International Yoga Day: Reasons We Practice
Happy International Yoga Day!
Yoga is for everyone, whether you’re deep in your practice or trying a class for the first time. We reached out to a few of our amazing Athleta Ambassadors to learn how they got started and what they’ve learned through their practice.
Practicing Positivity: Meet Athleta Ambassador Lili Daniel (Pasadena, CA)
Six years ago I was going through the motions in life. I would wake up, work all day and repeat. A power yoga studio opened up right across the street from where I lived, so I gave it a try. In my first class I almost passed out, but I promised to do yoga until I didn’t feel like that again. During the 3rd class I took a deep breath and something clicked! I knew that I needed this in my life and that this was a start of a new journey.
I’ve found that yoga brings a lot of positivity to all aspects of my life. Not only am I the strongest and most flexible I have ever been in my life, but it has brought an unbelievable level of happiness and creativity in my life that I can share with those around me.
“I have learned to really love myself and unite body and mind.”
Follow Lili @lilsjourney
Presence and Peace: Meet Athleta Ambassador Jennifer Dapper (Santa Monica, CA)
I decided to go through yoga teacher training only a short time after my first class to dive deeper into the physical aspect. But, I quickly realized there was much more to it.
“As a busy woman raising two children on my own, I now practice yoga everyday and walk away with a sense of peace and calmness that reminds me to slow down and enjoy life.”
Follow Jen @jendapper1
Community Connection: Meet Athleta Ambassador Bethany Lyons (SoHo, NY)
I was on my way to a ballet rehearsal, but when I arrived, I learned it had been canceled. There just so happened to be a yoga studio around the corner. After 90 minutes in the heated Vinyasa class, I was hooked – and I realized it would be great cross-training for dance. Little did I know it would end up changing the entire course of my life!
“I’ve become more connected to how I am feeling — I’m forced to deal with those emotions on the mat instead of stuffing them down.”
Follow Bethany @bethanyalyons
Strength and Sweat: Meet Athleta Ambassador Grace Ling Yu (Corte Madera, CA)
Ever since I started walking at 10 months old, my parents said I was like a monkey, climbing everything in sight, running everywhere I went, and making them count how long I could hold a handstand. After college I became an elementary school teacher. To balance out the stress of learning how to discipline 6 year olds, I began to practice yoga.
Yoga is my sanctuary. Physically, I need to move everyday or I become antsy. I need to sweat. I need to go upside down. It is just who I am and what brings me alive. Yoga has taught me how to tune into my Ujjayi breath and simply… slow down. Even though I am moving physically, my mind is resting.
“When I practice yoga, I feel strong and determined. It recharges me and makes me a better teacher, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend… person.”
Follow Grace @gracelingyu
Grounding in Gratitude: Meet Athleta Ambassador Michelle Chua (Los Angeles, CA)
My yoga asana practice became my daily refuge, an experimental church, a playground, a therapist, my sanity. During my volunteer teaching service, my daily regimen—a routine I adopted to create a sense of familiarity within a foreign place—became a morning, and sometimes afternoon, trail run to the ocean and yoga asana practice.
While running channeled anxiety and frustration for me, yoga spoke wisdom to my soul, encouraging self-compassion and thus, a newfound compassion for others, whose ways of living I hadn’t at first understood. I began to run, not for competition or ego, but for enjoyment and gratitude toward my body and the inspiring natural environment I felt honored to be living in.
“Yoga unveiled courage and blessings at every corner.”
Follow Michelle @root2riseyoga
Power of Prana: Meet Athleta Ambassador Sara Hess (Corte Madera, CA)
At the age of 13, I experienced my first yoga class. It was fairly simple: find the breath, connect to the body, discover the pose. Little did I know that there was much more to it — that when movement and breath are synced, muscles engaged, and bones aligned, the depth of your practice is limitless and can go far beyond the physical body.
Yoga has become an incredible anchor and source of deep internal power and truth. Through my practice and teachings I am able to connect with a deeper part of myself, one that motivates me to live an authentic life.
I have become a more honest, compassionate and truthful person toward myself and others. As I like to say, it is when we meet our edge that we discover who we really are.
“Yoga is medicine so allow it to work its magic.”
Follow Sara @sararahelyoga