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What Made Me Try Yoga Out

Post by Liliya Rudakova,  12 October 2014 ,  Interview
Anna's yoga practice began in 2004 with a DVD, a mat and a small space in her bedroom. 
Burned out from years as a gym rat doing cardio and lifting weights, yoga was a welcomed change, and Anna has never looked back. She began teaching in 2009. Her classes explore alignment, breath and meditation with creative transitions to build strength and cultivate a graceful practice.

Yoga on the beach, cross legged position, peace, sun

Anna describes herself as easy-going, creative and fun, I would also add warm and inspiring to the list. I found Anna´s way of taking up the yoga practice very encouraging, great example of internal motivation and true sense of purpose. Something you rarely come across now, when yoga is so in vogue. 

Time to know more!

Where do you come from Anna? What are your passions in life?

I come to from incredibly loving and affectionate parents who raised me with gentle boundaries that gave me freedom to become the person I am (and make plenty of mistakes along the way). I’m one of three, and we are all adopted. Because of this I have always felt a strong sense of God’s hand in my life. My passions are simple, God, nature, relationships, art and, of course, yoga.

What yoga styles do you currently teach and practice?  

I teach a slow vinyasa practice with lots of attention to alignment and breath. My personal practice is the same, savoring the space between poses.

Your yoga-practice began with a DVD. Do you think it was a good start? Did you manage to get your basics right? For how long was it a sufficient tool?

I love this question. Yoga changed my life from the start. After college I left the DVD behind and took Power Yoga classes at a YMCA 2x a week and slowly began to transform. Body image struggles, binge eating, self-esteem issues all began to fall away. However, these first few years of practice had no alignment whatsoever! But it still changed me. In 2009 I took a Master Class with an Anusara teacher named Marc St Pierre, holy alignment! His cueing was like none I had ever heard and I could feel them working in my body. As I watched him gracefully press up into handstand a whole new level of yoga was revealed.  

What made you try yoga out?  

Ready for this enchanting story? My friend had a really great butt, I asked her what she did. She said yoga. I tried it. The End. hahaha
 

What are the major health benefits (both physical and mental) you personally experience practicing yoga? 

I used to paint and draw a lot, as my yoga practice grew that began to fall away. Though, in my brain, it feels the same. When I’m on my mat, it feels the same in my head as it did when painting or drawing a figure. It´s a break from reality, a place to explore sensation and movement. Our bodies are the ultimate medium and yoga, for me, is an art form, a personal expression. Plus it feels DAMN GOOD.  The physical benefits are nice, though what I love is how I can feel myself getting stronger, poses that were hard feel lighter, with simple practice.

one legged wheel pose, sun, beach

What made you become a teacher?  

I loved yoga and what it did for me and I wanted to share it with others.

You started teaching yoga shortly after your daughter was born. Is there any symbolism in these events? Do you think practicing and teaching yoga makes you a better mother? Or vice versa being a mother makes you a better teacher?  

Practicing definitely makes me a better mother and wife. Its my me time, its a complete emptying out and filling up. Sadly there is no symbolism in the events, just logistics. I wanted to teach and had to get my teacher training done before she was born!

Does teaching affect your own practice?  

In some small ways, yes. Like I may have to try and figure out a modification or something. But mostly, for me, it goes the other way, my practice affects my teaching. What I discover on my mat I share with my students.

What would be your piece of advice for every beginner? 

Try different teachers and different styles. And even try a teacher you didn’t like a few more times. 

Yoga on the beach, sun, cross legged position

And we´ll wrap it up with our ´finish up the phrases´ part :)

I was born in Florida to a 16 year old girl.

I practice yoga because it feels good.

If there were no limitations in my life I would live in a house on the ocean in the mountains surrounded by the people I love, having visitors often and adopting as many children and animals as I could!

I will always remember the day, when my daughter was born.  

My parents were afraid when they found out they couldn’t have children of their own.

I am really fascinated by the human body and nature.

Looking back I never would have taken out those student loans!

Our mind craves space! Take a walk outside, listen to the breeze, sit quietly in the sun, practice on your mat with the sound of your breath.

This is my simple religion, Jesus.

Thank you very much for your interesting and freehearted answers! 

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