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!

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“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.

Grace_International Yoga Day #1

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.”

Michelle Chua_International Yoga Day#1

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.

Sara Hess_International Yoga Day #1

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

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