Romee May: Still around and still teaching yoga and Ayurveda
Romee May has been teaching yoga for over 19 years.
On Oct. 31, May closed the doors of her Yoga Firm Studio at 137 Townsend Ave. in Boothbay Harbor, where she has taught for 14 years, but announced she'll still be offering classes in yoga and Ayurvedic head, face, hands and foot massage in other places around the harbor.
May grew up in Kaufbeuren, Germany and graduated from a private college in Munich, where she majored in physical education, exercise science and the study of movement.
When she was 21, something happened that would change the course of her life. Her mother was killed in a car accident. “My mom was super healthy, very active and very fit. We were very close, and I had a very hard time dealing with it,” said May, who left Germany and went to British Columbia.
In British Columbia, she met foot reflexologist Benita Dancer, a proponent of oriental medicine. Dancer quickly became a close friend and mentor, and May moved into her cabin in the woods, where she stayed for nine months.
“It sounds bizarre, but after losing my mom and going there within a few months, she was like a mother to me, and she got me interested in meditation and oriental medicine. It was like a new birth at age 21,” said May.
From British Columbia, May moved around, landing in California and Idaho. She met Paul Pitchford who taught shiatsu, tai chi, acupressure and oriental massage, and started training with him. Pitchford went on to write the popular book, “Healing with Whole Foods.”
Eventually, May moved on, married, and moved to Washington state, where she had two children, Nicole and Julian.
One day, when Nicole was a year old, May woke up to the realization she wasn’t dropping the weight she’d gained while pregnant.
“I was watching ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ one morning. I realized that I could become an overweight, depressed housewife who watches Jerry Springer, or I could get my butt out there and start exercising, and get into shape. It was one or the other.”
May made the choice to get in shape and she’s never looked back. She began taking aerobics classes and later teaching it.
By then, along with her phys. ed. degree from Germany, May had earned group fitness instructor and personal trainer certifications through the American Council on Exercise.
In 1994, she started teaching classes at Washington State University, and through a contract with the school, opened a business, Power Works Fitness. May ran that business for seven years.
When she took her first yoga class in January 1995, she knew it would become her life’s passion. She spent the next two years training, and began teaching it at Washington State University in 1998.
“The Washington State Cougars football team players started coming to my classes,” May said with a laugh.
May divorced her husband in 2000. In 2001, she married Greg May, who brought her to East Boothbay, where his family’s summer home on Ocean Point had burned down. He came back to rebuild.
With her children enrolled in school here, May started teaching yoga and aerobics at the Boothbay Region YMCA, and in May 2003, she opened Yoga Firm Studio in the Harborside Reflexology building. She moved her studio to 137 Townsend Ave. in 2006 and her business has grown and flourished ever since.
Making money has never been at the forefront of May’s mind. She said it’s all about her passion for yoga. “I love doing what I do. When I first opened my studio and people started showing up with checks in hand, I thought it was funny. I just wanted to teach yoga. But I do have bills to pay, so the money comes in handy.”
May has studied and completed courses at the Kriplu Center for Yoga and Ayurvedics in Lenox, Massachusetts and is registered with the Ayuredic Medical Association as an Ayurvedics practitioner. Certified to offer diet and lifestyle consultations, she continues her studies of yoga, and is in the process of obtaining her Maine massage license.
Since she closed the doors of her studio, several new doors have opened for May.
“It was a blessing in disguise. Something needed to shift. I was feeling like a ripe apple that wanted to drop from the tree, and having to move was the catalyst I needed. I felt like someone had freed me.”
May is now licensed to hold Ayurveda, a mind-body health system, workshops at her home, and she’ll hold classes at the YMCA, at Crow Point Yoga, and private classes and Ayurvedic foot massage in the Harborside Reflexology building on Townsend Avenue. She’ll also offer classes in Ayurvedic head, face, hands and foot massage at Seaglass Spa in Boothbay.
“I feel good. I have great energy, and my desire is to share that and show people how it’s done,” said May. “It doesn’t have to be at the level that I take it, but a regular daily routine can give people a skeleton to build on. That’s my life’s purpose.”
May said she gets up with the sun each day, meditates and says a prayer, then drinks some tea and takes a quick 15-minute speed walk around her neighborhood before showering and heading off to teach yoga.
“I take an afternoon walk and have an early dinner of real home-cooked food, mostly vegetarian. Some of my favorite things to do are spending time by the ocean and hiking on any of the Boothbay Region Land Trust trails.”