Yogi of the Month ~ Lynette Menna

How long have you been practicing?  I have been practicing yoga regularly for a little over 1 year.

 

Any advice on how to make time for practice with a busy work/family schedule? I am blessed with a great support system at home and with friends.  I often have a friend, my husband or my daughter join me in class.  I take advantage of the weekend and evening classes and yoga is a priority in my life.  I need it so much to balance my life, that I make sure and attend between 2-4 classes in a week. 

 

Describe your yoga practice in one word: Essential

 

Why did you start practicing yoga? Honestly, I was going through a very difficult time in my life and was having difficulty sleeping and suffered from a lot of anxiety.  Yoga story classes have helped me learn so much about myself and taught me how ‘breath’.  It has changed my life for the better!

 

How does yoga impact your everyday life?  Well, I have great balance standing on one foot now!  I remember to breath more, manage my anxiety and sleep better. My overall quality of life is better when I do yoga.

 

What misconceptions about yoga, if any, were changed after you started practicing? I thought that I couldn’t do it because I had chronic neck pain.  But the teachers taught me how to listen to my body and build up gradually.  There are so many different levels and classes at Yoga Story that I was able to go at my own pace. A year later, I surprise myself by easily finishing a challenging hot flow class. 


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Teacher Feature ~ Bryttney Miller

Join Bryttney every Monday at 5:45 AM for Sunrise Hot Flow, and check out her BUTI Yoga class under events/workshops.

 

When were you first introduced to yoga, and what got you hooked? I was first introduced to yoga 5 years ago. I went to a restorative class and couldn't believe how hard it was and how great it felt after! I've been practicing ever since. 

 

What made you decide to become a yoga instructor? It was actually really spur of the moment. I was a babysitter at a studio that was offering a teacher training and I decided to just go for it. Since then I've expanded my certifications and fallen deeper in love with yoga. 

 

What's your favorite pose? Warrior 2! It's very empowering.

 

How do you remain grounded outside the yoga studio? What does your personal practice look like these days? I try to be outside as much as I can. I spend a good portion of most days inside, so it helps to go somewhere open to just breathe and feel more relaxed. My personal practice is 10 or so minutes scattered throughout the day when my little one allows me to pull out my mat. 

 

What advice do you have for the beginner yogi, other than only focus on yourself? Don't worry about looking cool. Don't worry about being flexible. Yoga is so much deeper than some pretty poses on Instagram. Respect where your body is and accept it. Love it. Then will it further. 

 

In your opinion, what's the biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor? People assume I'm this super health nut that can do all these crazy poses. 

 

One healthy food you swear by, and why? Avocados always! They are loaded with vitamins and are high in good fats. I just add some lime juice and a tiny bit of salt and will eat them all day. 


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Teacher Feature ~ Meet Courtney Sturm!

When were you first introduced to yoga, and what got you hooked?

-I was introduced to yoga in New York City in 2007. A few friends talked me into going to a donation based studio called yoga to the people. I wasn't expecting to like it, honestly I had no clue that it was anything more than stretching. I remember how transformed I felt physically after only one hour of moving and breathing, So I kept going back to simply get in shape. After a few classes the benefits started to manifest in my emotional and mental life and It got me through my toughest days. I quickly realized that it was a practice that I needed in my life.

 

What made you decide to become a yoga instructor?

- I had been bartending in New York and chasing my dreams of becoming an actress! I wasn't really taking care of myself like I should. I was definitely living it up in the big city in my 20's and I realized that I needed direction. I wanted to have a job that I loved and that I felt was rewarding. I wanted to help others feel good!  My best friend started teaching and I saw her personal growth and how happy teaching made her and it inspired me to take the leap.

 

What's your favorite pose?

-Arhda chandrasana (balancing half moon) I rarely teach a class without it! Its got all the goods! Opening, expansiveness, grounding, balance and its accessible.

 

How do you remain grounded outside the yoga studio? What does your personal practice look like these days?

- Well that's really where the yoga begins. I feel like my practice is a reflection of my daily self. Sometimes its all over the place and sometimes its grounded. I try to breath and remind myself of things i'm grateful for. Being in nature doesn't hurt, maybe with a glass of wine!  Since moving from NYC in December my personal practice has changed. I haven't had the opportunity to get into class as much, which means I've been practicing at home. Hello, self discipline!  My Practice has become less about the perfect body or perfect pose but rather letting go of the ego while practicing self love and patience from where I am today.

 

What advice do you have for the beginner yogi, other than only focus on yourself?

-Dont worry about the outcome!! Be present with your personal journey. Let go of any expectations. As long as you're breathing its enough.

 

In your opinion, what's the biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor?

- In my opinion a lot of people think that yoga teachers are health nuts and live a really clean life. While that can be true its not always the case! I also think some underestimate how challenging it is to teach a yoga class and all work that goes into it! Between sequencing, cueing and holding space with confidence its not an easy gig.

 

One healthy food you swear by, and why?

 

- AVOCADO! I try and eat one a day. They are full of vitamins and leave you feeling satisfied and energized!


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Yogi of the Month ~ Melinda Wilkie

How long have you been practicing?  

I've been practicing 2.5 years

Any advice on how to make time for practice with a busy work/family schedule? 

I think we all make time for the things that are important to us. Practicing yoga helps me find balance with my family life & work life.

Describe your yoga practice in one word: 

Happy! 
Practicing yoga makes me happy! 
Sorry that's 5 words. 

Why did you start practicing yoga? 

I started running last year and yoga definitely helps me stay stretched and flexible.  My friends invited me to a yoga class. I was intimidated at first but quickly realized that everyone's practice is different and nobody judges anyone. I was hooked!

How does yoga impact your everyday life?  

Yoga has helped me relieve stress, helped me be more patient, it's helped me with strength, balance, confidence and self love. 

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

That yoga is easy. Boy was I wrong. 


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Teacher Feature ~ Ginger Davidson

Ginger teaches Tuesday 4:30 Warm Flow and Tuesday 5:45 Meditative Flow at the Down Dog.

 

When were you first introduced to yoga, and what got you hooked?

I was first introduced to yoga at the tender age of 23, in Lawrence Kansas.  I hated it.   I had asthma as a child and couldn’t understand how to breathe properly.   I got hooked at 25 thru a YMCA yoga class.

What made you decide to become a yoga instructor?

I wanted to share the gift with others so they could transform their own lives and live with more peace.

What's your favorite pose?

Reclined bound angle is my favorite restorative pose—reminds me to ground to the Earth and keep my heart open.

How do you remain grounded outside of the yoga studio? 

Outside the studio nature grounds me.   If I am anxious a few minutes outside can make all the difference.  

What does your personal practice look like these days?

My personal practice these days is a little like my current season of life, up and down.    I do maintain a consistent meditation practice if I am unable to get asana in that day.   It’s a simple 5-10 minutes before I move from my bed each morning.  

What advice do you have for beginner yogi's, other than only focus on yourself?

I would tell beginners to not rush to the process.   Trust your breath to do the work and build a good solid foundation just as you would a house, and that doesn’t happen in a short amount of time.  We as a world are so rushed and Yoga and its work helps us to remember that it takes time to build something that will last.

In your opinion, what's the biggest misconception about being a yoga instructor?

The biggest misconception is that there is a certain Type of person that teaches yoga. 

One healthy food you swear by and why?

Apples.   They are full of fiber and help your sweet tooth.  (also good in a pinch if you are tired


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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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