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I grew up in Santa Cruz, California and I have been practicing yoga from a young age. I did not become passionate about yoga until after I moved to the Lake Tahoe area and I broke my arm, literally in half snowboarding. My doctors told me that even after the surgery my arm would never work the same. This scared me since I spend most of my free time living an active lifestyle (snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, playing tennis, golfing, horseback riding etc.). I decided to focus on my yoga and in less than a year, my arm was back to 100%. I believe that yoga played a huge part in my recovery and is responsible for keeping my mind and body healthy.
I have followed in my mom's footsteps and become a 200 hour registered Yoga teacher. I teach at my local yoga studio, Main Street Yoga. My mom, Minh Mark became a Yoga teacher when I was four and has been practicing long before I was born. My mom and I practice yoga several times a week together. She is also an Acupressurist and Reiki teacher. My mom, an organic plant-based lifestyle and yoga have aided in the recovery of my additional snowboard injuries. Over the years, these include a broken fibula (outside leg bone), broken rib, lacerated spleen and liver.
Yoga had become such an important part of my life, yet I still found myself getting confused with the angles of my feet, the distance between my feet and if I should use my right or left hand. It was especially hard with the standing poses because when you make a mistake everybody sees you. It is embarrassing when the whole class is facing left but you went right. I made this mat for myself and was able to learn these standing poses with ease. It allowed me to focus on my breath instead of worrying about where my hands and feet were. I knew I was doing the poses correctly and to the best of my ability. It was such an empowering feeling and I was able to enjoy yoga on a whole new level.
People in class
I saw other people in class struggling with the same things I was. They looked confused trying to follow and keep up when the instructor called out each pose. I have even watched people give up and leave class because they were so lost. It made me disappointed to watch because yoga is such an incredible part of my life. The idea of somebody missing out on yoga because it was too hard to learn saddened me. I understood how confusing yoga could be but I also knew how beneficial it could be as well.
I started to wonder if the mat could help other people. I decided to try it out on my husband who had always said, “No thanks” to yoga. With him being an elementary school teacher and seeing the educational value of the mat, he decided to give it a try. With the mat, he had no problem understanding how to do the poses. They were challenging for him but he became hooked!
We started doing the poses on the mat every day, holding each pose for 30 seconds, for a total of 9 minutes. To entice him, we would watch sports shows or listen to music. I know, not very zenful but better than no yoga! Yoga can be done on your own terms. After a few months of this, he chose to stop watching sports shows and just listen to music during our practice. He also added more yoga poses during ski/snowboarding season to further prevent injuries. Six months later, we were still doing yoga every day and my husband had lost 30 Lbs.
9 minutes 9 poses
9 minutes is not a lot of time, but over a week it adds up to over an hour. I think everybody can find 9 minutes in their day to stretch and strengthen their bodies. I chose 9 common standing poses. Some take a lot of strength and balance, but you can modify every pose and work your way up.
Your yoga practice
Feel free to do our practice, make your own practice, or take the mat to class. Listen to your body first and never do anything that causes you pain.