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It's time to get your Zen on!

September 10, 2021

It's time to get your Zen on!

Happy National Yoga Month, Après fam! 

Whether you’ve completed your 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training on a retreat in Bali or you just own several pairs of yoga pants and you’re on a mission to find your inner yogi, we want to encourage you to spend some time on your mat this month. Maintaining a regular yoga practice can provide both incredible physical and mental health benefits. We’re talking improves strength, balance and flexibility, heart health, better sleep, more energy, reduces stress, relieves anxiety and depression...seriously the list goes on. We chatted with some of our favorite yoga studios to hear all about their practice and what it means to them.

Grassroots Yoga, Ventura, CA (website)

A: What has your yoga journey been like and why did you decide to become a teacher? 

Nicole: It all started in gym class back in 2000! My teacher brought us this new form of exercise and I was enthralled. Growing up in MI, we didn’t have a lot of yoga options outside of that, but when I moved to CA in 2008, I found the practice of Bikram. I was hooked for years until I found a Vinyasa flow at a studio near my corporate job. It was there that I found my way to teaching, quitting my corporate job, moving to Ventura, CA and starting my teaching career. 

A: How has yoga impacted your daily life? 

Nicole: Yoga is my way of staying centered. I’ve learned that we must move, breath and connect with our inner self to be able to navigate this chaotic world. 

A: What is the most important lesson yoga has taught you? 

Nicole:To breathe. 

A: What is your favorite yoga pose? 

Nicole: Anything heart opening! Being able to counteract the shutting down of the front side of our bodies. We do this daily in computer work, texting, and well, with our justifiable guard that we put up to the outside world. Getting into Dhanurasana (bow pose) or Ustrasana (camel pose) allows us to open this space back up to vulnerability while being protected on our mat. 

A: What is the biggest myth about yoga? 

Nicole: That you need to be flexible to practice. 

A: What advice would you give someone who is trying to find their inner yogi? 

Nicole: Stop searching. It is already there. Every time you show up for yourself on your mat, in mediation or focus on your breath, you are there.

 

Urban Vybe | Dynamic Yoga & FitnessFlower Mound, TX (website)

A: What has your yoga journey been like and why did you decide to become a teacher?

Jo: I was teaching a number of fitness classes at a local gym years ago & developed sciatica/deep pain in my hips. It had gotten so bad, I couldn’t sit or sleep for any length of time. Nothing seemed to help. Doctors wanted to put me on muscle relaxants, but I had 3 small children at home & didn’t think that was a wise idea. I finally found a sports chiropractor who diagnosed my hip pain as periformis syndrome. The remedy… stretching. He gave me some tennis ball stretches to do at home & before I left, he recommended I take some yoga classes. I had never taken a yoga class, nor paid any attention to stretching, which my body desperately needed. I ventured into some yoga classes & within a week, my severe pain had completely disappeared. It was truly life changing. I soon fell in love with yoga & started my first teacher training in 2002.

A: How has yoga impacted your daily life?

Jo: It literally healed my physical body. I’ve never felt so good, so strong, so balanced, so mobile & completely pain free. I can now sleep soundly at night & I follow a purely clean, plant based, vegan diet. It has also changed me mentally & emotionally. Yoga has taught me how to be more mindful in my life; in my thoughts, words, & actions. It has taught me to be more compassionate & less judgmental toward myself & others. It has taught me how to deal with everyday stress in a more healthy way, how to stay present in every moment, & to appreciate the sacred moments of life – to live in the NOW.

A: What is the most important lesson yoga has taught you?

Jo: It’s taught me that my health is my wealth! There is nothing worse or more debilitating than suffering from pain in your body &/or your mind. When you finally find healing, you appreciate living pain free so much more.

A: What is your favorite yoga pose?

Jo: I should say Pigeon Pose since I practice it often to help my hips, but honestly, I love Child’s Pose. It grounds me, & since you practice it with your eyes closed, it is the one true pose that helps draw my awareness inward & connects me to my spirit. 

A: What is the biggest myth about yoga?

Jo: That you have to be flexible to practice yoga! Yoga is for everyone & everyone can practice yoga, even if it’s just practicing some yoga breathing. And if you are not flexible, yoga is the best way to help increase your flexibility!

A: What advice would you give someone who is trying to find their inner yogi?

Jo: Find a reputable studio that specializes in & is well-known for their exceptional yoga classes. They typically have highly trained, knowledgeable yoga teachers who can help guide you on your journey. There are many gyms & fitness centers who hire yoga teachers who are poorly trained or have had little to no training at all.

 

SWEAT Yoga StudioAlbuquerque, NM (website)

A: What has your yoga journey been like and why did you decide to become a teacher?

Marisa: My yoga journey began as a little girl when my father taught me to meditate. He called it “time traveling” and would tell me to use my mind to go out into the world to see and travel wherever I wanted. After some time, he would ring a bell and tell me to “come back.” Afterwards, we would do a little asana practice which always included poses like plow and shoulder stand followed by the counter stretch, fish pose. I continued my yoga practice throughout my adult life and became a teacher so that I could help others discover a practice that is so well rounded that it miraculously addresses body, mind, and spirit all in one sitting! 

A: How has yoga impacted your daily life? 

Marisa: Yoga makes me a better person. End of story. Even if I don’t make it onto my mat, yoga in daily life for me is being less reactive, more present, and more aware of how I move through this world. Recently I read that "yoga is the practice which empowers one to overcome the obstacles of the mind for the purpose of the self experiencing its own true nature," so good!

A: What is the most important lesson yoga has taught you? 

Marisa: Yoga has taught me to breathe! The breath can be used in so many ways both on and off the mat. My breath helps me to stay present, focused, and grounded. If I ever feel anxious and stressed, come back to my breath. If I feel nervous, my breath. If I am doing something strenuous, deepen my breath. Control of the breath in yoga leads directly to control and calmness of the mind. 

A: What is your favorite yoga pose? 

Marisa: Child's pose, crow, triangle and savasana of course!

A: What is the biggest myth about yoga? 

Marisa: That you have to be flexible!

A: What advice would you give someone who is trying to find their inner yogi? 

Marisa: Just step onto your mat. Notice the journey - where you begin is so important because it gives you a place for your mind and body to gauge how far you have come in your practice. A fresh start is the best place to begin!

 Namaste, friends. 🧘‍♀️