Yogi of the Month ~ Christine Horwart

How long have you been practicing?   Not long enough.

What’s your favorite pose and why?   Depends on the day.  My body, mind and spirit dictate.

In 10 words or less describe why you love yoga: Yoga makes me a better person.

How does your yoga practice benefit your other passions/hobbies?  I am stronger, yet more forgiving.  A powerful combination.

Why did you start practicing yoga?  I truly don’t remember.  Divine intervention?

How does yoga impact your everyday life?  I am stronger, yet more forgiving.  A powerful combination.

What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing?  Yoga is for sissies.  

Yogi of the Month ~ Madalyn Overstreet

How long have you been practicing?
A little less than a year

What’s your favorite pose and why?
Tree pose is my favorite because it's the one pose I can count on where my mind is completely still and   I can just be present.

In 10 words or less describe why you love yoga:
Yoga helped me reach peace and simplicity in life. 

How does your yoga practice benefit your other passions/hobbies?
Yoga has become my hobby. I find myself more curious about the origins and different practices. It has helped me break out of my comfort zone.

Why did you start practicing yoga?
I started practicing yoga because a friend convinced me to try it out. I continued yoga because it became a stable thing I could count on to fulfill my day.

How does yoga impact your everyday life?
Yoga has helped me find the positive in any situation presented. I feel more balanced in all aspects of life, personal, work, and physical. The teachers and other yogis have helped me to feel more confident than ever.

What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing?
The one misconception I had was that you needed to be flexible. I quickly learned it is all about letting your body be where it needs to be that day. Fully into the pose or just child's pose.

Yoga embraces Wabi Sabi, "the wisdom and beauty in imperfections."

Teacher Feature ~ Rebecca Davis

Rebecca teacher Friday 6 am Hot Flow and Friday 5:45 pm Community Yoga. 

Favorite pose and why? My favorite pose is always changing; it’s typically whatever pose I last hated the most and now feel strong or flexible enough to now do.

10 words or less on why I love yoga: It taught me to trust and enjoy process as opposed to worrying about outcome.

How do you remain grounded outside the yoga studio? I remain grounded outside the yoga studio by spending time with my husband who, after more than 20 years, still cracks me up and helps me see things from a fresh perspective. And, nothing makes me appreciate being alive more than being outdoors.

Advice to a beginning yogi? (and all yogis, for that matter) Your body, no matter what, is amazing. Revel in what you are capable of, regardless of where you’re starting or where you may have once been.

Favorite mantra or intention? Intention: be present, be kind

Biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor? The biggest misconception I see about being a yoga instructor is that instructors are different from students (e.g. that we are super flexible or “natural” at yoga). We all bring our own set of challenges to the mat and seek to develop our own relationship with yoga and ourselves.

One healthy food I swear by and why? I don’t swear but any particular food but try to avoid processed foods. And, I have a long-standing, deep commitment  to high-quality dark chocolate. :-)

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Yogi of the Month ~ Gita Chakrabarti

How long have you been practicing?  15 years or more.  The first good classes I went to were in early 2000. 



What’s your favorite pose and why?  I love many poses, but plow is my favorite.  It’s a good shoulder and back stretch for those of that sit hunched over a computer.  I also love that it pulls your whole body out.



In 10 words or less describe why you love yoga: It’s relaxing and makes your whole day and relationships better. 



How does your yoga practice benefit your other passions/hobbies?  Yoga helps me balance motherhood – I have a busy 4 year old – and an intense job.



Why did you start practicing yoga?  I started to practice in earnest after a white water rafting injury cause some hip and pelvis mis-alignments



How does yoga impact your everyday life?  It puts things in balance and helps you breathe.  I can do whatever kind of yoga I need on a given day – a hot flow during the week if I need to lose some energy, or a deep restorative if I want to relax and complete chill out and make the weekend an even better detox.



What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing?  It’s really great exercise and changes the shape of your body.

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Teacher Feature ~ Beth Day

Beth teaches Lamaze Prenatal Yoga as well as Hot Flow.

Favorite pose and why:

Headstand.  I love inversions in general, but headstand helps me feel so grounded and centered and at the same time childlike and playful.

First introduced to yoga:
When I was in high school, (20 years ago) my mom bought 3 VHS videos - Power Yoga 1, 2, and 3 by Bryan Kest.  I practiced in my living room and learned those videos by heart.  Sometimes I find myself using phrases or cues from the videos when I teach today.

10 words or less on why I love yoga:
Yoga is a powerful way to access my higher self.

How does my practice make me stronger:
The focus on the breath - constant and calm even in the midst of challenge or difficulty has impacted every area of my life.  When I find myself in one of life’s many difficult moments, I always know I can get through it with the breath.

How do you remain grounded outside the yoga studio:
I ground myself when I hold my children and breath deep. 

Advice to beginner yogi:
Just. Show. Up.  Keep coming and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in a week, a month, a year, 5 years.  Just keep coming.

Mantra or intention:
I can do hard things.

Biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor:

Yoga instructors never fall. 

One healthy food I swear by and why:

Dark leafy greens - kale, spinach, Swiss chard.  They make you feel alive!

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Yogi of the Month ~ Romilla Pandita

How long have you been practicing?

I have been doing yoga for 3 years but have been regular only after joining Yoga Story.

What’s your favorite pose and why?

My favorite pose is the Warrior pose. It gives me a sense of balance.

In 10 words or less describe why you love yoga: 

Yoga gives me a sense of peace and calm which normally I don't experience.
 
How does your yoga practice benefit your other passions/hobbies?

Frankly speaking at present my only passion/hobby is Yoga. But even my routines look less daunting the day I practice yoga. My concentration increases and I worry less about the unknowns.
 
Why did you start practicing yoga?
I started yoga as a form of exercise to keep fit but now I treat it as something essential for my mental and physical well being.

How does yoga impact your everyday life?
Yoga helps me keep calm. I am able to be less attached to unnecessary stuff and laugh at silly stuff.
 
What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing?

I started practicing yoga as a way of exercise to increase strength and flexibility. Though I get all of that by practicing yoga, I have realized with time what I cherish more is the mental peace and calm I get as a result. As a wise man said, "Yoga is internal engineering."

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Teacher Feature ~ Erin Truitt

Erin teaches Kids Adventure Yoga and Yoga Body Boost.
Join Erin for a special Kids Adventure Yoga Series at Rollie Pollie this summer. Register Here!
Favorite pose and why?

Dragon Flying High pose because it is a deep hip flexor stretch with many variations. We sit in chairs way too much in our culture, and this is the perfect counter movement! It also feels great after a long run or bike ride.

First introduced to yoga?

Our vicar’s wife from a church we attended 11 years ago was a yoga instructor who studied under Baron Baptiste. She led free yoga classes at the church one night a week and convinced me to try it out. I loved the individual attention and adjustments she provided, which provided a great knowledge base for me in proper alignment in many poses.

10 words or less on why I love yoga?

Yoga is about balance: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.

How does my practice make me stronger?

I have mild scoliosis, but when I practice yoga regularly, my hips often realign. I love unilateral poses to help balance both sides of my body making them equally strong and less prone to injury. I also don’t do well in extreme heat conditions, so hot yoga helps ease my body (and mind) into tolerating the hot Arkansas summer.

How do you remain grounded outside the yoga studio?

I try to bring balance to every aspect of my life. Outdoor and indoor. Activity and rest. Learning and teaching. Talking and listening. Family and career.

Advice to beginner yogi?

Don’t try to be anyone else. Some people will be more flexible than you. Some people will be stronger than you. Some people will be more knowledgeable than you. Watch more advanced students for direction and inspiration, but endeavor to be the best YOU and encourage other beginners who come after you to do the same!

Mantra or intention?

“Encourage”. Everyone has potential and purpose and deserves to be appreciated for who they are and the uniqueness they bring to the world.

Biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor?

That I must be incredibly flexible. I have short arms and torso and long legs, and my anatomy simply will not allow for depth in some poses. I keep practicing and expanding my practice as I can, but our bodies are all a little different!

One healthy food I swear by and why?

Spinach. I love its versatility! It is easy to sneak into every meal of the day, including sweet baked goods. My kids were shocked the first time they saw pancakes that were NOT brownish-green, ha!




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Yogi's of the Month ~ Mark and Lisa Hufford

How long have you been practicing yoga?
Mark ~ I began practicing yoga in January of 2016 with my wife Lisa.
Lisa ~ I've been practicing since Jan. 2016. I started because I was invited by a friend and found out Mark was interested in trying it too.

What's your favorite pose & why?
Mark ~ Not sure I have a favorite pose, but I love moving through the chataranga's (no idea how to spell that) as a foundation element to each practice. In any endeavor you have to love and
embrace the foundational aspects and disciplines - no matter if your a novice or expert.
Lisa ~ My favorite pose is half pigeon. My hips are always tight and it's such a great stretch!

10 words or less describing why I love yoga?
Mark ~It's a fun, sweat inducing, breath relaxing, core
strengthening, flexibility-enhancing, teacher inspired challenge! (Sorry 12 words).
Lisa ~ I love yoga because it encompasses all areas of fitness including breath control and focus.

How does your yoga practice benefit your other passions/hobbies?
Mark ~ Yoga benefits my overall goal of maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle which includes doing
things like hiking, tennis and working out.
Lisa ~ I play a lot of tennis and yoga is a great balance to all the pounding on the court.

Why did you start practicing yoga?
Mark ~ I started practicing yoga through encouragement that it might help my chronic low back and hip
pain - and it really has!
Lisa ~ My body feels better when I'm consistent with yoga and I'm more mindful of being in the moment.

What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing?
Mark ~ My misconception about yoga is an embarrassing one. I had no interest in doing yoga because
I was one of those guys who thought yoga was something that only women do............. I stand
corrected and my only regret is not doing yoga years ago!
Lisa ~ The biggest misconception I had about yoga was that it was easy and mostly stretching. Boy, was I wrong! Who knew I could sweat that much!:)

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A Yogi Does Lent ~ Lynn Hancock

I grew up Southern Baptist so Lent wasn’t an Easter ritual we really participated in.  And I never really thought of participating in it until I got older and then it was by picking something pretty easy to give up.  Often times, it lasted about a week or so and I pretty much quit after that. 
 
Here’s why this year was different.  Warning, I’m about to be transparent (gasp).  #authentic.  My husband thinks I am too transparent at times – that I need to be more guarded.  But personally, I think that’s where people get in trouble.  When they hide or put on a good face on the outside when things are not going well in the inside.  Now this doesn’t mean that you need to share every single feeling with everyone, but I’m not the type of person to act like I’m okay if I’m not.  So this brings me to the transparent part.  After purchasing the studio in October, my life changed & change often brings extra stress into a person’s life.  I slipped into a habit of having a few beers or glasses of wine at night to help me unwind and de-stress.  No big deal, you say?  The big deal was that this was the main thing what I was relying on to help me manage my stress.  Except that it wasn’t.  I wasn’t sleeping well, I was gaining weight, I was over eating when I drank because it dehydrates you and that can lead to sodium cravings, resulting in eating foods higher in sodium, and making you feel more thirsty, and on and on.  It’s why bars offer pretzels and other salty foods.  So you’ll drink more. 
 
One day, while I was teaching class, I was really encouraging students to focus on their drishti, to not try and escape an intense pose and retrain your brain to breathe through the intensity and maintain their focus.  And that’s when I realized.  I was being a big, fat, boozy hypocrite.  Was I not using alcohol to help me escape the extra intensity and stress my life change had introduced into my life?  Using it to help me fall asleep (only to be woken up around 2 or 3 a.m. once my blood sugar went down and my liver was processing the alcohol).  Here I was telling my students to “just breathe” and I couldn’t do that myself. 

Julie, our account manager, wrote a blog a few months ago called Dry January and I thought well, if Julie can do it (and has been maintaining it, claiming she feels great), then why can’t I?  So I set off on my own dry month…Dry March.  It just so happened to coincide with Lent, so I stretched out Dry March into a spiritual focus.  After all, isn’t that what yoga is about?  Helping us clear out our own mental, emotional and physical baggage so we can have a better spiritual connection to the Divine?

I kept a calendar because I like data.  And I like checking things off.  The first week was hard.  It was about breaking habits more than really wanting a beer or a glass of wine.  It was trying to tell my body that it shouldn’t do something it was used to doing.  But I discovered something.  I really liked carbonation vs. really liking the taste of beer.  So several cases of La Croix replaced cases of beer.  I slept better.  I didn’t stay up as late and I didn’t wake up as frequently.  I recovered better between runs (I am marathon training).  I drank more water.  We saved more money (alcohol is expensive yo!).  Each week got a little bit easier but some were harder than others.  I felt lighter, did my yogi nidra more often to help me fall asleep easier vs. having a drink.  I prayed a bit more often, though not as often as I should have. 

Lent came to a close this past Saturday and so did my fasting.  I had some mimosas at Easter brunch.  But that was it.  Nothing at bedtime and I don’t plan on it for tonight either.  I don’t plan on going back to where I was before.  I know that I have tools in my toolbox that I can use outside of my yoga practice and I plan on using them.  I didn’t experience any breakthroughs or having any spiritual epiphanies but I recognize that life change doesn’t happen in big thunderous claps of change.  Instead in happens in small concentrated breaths.  And in one prayer at a time.  

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Yogi of the Month ~ George Spear

How long have been practicing?

I have been practicing since approximately December of 2013

What’s your favorite pose and why?

I like “Chair” pose and variations of it like “revolved” when we twist left or twist right while in chair.  o Chair pose makes me feel “grounded” and I can truly feel the impact of stretching to places that are not typically reached in a more cardio based regimen.

In 10 words or less describe why you love yoga.

I love Yoga because its peaceful, calming, challenging, reduces stress, and provides flexibility and strength.

How does your yoga practice benefit your other passions & hobbies?

My Yoga practice benefits my other passions and hobbies because it complements
yet reinforces those passions. My other interests and hobbies include family time & events, running, music, singing, and other types of exercise like biking. I have found that the physical and mental balance that yoga provides helps me with those activities by reducing stress and keeping me strong.

Why did you start practicing yoga?

I started practicing Yoga because after 13-14 years of running (9 marathons, many half marathons, and some back surgery, too), I had to find better balance, core strength, and flexibility. I also needed to find even more life balance.  I found Yoga Story because my two oldest daughters had danced ballet for over a decade and had been to Yoga Story and encouraged me to try it.

How does yoga impact your everyday life?

Yoga impacts my everyday life because 1st I have met great people at YS and that’s affected me in a positive way each day. Then, in addition, my everyday life has been impacted because the Yoga classes and workshops have help shaped a completely new regimen for me to build core strength and flexibility, both mentally and physically.

What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing?

I don’t think the general population, especially people who have recreationally played traditional sports like football, basketball, & baseball, truly understand how physically strenuous Yoga is. I still remember the 1st few months of being in Lynn’s classes and because of my lack of flexibility and core strength, I thought I’d never make it through the 1st 15 minutes of class, let alone be able to pull off the Bow pose.

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