Michelle Spevak Certified Instructor
My discovery of ChiWalking came after completing The3Day, a 60 mile walk, to raise money for breast cancer through the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I had never participated in a fundraising walk, so I trained for the intense event. After I completed the walk, I realized how much having purpose in my walking was important to me. Thankfully I found the ChiWalking® book on my mother-law’s arm chair the Thanksgiving after the walk. ChiWalking® brought purpose back to my walking as well as increasing my physical ability. After practicing ChiWalking® myself I trained to be a ChiWalking® mentor, and now a certified instructor. I have reflected many times on why ChiWalking® “hit the spot” with me. I have always loved walking in the outdoors and currently completing a masters in physical therapy. ChiWalking® has blended my love for walking outside and my desire to understand body mechanics as well as my passion for teaching. I like learning new things and particularly things that are holistic in nature. I have now grown to love ChiRunning® as well. After I left my hometown I traveled for jobs and had the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different places. I now realize I owe a great deal of thanks to everyone for adding to my “life’s recipe”.
My journey began for the most part in North Carolina. I grew up in Roanoke Rapids, located next to Virginia in north central North Carolina. After graduating with a BS in Biology from Wake Forest University, I took a journey around the country. I explored various environmental and service oriented jobs. I began with participating in Student Conservation Association. I spent a summer at ArchesNational Park in the southeast desert of Utah. Inspired by the grandeur of the land and the park service’s mission, I realized what I would really like to do was quite simple: help protect what I enjoy. I returned to Wake for my senior year with the goal of becoming a park ranger. The following summer I was employed by Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork, Utah. After a season at the Cave, I researched more about the AmeriCorps program. I liked that it is a service-based program with an opportunity to participate in a specific program addressing environmental concerns. For my first AmeriCorps stint, I was given the fortunate opportunity to serve with the Montana Conservation Corps. As one of the standard crew leaders for the Kalispell region, I was helping many different groups with their projects while seeing some incredible and undeveloped places in MT. I frequently had to do a reality check to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I was meeting incredible individuals while working outside on rewarding projects. I was making a difference. However, I did miss the opportunities to do educational programs. After my hitch in Montana, I was looking for an AmeriCorps program, which focused on environmental education. I joined the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY and was assigned to the Building Watershed Bridges Team. Our focus was to unite schools, communities, and local organizations through watershed education and protection. I learned about stream ecology as well as other environmental programs, even the ecology of maple sugaring. After my completion of term of service, I entered the world of AmeriCorps Alums. During my two years of service, I gained a wide variety of skills and a sense of satisfaction from meeting community needs. Looking for another rewarding and challenging position, I joined the staff of AmeriCorps Cape Cod for 4 years. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed living in Cape Cod but had the desire to return to NC. Job opportunities and family brought us to western North Carolina. Since being back in the state I have worked with Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and AmeriCorps Project POWER program at Children First / Communities in Schools of Buncombe County. In April 2009 my husband and I had our first child and I have learned that “good chi” works miracles with little ones. I enjoyed learning about the body’s mechanics with ChiWalking/ChiRunning so much that I pursued and completed a masters in physical therapy at Western Carolina University.