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Learning Experiences

Publish date: Feb 27, 2012

One in a series of stories about student-athletes who have exhibited exceptional educational motivation in their field of study.

Georgian Court tennis player accentuates a positive lifestyle

By Andrew Crum
NCAA.org

At the age of 16, Sarah Lockenmeyer found inspiration at an unlikely time: while her mother was being treated for breast cancer. 

Sarah Lockenmeyer

Rather than experiencing the usual sadness or anger, Lockenmeyer did what she always does and looked for the positive. 

“It was very eye-opening,” she said. “I got really inspired to learn about the cancer and how to treat it. I just started reading books about healing.” 

Her inspiration led to learning everything she could about nutrition and ways to battle cancer through diet and food intake. She even spoke to everyone she worked with at the local health foods store, hoping to learn something new. Little did she know that the situation would shape her life, her lifestyle, and the overall investment into her own health and wellness.

Lockenmeyer’s concern for her mother’s well-being turned into curiosity. The more she learned about nutrition and wellness, the more she became interested. She became more conscious of her food choices, her food intake and her nutrition, began practicing yoga and realized that a body is based on what goes into it. 

“I believe in the mind, body and soul perspective,” she said.

Lockenmeyer, a Georgian Court women's tennis student-athlete, was inspired by her mother's battle with breast cancer to pursue a healthier lifestyle.

Lockenmeyer arrived at Georgian Court in Lakewood, N.J., as a transfer student after her freshman year and found her special place. 

“I literally just happened to walk by it,” she said of the Yoga Basin in nearby Asbury Park. It appealed to her interests and lifestyle. After trading nutritional information with some employees, she was soon working there. Yoga Basin offered her a chance to learn more about holistic health and nutrition while also allowing her to consult with people based on her own knowledge. She balanced this with her class schedule and her duties as a member of Adrienne Ballingall’s tennis team.

One aspect of her lifestyle change was her daily practice of Kundalini yoga. 

“It’s the yoga of awaking, it is a preparation for meditation and it’s a great way to start your day,” Lockenmeyer said, “Just five minutes of clarity and calmness really help put things in perspective.” 

Lockenmeyer practices yoga daily and teaches a class at Georgian Court.

With a demanding schedule rotating among classes, tennis and her work as a holistic health coach, the few minutes that she has to spare are important. But because it has enriched her life so much, she has chosen to share her knowledge and teaches a yoga class at Georgian Court each Thursday. 

It is, however, more than a hobby. The senior communications major received her certification as a Holistic Nutritional Therapist from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She currently is working on a minor in the holistic health program at Georgian Court. She also formed her own company within the last year to help teenage girls. Using her mind, body and soul foundation, she teaches nutritional health, body image and self-esteem to improve wellness. 

Lockenmeyer said her studies in communications and her interest in wellness have meshed perfectly with her career ambitions.

“Every class I have taken (has) made me a better writer,” she said, also noting the benefits of classes on web design and public speaking opportunities. “Every speech I did was for my classes first,” Lockenmeyer said. 

Those skills have helped her maximize her positive-lifestyle message.

Adrienne Ballingall, her tennis coach, describes Lockenmeyer as “a gentle, quiet leader,” one who leads through positive reinforcement. “She is positive through everything, every situation that arises,” Ballingal said. “She has a calming effect.” 

Lockenmeyer has even affected her teammates’ eating habits, especially on the road. The team now “looks to find a Trader Joe’s rather than a fast-food restaurant,” Ballingall said.  

Healthy eating is another staple of Lockenmeyer's lifestyle.

Lockenmeyer hopes to expand to an office space near her apartment by the fall as her client list grows. Her dream one day is to have a healing center where people can learn hands-on healthy cooking, assess food labels to find the best options, take a yoga class or a come for support for those with cancer. 

“It’s not about sacrifice,” she said of her message. “It’s about moderation, learning how to change for the better.” 

She also wants to expand her services to athletes and show how her program can better meet their nutritional needs. 

With her mother in remission from her cancer for three years, Lockenmeyer now looks toward her graduation and the business plans that lie beyond. So far, it has been an especially satisfying – and healthy – journey.

 “When you change the inside,” she said, “you change the outside for the better, too.”