Meet our members
My relationship with yoga started 2 years ago when my roommate introduced me to Virginia. I remember walking into my first class full of misconceptions. I had the impression everyone was strong, flexible and effortlessly able to do all the postures. What I learned is that it is not just about doing the poses. It’s about you. It’s purely individual in the way that soccer and basketball and all other team sports are not. There’s no room to feel self-conscious besides the occasional wardrobe check because we all look kind of ridiculous anyways. Everyone is focused on their own practice and simply not falling. There’s no external pressure or deadline to get a bind or headstand . We take our time. We leave our ego at the door and exercise lots of patience. If I can manage this, my practice becomes fulfilling and rewarding in surprising ways.
I used to have a feeling of urgency in my practice. A feeling that I have to get to this or that pose faster, bind deeper. I thought I could bypass all the steps in between and jump right into the finishing pose. Without too much convincing, I realized there are no shortcuts. You risk injuring yourself by trying to kick up into a handstand without building the foundation for it. Even though it may not seem like anything is happening while setting up; you are working from the ground up. There’s no pressure or deadline and I am in no hurry. No matter how small a step is; it’s a strong solid step as long as I keep trying. And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll patiently wait and try again.
Today, I’m happy with what my body can do. It took me 8 months of committed practice to nail crow. I’m finally at the point where I can stay in crow for a good solid 5 seconds. It’s been rewarding because I know each baby step I took brought me here. Whether it was just setting up for crow with both feet on the ground or lifting one foot, it got me here. I can grab my toe in standing half lotus, my feet can finally touch the floor in plow and my headstand is ALMOST there. It might take me months or even years to finally get it on my own, but that’s fine with me. My practice is rewarding and satisfying in so many ways.
I am inspiring friends and family to live more actively. With any luck, I’ll still be kicking it with yoga in my 60’s. I still wish I could “get there” faster, but that’s part of the fun. When it does happen, I will be grateful I showed up and practiced.
Growing up, I compared myself to my stick skinny Asian counterparts and constantly felt fat. I was told that I had big, sturdy bones. My thighs were often referred to as the ever-endearing thunder variety. And then when I compared myself to my Caucasian friends, I felt short, small-chested, and simply too ethnic. Needless to say, I've struggled with poor self-image for most of my life. And though I've always been athletically inclined (playing competitive sports in high school, and staying active into adulthood), nothing prepared me for the changes my body would undergo after having three babies in three years. Any self-confidence I previously had suffered tremendously when a newfound softer belly, legs, and arms stubbornly refused to change. I also cursed motherhood for
causing brain fog, constant fatigue, and energy crashes.
At the beginning of this year, inspired by a co-worker's success with Whole30 and convicted after doing much research, I decided to change the way I ate. I discovered that eating the Paleo way eliminated the brain fog, constant fatigue, and energy crashes I experienced daily. I leaned out noticeably without changing my physical activity, going from 139 to 133 lbs within one month. I was happy with the results, but I wanted more. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to be fitter than I had ever been. You could call it a mid-life crisis or an epiphany, or maybe it was just plain fear of illness caused by watching sick, unhealthy people check into the ER week after week.
"It wasn't easy, but I chose to just show up and work."
That's when I met Shaun. In May 2013, following the recommendation of a friend, I checked out Prana Vibe and signed up for a membership. On June 1st, I took on strength and conditioning whole-heartedly and have never looked back since. It wasn't easy, but I chose to just show up and work. I had to carve out time away from my family 4-5 days each week to get to Prana Vibe. I had to overcome nerves and fear of failure at the beginning of each class and just jump in.
I banged myself up while learning correct mechanics. I had to constantly provide justification for doing what I was doing because mainstream thinking wants people to believe that CrossFit is dangerous, and that women who lift heavy look like men.
Ignoring the white noise, I focused instead on the things that Shaun emphasized: mechanics, consistency, and intensity.
I went from 133 to 125lbs in a short period of time while gaining significant muscle mass and definition. At 37 years old, I am proud of what my body can do: climb a rope, occasionally stick a handstand, do a strict pull-up (almost!), AND lift some heavy stuff! The outward physical changes are also apparent: a soft belly is replaced with abdominal definition; soft legs are now powerful ones that can jump, drive, push, and row; soft arms are now strong and defined ones that can pull, press, lift, climb, and swing.
I also like to believe that I've inspired at least a few people to eat cleaner, and to live more actively. On top of all that, I've joined an incredibly supportive community and made friends with smart, talented, STRONG people.
Since starting strength and conditioning with Shaun at Prana Vibe, I've been called things I never thought I was: lean, strong, nimble, quick. The difference now is that I am actually starting to believe these things about myself. That small, yet significant, boost in my self-image and self-confidence is more valuable than six-pack abs, strong legs, and defined arms could ever be. But I'll surely take those side effects any day of the week. :)
Sandra's Yoga Journey
At the ripe "old" age of 23 I discovered I couldn't touch my toes without bending my knees...no bueno. This was seriously upsetting to me and shockingsince I have always considered myself an athlete. From as early as I can remember I was always playing a sport. You name it, I played it. Ok, well to be honest I haven't played EVERY sport...no rugby, field hockey, cricket...but I had all the basics covered. So when I bent down that shiny morning to see if I could touch the ground,I was pretty dang shocked I couldn't. What happened? Where did my flexibility go? I didn't play sports in college, but I did frequent a gym so what happened? Ugh!
During this whole "discovery" I of course vented to my roommate. She was the one who gave me the bright idea to try yoga. Enter Rodney Yee.
I think it was his peaceful voice and his calm strength that first peeked my interest. Slowly, through my precious video watching, I learned to breathe deeply and to listen to my body. At this point and for the next 9 years yoga became part of what I did to relax and maintain flexibility. This is when I would say I first "fell in like" with my dear friend yoga.
Fast forward 8 years to getting up the nerve to actually go to a yoga class, at a gym! I don't know really why it took me so long to go a live class, with a real live teacher, and real live participants. I guess, part of me was afraid of the horror stories I had heard of flatulence...I didn't want to be THAT person. Another part of me didn't think yoga was going to give me any kind of a good workout....at least not like my dear Rodney. But most likely the deeper reason was that I was afraid I wouldn't look like I knew what I was doing.
"I fell in serious like with yoga"
So lucky for me I walked in to a class being taught by a strong, beautiful Yogi*, who proceeded to kick my tuchas. So much so did she kick my tuchas that I was hooked. Maybe not right away, but after attending this mad woman's class week in and week out, I “fell in serious like” with yoga, more accurately said - HER YOGA.
I was amazed at the things she could do, at her complete body control, and struck by her words…she was actually normal; well my kind of normal. And she was so strong. So flexible. So calm (unless she told us a story about her road-rage...haha). So well-balanced – physically of course, but also, and more importantly, mentally well-balanced. I knew somewhere inside me dwelled this liked minded/spirited creature and I wanted to dig her up.
Listen to your body... She is talking to you
13 months ago, I quit the gym and went full time yoga….best work-out/activity-based decision I ever made, for me. The gym was great and all….I was going to a spin class a couple times a week, running 1 to 2 times a week, going to yoga a couple times a week, and lifting weights 1 to 2 times a week. I was always sore – my back hurt, my knees KILLED and they would give out on me just by walking up steps or getting out of my car. I was a mess. So I said forget it. No mas! Only yoga (and maybe some running – I really do enjoy a cold morning jaunt around the neighborhood).
Best. Decision. Ever. I swear. I’m not going to say my body still doesn’t hurt because it does, but I don’t feel incapacitated by it. I’m not going to say I didn’t get injured in any way because that’s not true either. But through my committed practice I learned to listen better. LISTENING BETTER HELPS.
So now my knees don’t bitch at me anymore. My back complains from time to time, but a few down dogs and up dogs, maybe throw in a back bend and fold forward and my back quiets down. My overall strength and flexibility improved. I mean, my STRENGTH improved…how weird is that? My practice is rewarding and pleasing in the most uncomplicated ways; it makes me feel plain ole’ good.
Me and yoga are in it for the long-haul. Nothing we do is rushed. We practice a lot of patience together…we leave our ego at the door (as preached by my favorite Yogi). Oh the PATIENCE….what a challenge. I always used to say “Patience is NOT one of my virtues” and I don’t believe it is – yet, but it’s getting there. Face-planting, while rolling over your nose, trying to get up in traditional headstand helps you learn that lesson. Aching knees from attempting lotus too soon helps you learn that lesson too. LISTEN to your body….she is talking to you.
It took me 8 months of committed practice to get all the way up to a wobbly traditional headstand. A full year to get up without worrying that I will fall – I think I’m finally at a point where my legs are straight STRAIGHT. It’s taken a while, I know. But every increment of improvement has been unbelievably rewarding. I love baby steps because they are solid steps, no matter how small, they are SOLID. Now, when my finger-tips graze each other in one of those God-forsaken binds I smile….almost there. It might take me another number of months, maybe even year, to actually get a grip on my own, but that’s ok. And if a pose never comes then so be it; I’ll keep trying.
So here I am….a happy Yogi….in a humbling, patient relationship with Yoga and always trying to listen carefully. Always practicing in the body I have today (also preached by my favorite Yogi). I imagine Yoga and I won’t always getalong, but that’s when I will humbly stop and listen again and try to be patient.