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Yoga, Studying the Self, and More with Isaac

Each month, meet a Vibe Yoga instructor as they introduce themselves and the studio theme of the month. This month, hear from Isaac as he shares his experience with yoga and svadhyaya, self-study. 

What first brought you to yoga?

My mother was the one to bring me to yoga. I had tried many sports at school and needed another outlet to exercise. Little did I know at the time that I would find so much more than just physical exercise. 

Do you remember your first yoga class or your first experience at a yoga studio? What do you want new students in your class to know prior to attending a class with you?

My first yoga experience was at Intentional Yoga in Portage, Michigan. I took a hot yoga class, and it kicked my butt! I quickly learned that, in order to make it through a class in one piece, you have to listen to yourself and know your own limits. Yoga is different for every body, and the instructors were so attune to this - helping me find how to best work towards fuller expressions of poses! I hope that new students feel empowered to take the options that best fit their individual needs. 

What is a memorable yoga experience that you've had?

A memorable experience for me was being able to sit cross-legged for longer than 10 minutes. Sitting cross-legged was extremely uncomfortable in my lower back over longer periods of time, but after months of meditating on a block building up my back strength, I was finally able to do my practice without it! 

What is your personal favorite yoga posture or class to take and why?

I adore frog pose or mandukasana. It is such an intense hip opener, and one of the first poses I learned. I also hold a lot of stress in my hips, and it is hard for me to fully relax and release in malasana. So, I love getting down on the floor and working on sending my breath to my hips, it's become therapeutic in a way.

What classes are you teaching this month? Is there anything students can expect in a class with you?

This month, I am teaching warm yoga for stress reduction on Monday nights. When coming to class, you can expect a soft, dark, and quiet place to turn inwards, shed the baggage leftover from the previous week, and leave feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead. 

This month's theme is svadhyaya or self-study. How would you explain svadhyaya to someone who might be unfamiliar with the concept?

Svadhyaya is the practice of studying the inner workings of the self and taking time to get to know yourself fully. Pick apart and educate each facet of your person, see and learn to love the parts of yourself that are most difficult too, and find your fullest self.

What are three ways that students can practice svadhyaya either on their yoga mats or in their daily lives?

Take time to notice how you feel throughout your day and on your mat. Find a moment of silence and sink into it, treasure it, and listen to your inner voices. Get to know each voice, accept them, love them, and learn to grow observant of them even when things aren't quiet; in moments of distress, jealousy, anger, joy, peace, and eventually, you'll always be listening. This observance will help you grow closer with yourself and serve you on and off your mat.

Isaac in meditation