Monday, October 13, 2014

Bad@ss Yogini - Reanna Knotts (A New Series!)

Hello all you Viva My Yoginis!!! Hola a todos!
It has been a whiiiiile since I've posted but here I am, I'm back!

And back with my first post of a series I am very excited to share with y'all - Bad@ss Yoginis. I think yoga has in may eyes become mainstream, exclusive, or only suitable to certain people (and often people who seem to be very good at gymnastics - which is not yoga!). One of my biggest priorities in life is to make the practice of yoga suitable and accessible to everyone

Which is why teaching to beginners (or to people who are afraid to step onto a mat or into a studio for the first time) is one of my biggest priorities in my experience as a yoga teacher. 

Yoga to me is about self-love. It's about finding a way to love yourself and accept yourself no matter the circumstance and to find ease within your body and mind. It's about giving everyone the tools to feel complete and connected even in the most trying of times, and all in very individual ways.

The wonderful souls I will share with you through this series of Bad@ss Yoginis embody this self-love that is at the root of yoga. They are everyday people who have inspired me above and beyond the poses they practice; they inspire me because they all have different reasons for stepping onto the mat, different backgrounds for what finding calm and connection has looked and felt like for them, and because they try to make a difference in their life and the lives of many every single day.
So I am very, very happy to introduce y'all to my first Bad@ss Yogini - the lovely and spirited Ms. Reanna Knotss

What was your first yoga experience like?

My first yoga class memory was probably like most out-of-shape, under stretched, short breath rookie. I remember looking around most of the class and fighting that "ego" that they kept talking about through every class. I refused to do a child's pose and my breath work was a "huffing and puffing" method that I thought I had mastered because I was still conscious. I ONLY did hot classes because I thought this was the ONLY possible way you could gain anything from yoga. And boy was I wrong.

What does the word ‘yoga’ mean to you?

Yoga to me means bringing awareness to your mind, body, and soul. Yoga was my anti-depressant, my wake-up call,  and was my mental stability during some hard times. I would best describe Yoga as the journey within yourself that can never be judged because it's YOUR practice. 

What was your journey like from pre-yogi to full on yogi?
Photo by: 2Tphoto

I started my journey off in hopes to find a hobby, become physically active, and find something that was missing inside. I dove right into teacher training in 2011, whilst I was completing my Bachelors, working full-time, and dealing with my own inner battle. I was told I had manic depressive disorder and that medication would be my best friend. Being stubborn and strong willed, I quit cold turkey and relied on the support that I had left in my life: my wonderful boyfriend, his family, and my closes friends. I discovered more than what I had originally signed up for. I found my hobby, my passion, and that missing piece

I became independent of all medications and found a self-love that I never imagined could exist. I began to heal from the inside-out and I am thankful that I took that awkward step onto my rented yoga mat.

What is your favorite thing about practicing?

I love getting lost in the practice and discovering what my mind or body may need during that time.  Whether I get on my mat or not, I enjoy the challenge that presents itself and how I physically and mentally react to that challenge. I always remember that how you react on the mat is how you react in the real world, so pause, breathe, and let it go. I also love the diversity in all yoga styles and I love that I can incorporate it all in my own practice. It truly is a personal journey and one that I wish on everyone!

What does your personal practice look like? Any advice for making an at home practice accessible?

My advice to a home practice is to refrain from beating yourself up if you only do child's pose or downward facing dog. The point is that you made it to your mat. The days that seem hard to practice or a pressing time limit, I tend to do Sun Salutation A and some stretches that my body is craving. Also, it's important to find a quiet, disruptive place. This is super important in clearing the mind, feeling safe, and creating a personal space for yourself.

My personal practice and how my classes are typically taught, usually start off with some grounding in child's pose, light cat/cow stretches, core work, and a long first downward facing dog. I do a heavy vinyasa/power flow with sun salutations A and B with a vocal reminder to not listen to the ego and take that child's pose or bring the knees, chest, and chin to the mat instead of forcing the chaturanga dandasana. Usually some grounding is needed after this vigorous asana, so Tree, eagle, malasana and other grounding poses follow the Sun Salutations.  After this, a well deserved play time is in session with inversions or crow/side crow, with many modifications that will allow me to go where my body is willing to take me. I then begin the cooling process with specific stretches that coincide with what I worked on that day. It's a beautiful thing.

What would you suggest for someone who is new to yoga? Where should they start?

Start wherever they can start. Whether its a video, gym, or a studio...just do it. Be mindful that it takes practice and that you may be good at one thing, but need work and release in other areas. Just listen to your body and stay positive during the process. Remember: it's just smile and be happy that you made it to the mat!

What do you think the biggest benefit of yoga is?

The benefits are endless because everyone has a different body, restrictions/ injuries,  mental struggle, or spiritual growth that could be healed.  Doing yoga allows you to physically challenge yourself, mentally release, and maybe dig a little deeper on what defines you as a person. What more could a person want??
Photo by: 2Tphoto

Name a favorite pose to do first thing in the morning.. and to ground yourself?

Child's pose is definitely my favorite thing to do first thing in the morning. Followed by some forward folds and wide leg forward fold with some twist. My favorite pose around lunch time is head always gives me energy and calms the mind during busy days.

What do you do to feel balanced?

I love to run. Running clears my mind and challenges me in a different way than yoga. I have to practice my positive thoughts and slow my breath. I use this time to practice meditative work. I also love a warm bath, lavendar candles lit, and have some me time.

What pose makes you feel strong and beautiful?

My favorite pose is Trikonasana or Bird of Paradise. These poses do something inside that make me feel strong, grounded, and beautiful. In both poses, I feel a release and I feel every muscle working to make everything come together where it's suppose to be.

Two of my favorite quotes that get me out of bed and reminds me of my purpose: 

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the 
service of others"- Mahatma Gandhi

"Live with intention, do what you love"-Anonymous

Reanna resides Georgia, teaching at Be Yoga in Marietta. If you can, go take a class from her today and share your experience of what yoga means to you. 

Reanna taking a midday yoga break at work!

That's all for now, keep on being Bad@ss and Make a Great Day for yourselves, lovelies!

1 comment:

  1. I love doing yoga in early morning in fresh air. It’s actually anti-depressant for me. Initially I started doing yoga with help of fitness videos and truly I loved a lot from those videos. I have lost 6 kg weight and now belly is completely flat. Thanks for everyone who helped me learning yoga.