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Summer 2018 Featured Yogini

Raquel Ruiz-Diaz

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I was born in Paraguay, South America. A few months later my parents move to Argentina where I attended school till the age of 10, after which we moved back to Asuncion- Paraguay. I’ve always been very intrigued by what the body can do, and how it works that I found myself involve in sports at a young age. I started dancing, took ballet classes when I was 13. I practiced for about 5 years, lost interest in that style and switched to Latin dance, which I love. I was also a gymnast during my school years.

 

I love traveling, so when I turned 20 I became a Flight attendant to see the world. 6 years later I moved to New Jersey, USA. While waiting for my green card, I worked at a dance studio as front desk person. During my 8 hr shift I'd watch the teacher practice her routine. I was amazed by her discipline, her unbelievable body and mind control, and of the amazing care she took of her body. It did not take long until the owner/teacher asked if I was interested in taking some dancing lessons. Without thinking twice, I responded “Yes, I would love to learn Tango”. We started the very next day. After I was done with my work duties I stay for 2 hrs., or more to practice. I continued doing that 3 times a week for 3 years. 

 

 

Q: When & Why did you start practicing yoga?

A: In 2002 I moved to Cali where I meet my friend Christy who introduced me to Bikram yoga. That was it! From that day on I’ve been practicing and trying different styles of yoga.

 

Q: What do you love most about your yoga practice?

A: I realized that yoga was the answer.... Learn to breath = connection between mind and body = health = happiness Bingooooo ..... and we can do it all on our own, I love that. 

 

Q: How did you find Elements?

A: In 2010 moved to Lummi Island, WA, where I was introduced to Vinyasa, not heated. I liked it until the weather got so cold that I didn't enjoy practicing as much. So, I started to search for a studio that offered warm classes. A friend of mine told me about Elements and the first thing she said was: “you will love it the people are so friendly and warm and the place so clean/no smell”.

 

Q: Are you currently facing any struggles or challenges within your practice?

A: In 2015 I went to Paraguay to visit my parents in the countryside of Asuncion. The next day around noon I decide to go a short run before lunch. I invited my sister Marisabel and my cousin Diego to go with me. Approximately a mile from our house a drunk driver illegally passed another, went off the road and crashed into the three of us. I was the one closest to road, so sustained the most injuries. I ended up with 10 broken bones and no too much hope of surviving.

While laying and waiting for help to arrive all I could do was breathe.  I remembered what I learned in yoga; how to breathe properly! and that saved my life.

 

Q: What is your Favorite & least favorite pose?

A: My favorite pose is head stand and least favorite Camel

 

Q: What are some of your favorite things you do outside of the yoga room?

A: I love dancing, traveling, watching the sunset, taking pictures of nature's beauty and cooking.

 

Q: What is your profession?

A: Customer service, I went to culinary school, worked as flight attendant and managed restaurant for many years.

 

Q: Would you share a favorite quote with us?

A: My favorite quote is; “Quiet the mind and let soul speak”.

 

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April 2018 YOTM

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1. When & Why did you start practicing yoga?

I started almost exactly 2 years ago

 

2. How did you find Elements? 

My wife Robyn had been practicing yoga at elements and had such a great experience there.  She asked me to come along and try it at a time when I was looking for something new in my life and I’ve never looked back.

 

3. What do you love most about your yoga practice? 

It’s restful and peaceful or is it peaceful then restful?

 

4. Are you currently facing any struggles or challenges within your practice? 

I’ve had major surgeries on both my shoulders and I always struggle where they are required to bend or support in a way that they can’t or won’t function. 

 

5. What is your Favorite & least favorite pose? 

Favorite pose:  It changes but currently I’d say it’s half-moon – but there are days I just can’t wait for Savasana.  Least Favorite:  I have a few that I equally dislike mostly due to my shoulder limitations but if I eliminate that then I would say twisted/revolved chair pose is on the bottom of my favorites list lately.

 

6. What are some of your favorite things you do outside of the yoga room? 

I really enjoy riding my Harley with my wife and hanging out at our family cabin.

 

7. What is your profession? 

I’m an Estimating Manager so yoga really helps quiet my mind.

 

8. Would you share a favorite quote with us? 

The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think

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March 2018 YOTM

Katie Hinton

   

 

1. When & Why did you start practicing yoga?

Not that long. I spent about a year in Bikram a few years ago. Then started back about 18 month ago here at Elements.  Once I started I couldn't stop.

 

2. How did you find Elements? 

A dear friend Kurt told me about...our 1st date he had just come from a class.

 

3. What do you love most about your yoga practice?

It's "me time". It gives me balance and focus on what is good in my life. I love becoming strong in so many different ways....I love the heat too....the hotter the better.

 

4. Are you currently facing any struggles or challenges within your practice? 

I really don't struggle with the practice..it is what it is...and I don't worry too much about it. Some days I push myself, some days not so much, and I'm good with that...I do love the days I push though.  

 

5. What is your Favorite & least favorite pose?

 "legs up the wall" after a long hard practice...feeling all the blood go back to the heart feels great. I like "tree" too. 
Least fav???? "side plank", its hard on my shoulders and hands.  I always modify.  

 

6. What are some of your favorite things you do outside of the yoga room?

Throwing my two sons (20, 25) out of the nest and seeing them become amazing young men. Walking my 5yr old Swissy/Blue-tick hound Milly, shes my rock. Love to cook, entertain, listen to live music/dance and travel.

7. What is your profession?

I own Bellingham Pasta Co. I manufacturer fresh pasta for the Puget Sound region. Love what I do and have an amazing crew. Providing a quality product for my fellow Cascadians give me much pleasure.  

 

8. Would you share a favorite quote with us?

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti"-Sophia Loren

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February 2018 YOTM

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Dave & Jen Gallant

1. When & Why did you start practicing yoga?

Dave- I started practicing at the Bikram studio about seven years ago after giving up looking for the red or blue pill to fix my hip/low back problem.  It worked but the intensity eventually started causing other injuries.  I stopped for almost a year and then found Elements.  I love the people and variety of classes.

Jen – I just started practicing yoga a few months ago! My job (and my sanity) requires me to be very active. I realized that if I didn’t start taking care of my body I wouldn’t be able to continue doing what I love to do.

2. What do you love most about your yoga practice?

Dave – I like the opportunity to focus on my breath.  I also like jumping out of bed in the morning without needing to hold onto something while trying to straighten up.

Jen- I love how it always brings me a sense of calm. 

 3. Are you currently facing any struggles or challenges within your practice?

Dave – A few aches and pains but they keep me coming back.

Jen - Being a newbie I know I have a lot to learn!

 4. Favorite pose?

Dave – Current favorite: Cat-Cow. Current need the most but can’t do: any one legged bent over twisty pose!

Jen-  Downward facing dog.

 5. Would you share a favorite quote with us?

Dave - “Out beyond the ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I’ll meet you there…”-Rumi

Jen - “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” -Maya Angelou

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January 2018 YOTM

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KJERSTIN LIE

1. When & Why did you start practicing yoga?

 

 I started practicing yoga in 2013. I started off at a class on Westerns campus, which was an interesting experience, but did lead me to believe that there were other styles and options for classes. So I bopped around to a few classes, few studios and found a little home away from home at Elements! I initially started yoga to help combat some pretty serious anxiety, and yoga allowed me to get off of medication for good! Go good mental health!

 

2. What do you love most about your yoga practice?

Oh geez, I think my answer for this changes a lot but right now, I'm just trying to appreciate what my body can do and handle and that's the lovely part about anyone's practice. I love thinking internally and challenging myself. Even if that challenge is to just slow down, breathe more and relax. 

 

3. Are you currently facing any struggles or challenges within your practice?

HA! Yes, always. I have recently been confirmed as "hypermobile", meaning I can basically extend beyond the "normal" persons abilities. So I have this really fun ability to impress people with my flexibility, but in reality it just means I'm constantly fighting injuries. I have some shoulder problems, some ankles weakness and my wrists get really tight. This is something I am combating pretty regularly. Some days I feel awesome, and others I just feel terrible, I'm working on not beating myself up about the bad days. 

 

4. Favorite pose?

This is another ever changing answer for me, but right now I've really been enjoying camel.  I really like back bends. 

 

 

5. Favorite quote you would like to share?

I don't have a quote to share, but I would like to say a quick "peace out" to anyone who may read this! Thanks to the entire rad and wonderfully supportive staff and student base at Elements! Especially Sara and Lyndz. You two have been a staple in my daily life for a few years and I appreciate all of your help and love since joining the studio. i am going to miss (probably the most of anything, after moving) seeing the regular students and being at the studio almost every day. I'll be back to visit though, (probably more than necessary) and I hope a lot of you keep in touch with me! (find me on Facebook or Instagram). Thanks again, you guys are the best. 

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December 2017 Yogi of the Month

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December 2017 Yogi of the Month

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ALISA ERICKSON

1. When & Why did you start practicing yoga?
I started yoga in January after someone told me about Elements Hot Yoga and how awesome it was. I immediately loved it. The instructors brought their own unique style to each class, and getting to choose between three types of yoga mixes up my routine at times. Power Yoga quickly became my favorite. It was challenging in a different way than my other workouts and a good complement to them. 
2. What do you love most about your yoga practice?
I love how yoga makes me feel- calm, strong, and motivated. The positivity in the studio, the heat and quietness in the room makes me feel relaxed and content. It’s the best feeling to be able to do a pose better than the time before and notice my progress from month to month.
3. Are you currently facing any struggles or challenges within your practice?
Flexibility has always been a challenge for me. It’s definitely improved since the first day of yoga but there’s still a long way to go. Mainly I want to feel less tight, which probably means I should go to Yin Yoga more often. :) Instructors encourage patience and not being hard on yourself so that’s what I focus on when I feel challenged in stretching and certain yoga poses. 
4. Favorite pose?
Wild Thing. The combination of strength, stretching and opening my chest and hips is energizing and refreshing.
5. Favorite quote you would like to share?
“Strive for Progress, not Perfection.”  ~Author Unknown

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November 2017 Yogi of the Month

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November 2017 Yogi of the Month

Cheryl Souza

 

  WHEN & WHY DID YOU START PRACTICING YOGA?   2000.  I had two young children, was going through a divorce, and someone I knew suggested I might like it.  I fell in love about halfway through the first class.   WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?   That it’s a practice.  By the time I found yoga, I’d given up the idea of perfection, but I still believed in aiming for it.  Yoga broke me of that.  Every day I bring a different self to the mat and no matter how well or poorly I’m doing asana, it’s exactly right.   ARE YOU CURRENTLY FACING ANY STRUGGLES OR CHALLENGES WITHIN YOUR PRACTICE?   Oh, sure.  I’m over 60, my balance is crap, I’ve torn one rotator cuff three times, and I suddenly have much tighter hips than I’m used to.   FAVORITE POSE?   It depends on your definition of “favorite.”  Frog pose is the one in which I feel most comfortable, but the one I’m trying hardest to master (I often panic in it) is Camel   FAVORITE QUOTE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?   “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  - Winston Churchill

WHEN & WHY DID YOU START PRACTICING YOGA?

2000.  I had two young children, was going through a divorce, and someone I knew suggested I might like it.  I fell in love about halfway through the first class.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?

That it’s a practice.  By the time I found yoga, I’d given up the idea of perfection, but I still believed in aiming for it.  Yoga broke me of that.  Every day I bring a different self to the mat and no matter how well or poorly I’m doing asana, it’s exactly right.

ARE YOU CURRENTLY FACING ANY STRUGGLES OR CHALLENGES WITHIN YOUR PRACTICE?

Oh, sure.  I’m over 60, my balance is crap, I’ve torn one rotator cuff three times, and I suddenly have much tighter hips than I’m used to.

FAVORITE POSE?

It depends on your definition of “favorite.”  Frog pose is the one in which I feel most comfortable, but the one I’m trying hardest to master (I often panic in it) is Camel

FAVORITE QUOTE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  - Winston Churchill

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