicated teacher, you must also love to be a lifelong student, organizer, planner, explainer and simplifier. That's me.
I'm also a cat lover. I rescued my first feline at the tender age of 5.
I have a long history of working with diverse groups and building communities.
I've worked in faith-based communities, public schools, local and global businesses, technology and IT organizations, YMCAs, dance and fitness studios, and yoga and wellness centers. Whatever the context, I focus on making things accessible and bringing everyone on the project or journey together.
My family's story is typical of many of the Greek-American families I grew up with. My grandparents on both sides emigrated from Greece in the early 1900s. My paternal grandfather's name was shortened at Ellis Island from Georgeopoulos to Paulos. They eventually settled in the midwest and opened restaurants. They raised families through the The Great Depression and sent their sons off to fight in WWII. After the war, my parents met at one of the many Greek community events.
My given name is Nancy Diane Paulos. I was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Church and given a Greek name of Constandina. My parents taught us many Greek traditions, and raised us to be proud of our rich heritage, history, language, and culture.
My inspiration to keep learning and keep moving comes from my Greek ancestry ― the ancient Athenian philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, artists, storytellers, builders, Olympians, independent thinkers and citizens who left an enduring legacy of creativity, excellence, and service.
My goal has always been simple.
Keep moving every day ― without going to a gym or buying expensive equipment!
When I was working full-time in tech, raising my son as a single parent, and caring for my elderly mother -- I simply had no time for a "traditional" approach to exercise. Going to a gym was not realistic or sustainable during those years. Plus, I never liked doing that anyways!
Focus on movement - not exercise!
When I was overwhelmed and time-starved, I would gently remind myself to forget about "exercise" and just keep moving. I parked in the farthest spot in the lot, took the stairs whenever I could, and practiced simple daily stretching. Sometimes, that's all I could fit into my marathon days!
As a former gymnast and dancer, I was determined to stay agile and strong. So, I started to explore affordable home-based practices like Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi.
I learned mind-body practices from watching home videos.
I was inspired by the pioneering teachers who popularized these practices in the 90s and early 2000s.
It wasn't long before I decided to become a movement instructor myself.
In 2005, I took my first Pilates Teacher Training and started to teach group classes in my local community. I've been studying, practicing, and teaching mind-body fitness or "mindful movement" ever since.
I teach my own blend of basic Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi-style flow.
Even now, when I'm feeling overwhelmed and time-starved, I gently remind myself to just "Keep Moving".
I competed in gymnastics for 8 years ― My happiest memories are when I was practicing on a 4" wide balance beam, concentrating on every move. Gymnastics taught me to focus, overcome my fears, and make it all look effortless.
I took ballet and dance classes to improve my Floor Exercise and Balance Beam routines. ― I loved to choreograph my own routines. I studied world-class and Olympic performances to learn new moves. I lived and breathed gymnastics!
NCAA Scholarship Gymnast ― My efforts paid off when I was offered an athletic scholarship to the University of Missouri-Columbia. It was the inaugural year of the program. Only eight young women were chosen to be on that very first women's Mizzou Tigers gymnastics team to compete in the NCAA Big 8 Conference. We laid the foundation for a hugely successful program, now in its fourth decade.
Gymnastics prepared me lead, break down barriers, and trailblaze. ― I've been on the cusp of major cultural changes for women my entire life -- from advancing girls athletics in my youth -- working in male-dominated STEM career paths -- to reinventing fitness and aging for women over 50.
2500+ hours of Teaching Group Classes
A variety of formats with people of all ages.
I've had many inspiring teachers, but these Master Teachers have influenced me the most.