Nick Combs was born and raised outside of Washington D.C. in Montgomery County, Maryland, although he attended elementary school here in Athens. He graduated nursing school in 2007 and moved back to Athens six years ago. He was a practicing registered nurse for eleven years, working in Cardiovascular ICU, Emergency Room, and finally Substance Abuse before opening and founding M3Yoga studio in Chase Street Warehouses, which is also where he lives with his partner Matt Chambers, co-owner of M3Yoga, and his two dogs, Bernie and Lola.
Nick was nominated by Sue Plaksin. Sue said in her nomination: “Nick (and Matt) are amazing talents and have created a beautiful, supportive community of yoga warriors. Founded on the principle, “Yoga is for every body” Nick and Matt have encouraged and supported me (and I am sure many) through a lifestyle change on and off the mat that is truly transforming. I never thought that a 10 minute visit to their booth at the AthHalf Half Marathon nearly 18 months ago would have turned into a new dedication of self-empowerment and personal growth. I love being part of this community of warriors and am learning not only about the benefits of yoga practice in everyday life, but that I am capable of much more than I ever thought I could be.”
What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Yoga was extremely healing for me in a lot of ways, both physically and mentally. I taught it a long time on the side because it was my passion as I was doing nursing. Then I had a moment where I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I felt the need for a career shift and I was planning on going back to school to be a nurse practitioner. And then I realized that was not what I wanted to do at all. So, I decided to hustle and teach yoga full time for a little bit. I taught at practically every studio in town, and then I opened my little spot just for therapeutic private yoga sessions. I felt there was a need for someone with a little more medical knowledge to help people through yoga. I was working with a lot of people with Multiple Sclerosis, Scoliosis and Parkinson’s. Then everything kind of happened very serendipitously. The tree room building became available and was brought to my attention over a text from the owner. We thought it would make a cool yoga studio, so I decided to open a yoga studio pretty instantly. It was a moment in my life where I walked into a space, and just knew, really knew. I love the space over there. It is magical. So we took the jump. I was scared and excited and we were very well-received by the Athens community, which we are really, really grateful for. We launched two teacher trainings and we were looking for more space; we grew so quickly that it became really apparent that we needed a larger space to be able to help all the people who wanted to practice with us. That is really what M3Yoga was founded on was the desire to help people through the modality of yoga. I felt at that moment that I was better able to serve people through yoga than I was nursing.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I would like to go all over Southeast Asia, including India, China, Thailand, Japan. It is so culturally different. Also, owning a studio I would love to go to India, the birthplace of yoga. I love to travel. I think that immersing yourself in different cultures can be really, really beneficial for self-development.
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you love there?
I love Peking. Their General Tso’s tofu is really crispy and is so good. That is my go to. I also really love oysters at Seabear.
What is your favorite movie, or what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
My favorite movie would probably be the original Beauty and the Beast. I am also a sucker for any type of international spy thriller.
What is a piece of advice you give often?
I tell people to trust their intuition a lot. I think we have a deeper connection to ourselves than we realize and a lot of times this world gets us really clouded and we already have the answer inside of us that we are looking for. So, if we would just take a second to listen, it can be powerful.
If you could see any show or band, dead or alive, who or what would it be and where?
I would probably say Janice Joplin in a dive bar.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
Yoga! Just kidding. Particularly in the summertime, I just love to be outside in a lot of ways, whether that is running or just wandering around downtown or the parks. I just love to be outside in Athens, especially in the summer when it is a little bit more chill. I really like hot weather.
What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t realize that I worked for five years at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the open heart ICU.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Comfort, safety and possibility.