International Yoga Day 2020

INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY 2020: FIVE AVID YOGIS SHARED THEIR JOURNEYS WITH US

Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life”, said the legendary yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar⁣⁣. 

The first International Yoga Day was held on June 21, 2015, and has since been celebrated annually in many countries around the world.

This year, we reached out to five yoga lovers and they have shared with us their yoga journeys...

International Yoga Day 2020

@thesyclife

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

Where to begin? I'm Canadian born and raised, currently living in Florida with my husband, our one-year-old identical twin daughters and my husband's parents (we're helping care for my mother-in-law).

We have a dog named Toby (I'm a big animal lover) who's currently living his best life up in Toronto with my husband's business partner. Before the girls were born, I was a real estate lawyer in Calgary for 6+ years and taught yoga on and off since 2007.

In addition to yoga, I also enjoy biking, running and taking fitness classes (spin, boxing, barre, etc.). My dream is to one day own a hobby farm with lots of rescue animals. My husband and I would also love to one day complete an Airstream reno and travel North America together with our twins, when they're a little older.

How long have you been practicing yoga? How did you get started?

When I was 16 years old, I joined a teen fitness class with a few friends. I was hooked from day one. When I was 19, I discovered Mysore style Ashtanga yoga and never looked back. Mysore is a rigorous style of practice that requires a ton of mental and physical discipline. It has truly helped shaped me into the (almost) 33-year-old I am today.

International Yoga Day 2020

Do you feel yoga is more mental or physical?

There is no question that yoga is BOTH mental and physical. You cannot have one without the other. Yoga helps focus the mind by moving the body, and you need a focused mind in order to move your body mindfully. 

How do you include yoga in your daily life now?

I typically practice 5 days a week in our home, while my twins are napping. I go through the first, second or part of the third series of Ashtanga yoga on my own, depending on what day it is. Occasionally, I'll throw in an advanced backbending sequence (Iyengar-based) or, for the fun of it, tune into an online flow class, just to change things up. 

You mentioned in your IG feed that you felt intimidated by the idea of getting back into yoga. How did you overcome the fear?

I just started back slowly.

To be honest, a lot of the intimidation came from physical fear of hurting myself, particularly in some of the advanced backbending and forward folding postures. My core was weak after my twin pregnancy and I was afraid of injury. So I decided to simply not worry about trying to be a hero, and go as slowly as I needed to. I'd say it took me close to a year to get back to where I once was pre-pregnancy, or at least as close to I'll probably ever come. Slow and steady! 

International Yoga Day 2020

"Yoga helps focus the mind by moving the body, and you need a focused mind in order to move your body mindfully."

International Yoga Day 2020

@linayogifreeman

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in China and moved to the United States when I was adopted at 13 months. I have always enjoyed yoga and started at 4 years old. 

How has yoga made a difference to your life?

Yoga keeps me limber and has really helped reduce my anxiety! I love all the different styles of yoga. I practice mat, aerial, and acro yoga and have had the honor of teaching all but acro yoga (I hope to teach acro yoga someday). 

From your IG feed, we saw that you have participated actively in many yoga challenges, such as #yogis4lymies and #YogisLoveThePlanet. What have you gained from these challenges?

I think instagram challenges are a great way to create community and talk about a topic. I have fun hosting, as well as participating in all the fun challenges on Instagram. I gained a lot of knowledge about Lyme Disease when participating in #yogis4lymies.

As a host for #YogisLoveThePlanet our goal was to focus on animal and nature poses as we counted down to Earth Day! We made sure to have all sustainable sponsors! I love how many companies are focused on the environment!

What tips can you offer for avoiding injuries in yoga and getting the most health benefits out of it?

I find it important to respect your body. If something hurts when you are holding a pose, change the positioning or stop doing that pose. In my yoga training I learned an important lesson: just because you can DO a pose, does not mean you SHOULD do the pose. In terms of health, I would say find a style of yoga you like, and find a style of yoga that challenges you, and do both! 

Would you like to say a few words of encouragement for yoga enthusiasts out there in this special occasion?  

Happy International Yoga Day!

I hope today you can take a moment to appreciate what you have and give back what you can to people that are less fortunate.  

International Yoga Day 2020
International Yoga Day 2020

@emilybyoga.ig

"I’m Emily. I am a fitness instructor. Level 1 CrossFit, HIIT training, and yoga. Yoga has become my love."

"I have been doing Yoga for a few years now. I am a CrossFit Level 1 instructor. I saw a need for a yoga instructor to come into the gym. But we could not find the right fit for our athletes. I saw an opportunity to learn the practice myself." 


"I became an instructor. It was one of the best decisions I ever made."

As an instructor, do you feel that you get more or less from yoga than you did as a student? Why?

I believe there is a fine balance between being an instructor and a student. There is always something more to learn, a pose better perfected. So I continue to be a student, always.

How has yoga made a difference to your life?

Yoga has allowed me to breathe. To truly connect with myself. It is a personal expression I could not find elsewhere.

International Yoga Day 2020
International Yoga Day 2020

"To avoid injuries it is important to stay within your lane. Only push it to your line."

"Each day listen in to your body. It’s leaving judgement and ego behind. That way your body will get the most benefit."

"Keep practicing yoga. Everybody is different. There is no perfect pose. There is only finding the pose for you."

"I became an instructor. It was one of the best decisions I ever made."

International Yoga Day 2020

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I moved to the top of a mountain in West Virginia about five years ago in search of a more sustainable life. My partner and I are staying in the farmhouse on the fifty acre farm while taking care of the farms animals kind of like light caretakers while we build an earthbag home, again as a more sustainable choice of building method. It has taken a few years but its is finally getting roofed this summer. Very excited to be in the mountains and off the grid!

How long have you been practicing yoga? How did you get started?

I have been practicing for the entirety of my life in West Virginia so about five years. Unfortunately I started due to back issues after letting the muscles in my entire body get way too tight with a schedule around work work work and about zero self care. I was one of those who thought I was “too inflexible for yoga”, fortunately, yoga heals. 

International Yoga Day 2020International Yoga Day 2020
International Yoga Day 2020

Do you feel yoga is more mental or physical?

For me since I let my body get so terribly out of whack before “fixing it with yoga” I would say it’s more physical, as that’s what I have had to focus on.

However the mental benefits of staying on a more even keel cannot be overlooked. I have found that there are no “bad happenings or situations” how we react is what determines whether the situation is “good or bad”. 

From your IG feed, we have seen that you have many yoga pals, like Mr.Bittles, and it seems like they have become an inseparable part when you practice yoga. What roles do you think they play in your yoga life?

The animals I have surrounding my practice definitely remind me to keep it light. Enjoy the journey and remember that even if you think you got the best pic ever, you MUST check for a dog pooping in the background before you post!!

But like I said, they help me keep it light and bring me many laughs through it all!! Even when I have to retake a pic or two haha!

"Just try. It’s never to late to start. We can ALL do it. It might not look the same but it WILL help. We just have to try."

International Yoga Day 2020

@jennijogs

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m an avid hiker and runner, and a loving dog/cat mom. I’m a fan of live music and try to catch a show whenever I can-I once made it a personal challenge to catch my favorite band in as many cities as I could in one year!

My favorite thing to do when I’m not working or working out is discovering new restaurants with friends and catching up with a good book.

I recently moved to Columbus, Ohio where I am excited to take up trail running and continue my half marathon training-I’m aiming for a sub 1:45!

As an avid runner, do you feel that yoga has helped you in any way? 

Great question!

I was a skeptic before about how yoga could be considered cross training for a runner. As a runner, I need to maintain a strong core and a sense of focus and mindfulness- especially during long runs. Having a daily yoga practice helps to stretch my muscles before and after runs, while strengthening and toning my core.

Yoga has taught me how to be more present and aware of how my body is working. When I’m on a long run, and starting to lose focus-I use my yoga training to reevaluate my awareness, focus on my breathing, and come back to the now and where my body is working harder than it needs to.

International Yoga Day 2020

What’s your favorite pose and why?

It’s hard to pick just one!

My favorite pose would have to be Lizard pose. It is a great stretch for the hip flexors, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps. I like to incorporate this pose into my daily practice because it helps to improve the flexibility of your hip ligaments and strengthen the muscles in your legs.

Strengthening these muscle groups will help you maintain a full range of motion-great for runners!

What advice do you have for your fellow runners who have never tried yoga?

For my fellow runners who have never tried yoga-ask yourself why not? We spend time cross training, strength training, meal planning/prepping, why not incorporate yoga into the mix as part of your cross/strength training?

Yoga checks a lot of the boxes that we as runners need to check as part of a training regimen-strength and core work, stretching and increased flexibility, focused and purposeful breathing, all with the added benefits of increased mindfulness and focus.

My advice is to start with short, easy sessions to build a solid yoga foundation and then expand on that foundation to develop a practice that is all your own-that’s the great thing about yoga, it’s personal and you can make it what you want and need it to be.

International Yoga Day 2020

Yoga has become a mindset, a lifestyle, a way to inner peace and balance.

We feel honored to get to celebrate the International Yoga Day with our community, and it is such a great occasion to raise awareness for the importance of excellence in yoga.

We are deeply inspired by Ali, Lina, Emily, Sashaba, and Jenni's yoga journeys, and we hope you could draw encouragement, even the slightest, from this piece and give yoga a try or carry on your wonderful journey. We always have your back.

“Never underestimate a person with a yoga mat.”

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