Steve Penners: Exploring Horizons with Yoga Instruction
Steve Penners is an active man. In addition to his computer programming job in PUC’s ITSS department, he is also a city ministry volunteer, world traveler, husband, and father. In 2012, Steve added the title, yoga instructor, to this already comprehensive list. After a journey from novice to yoga master, Steve now offers classes on the PUC campus several times a week.
Having practiced some yoga in past years, Steve was interested by the classes PUC began offering for staff and faculty members. After trying out the yoga style at the college and enjoying it, he made the decision to visit other local yoga studios to observe different instructors’ styles and teachings. “It seemed to help bring a nice balance into my life in areas of socialization, fitness, and mental focus,” says Steve, “and it was just plain fun.”
In discovering more about the variety of yoga teachings, Steve made the decision to experience more in-depth knowledge and guidance than was offered in the traditional classes, which are only about an hour to 90 minutes in length. He signed up for a 200-hour teacher training program in 2012, but only with the intention to discover more about the practice of yoga. “I did not expect to teach initially,” he explains, “but it dawned on me that the instructors intended to help all of us trainees overcome our various fears about teaching so that we could actually lead classes.” Using techniques designed to help trainees overcome anxiety about leading classes, the program leaders created an environment of positivity and encouragement. The result was a higher level of comfort when speaking in front of other people.
Steve began to practice his teaching techniques on a few friends, and his progress towards becoming a yoga instructor continued steadily. First offering classes in the summer of 2012, he states that it has been a great journey of growth. “Teaching yoga has been a great adventure and I’ve found that having a positive influence on others has been the most rewarding,” says Steve.
Steve’s wife, Jenny, is a nurse at St. Helena Hospital, and the couple’s three sons have a very active role within the Angwin community. With relatives in Peru and Argentina, the Penners family also does a fair amount of travel. Steve has also been participating in a city ministry opportunity in San Francisco, which he states has been rewarding and a good personal growth opportunity. In his twenties, he completed an 8,000 mile bicycle trip taking him from Alaska, through Canada, and down the East Coast, and another trip of 3,000 miles from Mexico to Vancouver Island. Steve still has the bike that made this trip, although now he uses it to cycle around the streets of Angwin.