This Curvi Yogi is EMPOWERED!
I am empowered by my practice and everything that it teaches me.
Meet Shannon, a yogi whose practice has played an integral part in her own personal recovery! Read more about Shannon’s yoga journey Below!
1. What is the affirmation that resonates with you right now in your life? Why did you pick this affirmation?
INHALE – I Trust ME, and EXHALE – It will all COME!
I chose this affirmation because sometimes, I forget to trust myself and believe that if I just breathe and slow down, that it WILL all COME! It has taken me going through my own 200 HR yoga training to understand and implement the breath in my everyday life, and to use it to let go of anxieties, and worries. Even when good things happen, it has taught me to take a breath and APPRECIATE it!
2. How did you start your yoga practice?
I started my yoga practice more than 15 years ago when I found myself in rehab for drug addiction. I was told that we would be participating in one yoga class a week, and I had never even been on a yoga mat before. I was skeptical at best, and thought to myself, “what is yoga going to teach me about staying sober”? The first class had me hooked, because I cried my eyes out the whole time. I fell in love immediately and longed for time on that mat every week.
After I left rehab, I couldn’t really afford to continue doing yoga, nor did I really have the desire to look into it. I got a cheap mat from the dollar store and occasionally got on it and ended up just laying there. I did a few classes at home with those instructors who teach on the learning channel, because it was free, but I allowed myself to fall away from my practice, until about 4 years ago when I injured my back at work. The physical therapist I was seeing recommended I try HOT yoga because of the heat, he said it would help me to stretch out my hip which was what I injured, it basically popped out of socket and needed to be put back in and the stretching and heat he said would help that process. So I looked into the Hot yoga in my area and at the time, Bikram was all I could find, and they were offering a great deal, $20 for a week of unlimited classes, so I signed up and literally went everyday that week but one. I was overweight by about 20-30 lbs. and I wasn’t feeling my best, but I knew that it would help. Then I got better and moved to another state and let my yoga practice go again for a year or longer.
I then moved to Las Vegas and was here for about 6 months and steadily putting on weight even though I was playing tennis and staying somewhat active, but it wasn’t enough. So, I looked into Hot yoga in my area, and found a ton of places and grabbed a groupon for Modo Yoga for 60 days, and I went 6 days a week until my groupon expired. After that, I found another place, Body Heat Hot Pilates and Yoga, and went there for 30 days, and during that 30 days I inquired about their YFT program (yoga for trade) and started working there one day a week for 4 hours to be able to take classes for free any time I wanted. It became my second home, and after about 6 months, I decided I wanted to learn to teach yoga, and I applied for a scholarship and got it, and the rest is history.
3. As a Curvy Yogi, what obstacles have you had to overcome in your practice?
As a curvy yogi, the biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome has been my body consciousness. I have always been on the heavier side, even when I was at my healthiest and lowest weight as an adult. I have big bones, I’ve always said, LOL! I couldn’t get into a lot of binds and moving my fat out of the way was an everyday occurrence in yoga class.
I have always challenged myself though, like starting out in harder classes that were more for seasoned yogis, and I did that because I wanted to challenge myself. I always felt like if I started out in the hard class, I would see progress more so than if I started out in a beginner class, and for me it was exactly what motivated me to push myself everyday.
Now that I teach, obstacles still come, but I’m not worried about showing them in class when I teach because I want my students to know that it’s ok to fall out of a pose, or to lose your balance, that’s what yoga is all about.
4.What is your favorite yoga pose? Why?
I have to say that my favorite yoga pose right now is Natarajasana, Dancer! I love the whole process of getting into the pose, and once I get there, the ability to hold it. It grounds me, and makes me engage every muscle in my body reminding me that I am not in control of anything but my breath, and using the breath to get into this pose is key.
I also love handstand and headstand! I learned how to get into them with the best yoga teacher in Vegas, in my opinion, Da Danijela, and she really broke down the process of getting into headstand and handstand and made it accessible. I was able to go home every day after her yoga class and really spend 10-15 minutes just working on getting upside down. It feels great, and gets me and my back in alignment again. I try and get upside down at least once a day if not more!
5. What is your least favorite yoga pose? Why?
My least favorite pose is Astavakrasana, eight-angle pose, because I just can’t get into it and it frustrates me. I feel like I have the arm strength, I just am not quite sure what it is that keeps me from holding it. I might be able to get into it, but I fall out immediately. I guess that’s the point right! See here I am dogging myself for my ability to not hold it, rather than trying to understand why I can’t hold it and working on that! It’ll come!
6. Do you use props in your practice? If so, what is your favorite prop to use? Why?
I don’t often use props unless I’m taking a class that I know we need props for, or leading a class where we’re working on balancing more. My favorite is the yoga wheel though, to use on a daily to just stretch out my back, and to work on my inversions like forearm stand, and tri-pod.
7. What advice would you give to other Curvy Yogis who are trying to build their practice?
The one piece of advice I have given to other curvy yogis, is to be easy with yourself, to not expect to be able to master things right out of the gate. I teach Buti yoga more than any other format, and it’s cardio-intensive.
A lot of women will google it first and be like, “Yea, I can’t do that”, and right away they put that limitation on themselves; Instead, be willing and open to TRY, what’s the worst that can happen? You modify to the best of your ability, stop a few more times, maybe, but maybe find yourself releasing stuff you’ve never been able to release before, and getting out of your own head, and into your body, is just what everyone needs!
Yoga is not easy, if it were, we’d all be masters and have already found enlightenment. It’s not, it’s difficult, and there will be days your body won’t cooperate, but those are the days you just laugh and love yourself even more!
Thank you Shannon for sharing your practice with us!
You can find Shannon on Instagram here