Cool. Jimi Hendrix, the Fonz and Nam Chantepie. The type of guy that upon first impression oozes a style, a charm, a persona… and the best part? The more you get to know him, the cooler you realize he is. Come take his Level 2 Vinyasa Flow on Thursday evenings at 6pm. Check out our full class schedule here.
1. What is your favorite style of yoga?
Hatha Yoga. I like taking the time to really get into the pose and experience the alignment, muscular engagement and extension. Although I do enjoy flowing through a fun and interesting sequence, my home practice is more about exploring individual poses and the slow, deliberate transitions between them.
2. What first attracted you to yoga when you began your practice?
I was living a rather sedentary life, and had just ended a toxic six year relationship. Never having taken a single class before, I looked to yoga to help me transition back into the gym and get back into shape. What I actually got out of my first three months was a clearer head, a lighter heart, a freer spirit and a 30-pound lighter body, and I forgot all about the gym. Yoga lifted me up and showed me so many things I never expected or knew I could find on and off my mat.
3. What is your favorite yoga pose right now?
Handstand. I’ve been committed to a daily handstand practice for almost a year. Only within the last 2 months have I finally found a sense of weightlessness and engagement in my handstands.
4. What pose is still the most challenging?
Ustrasana (or camel pose) has always been a challenge for me. I have a nagging shoulder impingement that keeps me from fully drawing my shoulders back, so it is difficult for me to feel ease or opening in this pose. I almost always modify with my hands on my hips and squeezing a block between my thighs.
5. If you were an animal, you would be: Probably a monkey. Mostly because I’m a goofball and love inverting!
6. Describe what yoga means in your life using just 6 words: peaceful centered space to grow from
7. What might your students be surprised to learn about you?
When I was three years old, my mom and I tried to escape from Vietnam. We were caught three times and sent to prison each time. So technically, my students are being taught by a multiple offending ex-con. 🙂
8. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for new students?
My first week of yoga, I had the honor of taking a class with Yoga One instructor Amy Freeman. Towards the end, I was really struggling and almost gave up on yoga altogether while unsuccessfully trying urdhva dhanurasana (full wheel pose).
Amy came up to me, gave me blocks to modify my pose and said, “It’s ok, you’re doing great. Think of where you’ll be a year from now.” Those words have stuck with me. Those are the words I think about every time I move into camel pose.
Yoga is not about achieving the perfect expression of the poses, it’s about incremental improvements and the humility to take a step back whenever your body needs it.