Yoga Friend Spotlight
Here you'll find a collection of yoga friends sharing and speaking on why they practice yoga, what brought them to the practice and what keeps them coming back.
“Yoga feels like coming home and it very much feels like a place I’ve cultivated over the years. I started practicing roughly ten years ago and was intrigued but also intimidated by studio classes. I started in my living room with Rodney Yee then found a studio I deeply loved. I found that yoga started becoming a constant in a life marked by frequent flux. I fell out of practice and in practice and over the last few years I have found a rhythm to my practice. When my head feels “floaty” and full of buzz and when my breath becomes shallow and my body tense, I find safe space on my mat. My practice makes me feel connected.
My favorite poses: I really love twists and adding twists to poses
Malasana squat makes me feel grounded and connected. I like all the variations each of these poses offer and I practice them regularly.
Extended side angle is one of my current faves. This pose feels so good in my side body and I feel powerful in it.
Restorative anything: I enjoy the support of props and moving into that deep state of relaxation. Child’s pose truly calms my nervous system."
“I was introduced to yoga a little more than three years ago thanks to Erin, my first yoga teacher. In Spring 2017, still in my first year teaching here at OU, work was stressful and my health was taking the wrong turn. I gained bunch of weight and my lower back was constantly hurting perhaps due to sitting for hours and hours everyday in my office.
A friend suggested me to try yoga and I found out Erin teaches yoga, so I tried her very vigorous Vinyasa class without ever doing any yoga, it kicked my butt ! But I fell in love with yoga, it was something so different and wanted to know more, so I practiced more and more often by taking her classes.
Practicing yoga has changed my life, I started to look after myself by eating healthy and loose tons of weight. More importantly, yoga helps me to deal with stress. I love how I can just spend one hour to practice and not have to think of anything else.
Now I practice yoga daily (mainly Power Flow and Ashtanga), it has become an important part of my life. When I go travel, I visit yoga studios and meet new yogi friends. During this whole pandemic lock down period, yoga has carried me through both physically and mentally, going to virtual classes have become the highlights of my days (also nightly wine ).”
"I’ve been practicing yoga for a while, but it wasn’t until this year that I started practicing more than once a week.
In the Fall my partner, Kate, was healing from major surgery and I started going to yoga twice a week to keep myself grounded. When quarantining began this Spring I increased my practice to three, and sometimes four times a week, Zooming with Erin and with a teacher here in Chicago.
Oh my gosh yoga friends, what a difference that made! It appears that I’ve developed the capacity for flight (See the attached photos of me in pigeon pose).
More seriously, Erin’s classes have been a perfect place for me to develop the strength and flexibility I needed to make yoga a regular part of my life.
While I miss practicing with everyone in person, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to this point without multi-week Zoom classes. That’s at least one good thing that has happened during this crazy year that was different in so many ways from what I was expected when this all started way back in the Fall of 2019.
Namaste yoga friends!
Like a lot of things in my life I really think yoga found me. My relationship with my body has varied from intimate to nonexistent and when I first practiced yoga at the 2012 Nelsonville Music Festival I began the slow shift of actually relating with my body, coming out of disassociation and feeling more aliveness.
I've been practicing for almost ten years now, through living in several states and lots of ups and downs mentally and physically. Yoga has been with me through a lot. I've felt how grounding and centering coming to that mat can be when all else around me is chaos. And I love how I can connect with people I don't even know through our shared interest.
Grateful for all the teachers I've had including Jen Manelli, the studios Mandala Yoga and North Portland Yoga, Rene Sills, Michelle Stobart and the online videos of Adriene Mishler that make yoga so accessible.
a poem from the mat:
On the mat I can hear me,
I can hear my body.
I can focus and move.
On the mat I am in a space of discipline and choice at the same time
I am me and we. I am ready and not ready.
I am connected and alone. I am face to face with the me in this very moment
I meet myself where I am
On the mat I am a mover and a listener
I learned the terms “sukha” and “stirah” early on in my yoga journey. “Sthira” means steady and “sukha” ease. For me, yoga is essentially about balancing these two qualities; it’s finding stillness and comfort even in the most challenging spaces.
I went to my first yoga class as a freshman in college 10 years ago. I was doing a project on vegan and vegetarian diets, which lead me to a local studio. Jocelyn Rose, my teacher at the time, was very special. Meditation, pranayama, and savasana were integral parts of her classes, and I know now that that isn’t always the case. She is also a kirtan singer, and the music she’d play still lingers with me.
For me, yoga is a chance to tune into myself, sit with whatever arises, and breathe through it. It’s honing in on the present moment and accepting myself as I am wherever I am. Now that I’m a mom, my daily practice looks very different, but the essence hasn’t changed. I am grateful to have it, especially during these times.
I had done some yoga practices on YouTube infrequently for a few years, but Erin’s class was the first vinyasa class that I had ever attended. A live class was a great new experience for me.
There are so many components that draw me to yoga. Stepping foot on the mat offers me a time to slow down.
Mindful movement and breath are the best medicines for me. A focused yoga class offers a potent dose of each. It’s a time to focus on mindful movement and fight through some physical and mental adversity. In the end I feel refreshed and empowered; albeit, tired, naturally.
My main focus has always been the breath. They breath has always been my anchor.