“Push and challenge yourself on and off the mat in a safe and smart way. It’s the way you grow and learn,” is what Peggy Berenblum tells her yoga students. It’s also the way she lives her own life.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
“Push and challenge yourself on and off the mat in a safe and smart way. It’s the way you grow and learn,” is what Peggy Berenblum tells her yoga students. It’s also the way she lives her own life. Not one to ever rest on her laurels, the Harvard MBA evolved into a body conditioning and strengthening master with a loyal following of serious fitness buffs.
Having grown up in Rye, Berenblum was always a competitive athlete, as well as a dedicated student. She attended Rye Neck Elementary School and then middle and high school at Rye Country Day, where her mother taught for 20 years. An overachiever, she was the captain of the Rye Country Day varsity field hockey, basketball and tennis teams. “Thanks to Rye Country Day, I was so prepared for college academically. I loved the teachers, as well as the sports and music programs,” she said.
The college to which Berenblum refers is Yale, where she earned her bachelor’s degree before heading to Harvard.
Forging a successful career, she went on to develop and launch consumer products as a marketing director, responsible for generating $500 million in sales annually.
She loved her job, but having children gave her pause.
“When the older of my two daughters started kindergarten, I decided I wanted to be home more and stop working evenings and weekends,” she said. “I wanted to be involved in my daughters’ school lives, so I quit my job and immediately felt a sense of relief. It was too hard to be the mom I wanted to be and to do my job 100%.”
How does a woman who takes corporate America by storm metamorphose into a popular yoga teacher? It seems the passion she brought to her marketing career and motherhood accompanies her everywhere. Throughout her education and career, Berenblum taught aerobics, sculpting, and kickboxing. After leaving her full-time job, she realized she could continue teaching fitness classes, albeit making some adjustments.
“When I decided to teach fitness as my primary job, I trained to teach the Barre Method and yoga, two disciplines that I knew I could teach for years,” said Berenblum, who left the high-impact aerobics of her past behind her. While the Barre Method is designed to strengthen every muscle and burn fat by performing exercises at a ballet barre, power yoga is essentially a vigorous fitness approach to vinyasa yoga.
“In total, I have been teaching in the fitness industry now for 25 years. I find that helping others achieve their physical goals to stay fit and healthy is incredibly rewarding.”
Berenblum says Vinyasa yoga is her true love. “Physically, it feels great. It gives you strength, flexibility and balance,” she said. “Yoga is also the only thing I can do where I can completely shut off my mind. We’re all used to multi-tasking, keeping a list of 15 things in our head and getting them all done in one day. When I go on my mat, that’s all there is and I love bringing this to people.”