This Curvi Yogi is JOYFUL!
Meet Andria, a yogi who has truly made space for herself on her mat to grow and blossom!
1. What is the affirmation that resonates with you right now in your life? Why did you pick this affirmation?
More of a mantra…
Joy. Allow. Decide-Andria
A message delivered in a New Year’s church service a few years ago encouraged us to pick a “Bucket Word” for our year. Something that would serve as a constant reminder of what you wanted to manifest throughout the year. These three words presented themselves to me in their own ways over the course of the following days/weeks.
JOY: I will seek Joy regardless of a situation or circumstance. Joy that resonates from the inside, whether it is from taking 5 minutes to connect with nature, filling my tank with family time, or as simple as seeing the word as a visual reminder to stop and take a quick moment to just be still and present.
ALLOW: So often, our focus is on trying to control a situation or force something to happen in our own way, by our own power. “Allow” for me reminds me to step back and observe; maybe I need to be doing something differently or not at all. Am I acting out of will and force, or am I taking time to be still and allowing the answer to present what needs to be done, or not, in that moment?
DECIDE: In all things we have a choice. We can DECIDE to perceive a situation positively or negatively. We can DECIDE to be a victim or to overcome what may hold us back. We can DECIDE to choose joy or misery. We can DECIDE to take action or to remain stagnant. Making a decision is intentional, empowering. Each on of us have the power to decide, the ability to choose.
Another mantra I’ve incorporated into my life is:
Don’t Complain. Don’t Blame. Don’t Justify.-Andria
Pretty self explanatory!
2. How did you start your yoga practice?
My Yoga journey began in July of 2013, when I found myself in search of a way to alleviate some nagging hip discomfort. As an active 37-year-old, I felt like I was too young for the litany of aches and pains that were happening. The hip issue, in fact, was enough for me to be unable to lift my foot to put on my socks. There were also beginning to be problems in my shoulders and back. I’d later come to find out that there were many others out there experiencing similar issues. Just another reminder that we are never alone.
Once I decided that I would explore Yoga, I started off with a DVD that I’d had in my video library for years but rarely used. I quickly realized why I hadn’t. As a newbie to Yoga, it was hard for me to follow along with the postures (made worse when they were often called out in their Sanskrit names) and keep up with the swift moving flows.
As I considered going to a class as an alternative to the DVDs, I was extremely intimidated. In my mind, I thought that everyone would know exactly what he or she was doing and I would stick out like a sore thumb. When I finally conjured up the nerve to go to a class, I quickly learned some two truths. First, Yoga is about you and your mat – a unique and personal journey for each individual. And second, the Yoga community is one of the most encouraging and supportive communities I’ve ever witnessed. My initials fears and assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong.
From that point on I was hooked, jumping from one to two to three classes a week. As I became stronger and more consistent with my practice, there was a profound awareness of the physical, mental and spiritual progress that had been occurring. It has and will continue to be a path of growth on so many levels. I found myself experiencing more and more profound moments on my mat, whether that meant a physical realization that a particular posture was no longer out of reach, a spiritual epiphany from a message I’d heard in church, or an “Ah-ha!” moment in my personal growth.
In 2016, I began sharing my Yoga and plant-based food journey on Instagram. There I found an amazing extended community of friends! At varying ages and stages of life, there was no shortage of inspiration and encouragement. But what blew me away was when others would share with me how my humble little journey was a source of inspiration for them. This was especially true as I shared how Yoga affected those around me –family, friends and children (mine and others’).
By 2018, I had started publishing a series of mini eBooks, the Inspire Yoga Journals (available on Amazon for your Kindle), which were born of the idea of sharing thoughts and stories from my personal Yoga journey. The hope is that through this sharing, it will help others find encouragement and inspiration within their own journeys. My time on my mat continues to be where I experience physical, mental or spiritual breakthroughs, so I decided to start journaling these experiences to share. Within the pages of “Inspire”, readers can find brief descriptions of a selection of Yoga asanas (postures/poses), alongside my own experience with each posture and how I found it to be meaningful in my journey.
3. As a Curvy Yogi, what obstacles have you had to overcome in your practice?
An initial obstacle was understanding that it wasn’t my size that was hindering me from achieving some of the postures in my practice, but the openness of my body; meaning the muscle length and flexibility to achieve a pose.
And most recently, getting on my mat daily has been a struggle. Oddly enough, post knee surgery (I tore my ACL), I found it easier to stay motivated because I was working toward a goal. Somewhere along the way, between gaining a few extra pounds due to reduced activity coupled with being sidetracked by busyness and just feeling run down from doing “…all the things”, the discipline of my practice time suffered. With that said, I allowed myself the grace to be in that space without judgement and simply a knowing that I’d soon be able to regain my focus.
4. What is your favorite yoga pose? Why?
My favorite Yoga pose… that’s a hard call! If you twist my arm, my favorite would have to be Wild Thing. I believe it may have been the first pose in the beginning of my Yoga journey to immediately transport me back to my past days of being a gymnast. I’m sure it helped that it is a heart opener but I still remember being in that class and FEELING like I was able to do anything. That feeling has stuck with me.
5. What is your least favorite yoga pose? Why?
Given how my Yoga journey has unfolded, I don’t think I can say that I have a “least favorite” Yoga pose. Through experience, I’ve seen what all of these postures have done for me physically, mentally and spiritually. However, when I had first started, I would cringe any time my teacher would introduce Frog Pose into that day’s practice because Hips were such an issue for me. Now… I prefer to just say that I find “x pose least comfortable”, LOL.
6. Do you use props in your practice? If so, what is your favorite prop to use? Why?
I absolutely use props in my practice! I love my Infinity Strap and Yoga Bricks. I also have a Yoga Pro Wheel that has been a lot of fun to work with. Early on in my practice, unless a prop was introduced in class, I didn’t necessarily understand how they were used. As my practice progressed, there was a brief stint where Ego stepped in and I didn’t want to use them. I’m past that! They are amazing tools that allow you to listen to your body and decide whether you need a little assistance. In offering yourself a more gentle practice, you can maintain a safe practice and allow your body a gentle way to open up different areas that otherwise may not have been able to.
7. What advice would you give to other Curvy Yogis who are trying to build their practice?
Just keep moving! Don’t let anything stop you from maintaining a consistant practice. Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinions… just enjoy the flow. As my Yogi would always advise, “It’s just you and your mat.”
Yoga truly is for EVERY – BODY. Do not be discouraged. Your practice will evolve and progress with time. Find your tribe through social media and your real life community. I have found an amazing support system in the Yoga community at large!
Do not be limited by what you think you can or cannot do – you’d be surprised by what your body is capable of.
Practice safely – do not let your Ego push you into postures for which your body may not be ready.
Build a strength training routine into your practice; it is just as, if not more, important as flexibility.
Thank you Andria for sharing your practice with us!
You can find Andria on Instagram here.