Happy Valentine's Day! Today we're excited to introduce a new feature in our newsletter: Staff Spotlight!
Our team members play a major role in the day to day running of the studio, and they are the framework of our community. We think each and every team member is awesome, and we thought it would be fun to spotlight one of our staff members every few weeks so that you can learn a little more about them.
This week we're featuring the one staff member who is both a teacher and works behind the scenes on the management of the studio. Please meet Adria!
When did you start practicing yoga?
I started practicing in college, around 2004. When I was a kid my dad had a book about yoga. I remember that I practiced poses from the book, and I thought it was really interesting. Then when I got to college, I signed up for a college yoga class and loved it immediately. After college, my practice was sporadic. I started a regular practice in 2012.
Why do you practice yoga?
When I practiced yoga in college, it was because it helped me reduce my stress level; I felt much calmer after a yoga practice. I’d previously found that regular physical activity wasn’t particularly gratifying for me, but yoga was!
Then I moved away and got my first job after college, and I stopped practicing yoga for a while.
Fast forward to 2012… I had my daughter. When she was 4 months old, I started practicing yoga again, and I felt sooo much better. My body had changed due to pregnancy and childbirth, and when I restarted my yoga practice I felt like for the first time in a long time I was reconnecting with my body.
Over the years there has been an evolution in my practice. Now I practice primarily for the mental and emotional benefits - I’m more calm and focused. And I also like the therapeutic effect of my practice. When I have an ache or pain I do yoga postures and breathing.
What does your practice consist of?
I meditate first thing in the morning when I wake up. Sometimes it’s shorter, sometimes it’s longer. It depends on whether I hit snooze!
Several days a week I go into the yoga studio and practice 15-20 minutes before I teach. My practice may be restorative postures, sun salutations, or breathwork; it just depends on what I feel like I need that day.
In the evenings I always do yoga before I go to sleep. Usually it’s a practice lying on the ground; it always includes breathing, and it’s usually a therapeutic practice to help release the tension in my back before I go to sleep. Otherwise I wake up with pain in my lower back.
How do you maintain your motivation for your practice?
Commitment, and also noticing how I feel when I don’t practice. When you start practicing yoga regularly, you gain a more profound view of yourself. Your body awareness improves; sometimes you notice new things you’ve never noticed before. Once you develop that deeper awareness, you can feel the difference when you miss your practice. So for me, when I don’t practice, I don’t feel as well as I normally do. So you could say my practice is self motivating - I want to practice because it makes me feel better.
What part of your practice do you gain the most from?
Pranayama (breathing practice), especially breathing meditation, is where I get the most benefit because I struggle with anxiety. When I notice myself becoming anxious, I use yogic breathing as a tool to calm down. I’ve gained tremendous benefit from it.
What made you want to become a yoga teacher?
It’s the simplest answer, but it’s true: I love yoga! When I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training (at The Yoga Room), my primary objective was to deepen my own practice, but almost immediately after the training began, I knew that I wanted to teach yoga. It’s a joy to share yoga with others.
When did you start teaching?
I started teaching as soon as I completed Yoga Teacher Training in November 2015, so a little over 2 years.
What are your main objectives in your teaching?
To help people slow down and develop more self-awareness. We live life at such a fast pace. I want to help people notice things in their body or their breath that they wouldn’t have noticed before. That’s what I want people to walk away with.
I include restorative poses, pranayama, and meditation for the purpose of helping people stop and be still for a little bit.
Sometimes people have a hard time slowing down, but I believe everyone can slow down in their own way. For some people, slowing down requires movement; for others it means taking regular breaks during their relaxation or meditation. I encourage students to take breaks when they need to, so that they never feel “stuck” in a posture or practice.
What are you currently working on in your practice or as a teacher?
There’s a Pema Chodron quote I love about how yoga and meditation aren’t about trying to “throw ourselves away and become something better”; in her words, our practice is about befriending who we are already. This aligns closely with the yogic precepts of santosha (contentment) and ahimsa (non-harming). I’m working on being as gentle and forgiving with myself as I am with others, both in my practice and in my teaching.