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Member Spotlight : Andra King

Camp Ty

 Name: Andra King

 Nickname: Little King and Aundie (my brother’s name for me since he couldn’t pronounce my name  when I was born)

 Day Job: Marketing Coordinator for KDC Real Estate Development & Investments

 How long have you have been practicing at YS? Well, that depends on when you consider what  my start date is. I actually took my beginners class at YogaSport in 2005/2006. I loved it, but didn’t stay  consistent. Several years ago a friend who had actually taken the beginners series with me way back  when, asked if I wanted to do a challenge. I agreed and I am happy to say I haven’t stopped since.

 What is your favorite YS workshop or class? I truly think all the classes and workshops are wonderful. However, the workshop I feel I learned the most from was 40 days. It really brought me to a new level of being present, not only with my practice and discipline, but with my community! Go Team Orange!!!!

 Name one thing you consider yourself to be very good at: I have never been comfortable  boasting about what I am good at, when asked to do this spotlight I cheated and polled a few close to  me. I learned I am good at being very thoughtful and caring to others with my giving nature, hmm is  that even something to be good at??

Meg Coach Patterson

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice? I love to practice crow to tripod (I know that is 2). Crow was the first inversion I accidentally did in Shanna’s class out of the blue one day several years ago. I think it surprised us both when it happened and since then it just reminds me of where I started and how far I’ve come.

TCU Game

Why did you start practicing yoga? To be honest, to lose  weight. I had no idea it would give me so many more gifts.

Who  inspires you the most and why? I have been very blessed to  be surrounded by several who inspire me on a daily basis for their  own reasons, they know who they are. If I had to pick one, I think  I would pick the first person that inspired me when I was very  young, my Dad. The lessons I learned from watching him love  and live by example and then his inspiring spirit when he fell ill,  continue to live within me and inspire me every day.

 Why do you still practice? I love challenging myself and no matter how long or how much I practice, I am challenged every time.

What do you just love about YogaSport? I just love the YogaSport people and community!!! I feel so supported and encouraged every time I am there, it just makes me feel at home.

What’s your guilty pleasure? A good Bone-in Rib eye accompanied by a nice glass of red wine!!

Yoga in the Park

Furthest city traveled: Tokyo, Japan

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us? Unless you were in 40 days, most don’t know I was an exchange student in Tokyo in High School.

Mac or PC? PC

Member Spotlight: David Brown

with son parker and daughter lindsay

David with son, Parker and daughter, Lindsay

Name: David Brown

Nickname: Brownie. You can hopefully figure out where that came from.  It is not used very often any more, except by some good childhood friends who gave it to me, and long ago forgot my real name.

Day Job: I am a lawyer at Winstead, PC, a Dallas-based business law firm with about 350 lawyers, and offices in all other major Texas cities, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C.  I have practiced law there for a very long time, and handle primarily commercial, real estate, and insurance related litigation.  Fellow YS yogi Kate Landrum is also a lawyer there, and we were in the same YS beginner class.

How long have you have been practicing at YS? 18 months.

What is your favorite YS workshop or class (and why)? It’s hard to pick a favorite, because I like them all.  The recent Arm Balances and Inversions Workshop is one of my favorites.  Most of the poses covered in that workshop are quite difficult (unless your name is Christopher, of course). I cannot yet do some of them, but I have a long term goal of being able to do all of them.  I’m in to the sustained effort/deferred gratification thing, and found the workshop was very helpful and very well done.   

YogaSport Member, David Brown Photo 2

James (son) and Mint (daughter-in-law), and random elephant walking down the street

Name one thing you consider yourself to be very good at: I think (hope) I am a very good father, which has always been a high priority of mine. I have 3 great “kids,” ages 31, 30, and 22. Though they now live faraway in Thailand, California, and Colorado, I stay in constant contact with them.  Being their dad has been the most difficult thing I have ever done (I have some truly unbelievable stories!), but far and away the most rewarding.  I am now a grandfather (I have a 2½ year old granddaughter who is half Thai and speaks(sort of)/understands 3 languages), and aspire to be good at that too.

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice? I love Crow to Tripod Headstand, when I pull it off.  It requires strength, balance, and patience, and gives me at least a fleeting sense of accomplishment.

Who inspires you the most and why? My kids. I am in awe of the responsible adults they have become, the qualities they demonstrate, the things they have accomplished, and the lives they have built for themselves. I would have bet big against all of that when they were teenagers, but now I feel like I’m not worthy!photo

Why did you start practicing yoga?  A long-time neighborhood friend/running buddy of mine and his wife started doing it and thought I might enjoy it.  They invited me to attend a class with them one Saturday morning at Uptown Yoga.  I went and was instantly hooked because of the way it made me feel, even though I didn’t know the poses and was sort of just flopping around.   I went back the next day and was sure it was something I wanted to start doing regularly, but realized I needed to take a beginner class so I could figure out what all those poses were that the instructor was talking about.  I didn’t know the difference between a Downward Dog and a Headstand.  After some characteristic procrastination, I searched on-line and found the YS beginner class taught by Patrick.  After “passing” the class, I started coming regularly, and haven’t stopped since.

Why do you still practice?  For the stickers, of course!  Just kidding. Yoga is the most complete and exhausting workout I have ever experienced. I love the physical and mental challenges, and the way it makes me feel and think.  There is nothing better for my energy, health, and attitude. It helps satisfy my inner need to do hard things, which I think is essential for positive growth and change, which become more difficult as you get older. Like golf, it’s one of those activities that you can do at pretty much any age.  And as probably the oldest regular YS yogi, I know from experience how difficult, but important, it is to continue to always stay physically and mentally active on a regular basis. Yoga is a great way to do it.  I am committed to doing it regularly for as long as I am physically able.  My only regret is that I didn’t start practicing a long time ago.  As an aside, I’m also very much into the metaphorical  and cathartic aspects of the practice, but that might sound too weird, so I’ll just leave it at that. And I also think it helps my running, but I guess not my tendency to ramble!

What do you just love about YogaSport? The friendly, interesting, funny, smart, open, and diverse group of people who work and practice there.  It is such a warm (no pun intended) and welcoming place, with such a positive vibe. Being a boring lawyer, but for YS, I never would have crossed paths with many of the good friends I have made there. 

Spill – What’s your guilty pleasure? Red wine and chocolate, but not necessarily together.  And I don’t actually feel the least bit guilty about consuming large quantities of either, so maybe that’s not a good answer!

Son Parker and Daughter Lindsay

Son Parker and Daughter Lindsay

What’s the best dish you can cook? Feel free to share a recipe if you like! I am a really bad cook. I do, however, know how to cook a steak properly on the outside grill (turn it only once!).  And one person complimented me once on my quick boiled (yes, not steamed—too much trouble) broccoli.

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us? I am not and never have been a big baseball fan, but when I was a kid here in Dallas, we lived down the street from baseball legend Mickey Mantle during the last few years he played baseball for the NY Yankees.  I knew him very well and spent a lot of time in his home, because he had 4 boys who I hung around with regularly.  He could not have been nicer to us neighborhood kids, and when he was in town, he played touch football with us almost every day.  And Mrs. Mantle, who was very “country” and sweet as she could be, let us drive her big Cadillac around the neighborhood when we were only 12—seriously!

Mac or PC? Mac. No contest!

Member Spotlight: Johnny Chang

Johnny Chang Aweso

Name? Johnny Chang

Nickname? The most popular nickname I have is actually my full name, usually pronounced as one word, like Johnnychang.  People love saying my full name for some reason.  Also, JC and of course every variation of Johnny, the worst of which was when that Poe song “Angry Johnny” came out back in the mid-90s.

Day Job: Business Planning and Analysis Sr. Manager at Citi.  I’ll spare you the details and say I spend pretty much my entire day dabbling in Excel and Cognos TM1.

How long have you have been practicing at YS? About 15 months now.

What is your favorite YS workshop or class (and why)? The inversions workshops have been my favorite because they’ve showed me that some of the crazy balances and inversions I saw people doing were more accessible than I thought.  And that some are still hard.

What’s the number one yoga pose you just love to practice? Peter Pans!  Said no one, ever.  I would have to say wheel because it is both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.  Just as importantly, it keeps me temporarily distracted from the fact that abs are coming up afterwards.

Johnny Chang Finest QualityWho inspires you the most and why? My parents, who immigrated here when I was about a year old and had to navigate an unfamiliar country and language to set up me and my sister for a comfortable upbringing and schooling.  I’m sure they’ve made more sacrifices for us than I’ll ever know.

Why did you start practicing yoga? I started practicing yoga as an alternative form of exercise to playing inline hockey – during the Dallas summers and colder months the crowds can thin out, so I wanted to stay active during those periods.  I checked out a couple studios and then started the beginner’s series here with the intent of exploring more studios afterwards, but never ended up leaving.

Why do you still practice? Yoga is the only physical activity where I almost always feel better afterwards than beforehand, even though I am drenched and probably look miserable.  It is consistently both a challenging and humbling experience, and there is always room for improvement and progress in your practice.  Also, going through a period that your friends now refer to as the “Buddha Johnny” phase would be cool if they were referring to my mental state.  Alas, they were not, and I prefer not to revisit that state.

Johnny Chang Dubrovnik (600x800)

What do you just love about YogaSport? The reason I ended up never leaving YS is because I was really impressed by the teachers and instruction.  The instructors have a gift for both pushing you to get the most out of your practice but also at making sure you get into and keep proper form.  And of course, I have also found pretty much everyone at the studio to be incredibly nice – I’m not sure I have met a friendlier group of people anywhere.

Spill – What’s your guilty pleasure? If I’m not careful, I could pretty easily eat a roll of Thin Mints in one sitting.  If they’re frozen – probably a full box.

What is one thing we don’t know about you that would surprise us? Salad is pretty much everything I hate about food combined into one convenient package.  Yes, I dislike almost all veggies and quite a few fruits.  No, I have never developed scurvy.  Yes, most people find this totally bizarre.

Get Empty to Fill Up

By YS Teacher, Morgan Martindale

I remember driving past yoga studios and wondering, “What’s that all about?” Years went by as I drove down Lemmon Avenue, passed by YogaSport, and had my share of black bean dip and margaritas downstairs at Gloria’s.

You see, I had other things to do with my time. I went to the gym to “workout”. I took Spinning classes and loved them. I had “my” bike and favorite teacher. I spent my weekends riding or running outdoors and my Saturdays making pottery. Life was good. I worked out at my gym, exercised outside, created art with my hands, and ate good burgers with friends after class.

Somewhere during “life is good,” my mom had a series of hospital visits with her diabetes that affected her in numerous ways. One day, my mom told me to ride my bike and visit her later at the hospital. I decided to just go for a walk around the lake, but on my way there, I got the call from dad. Mom was gone. I believe she planned it that way…she wanted me on my bike and my dad at home with their dog, Bailey.

From that moment on, I went outside for my workouts. I became a lake regular, seeing the same faces in the mornings and evenings after work. Friendships were never really formed, only smiles, waves and nods.

I recall the day I decided to give yoga a try. I purchased a mat for eight bucks and signed up for the new member special. My first class was a Sunday, a beginner class. All I remember was sweating a TON, wondering what just happened to me, and telling myself that I was going to come back the next day! I was hooked.

In all honesty, I thought yoga would compliment my other activities, end of story. I came for the physical workout. I loved the sweating, rinsing, detoxing, and as I did all that, my body began to feel stronger. Maybe a month into my yoga practice, I began a full on crying episode in my savasana, one that I could not contain or stop.

I began to experience a release and healing of the loss of my mom, who passed away four years prior to my yoga ‘journey’. My practice became another form of therapy for me. On my mat, I had to be with my feelings and thoughts, where as when I was outdoors I could escape them all. In Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste’s fifth principle is, “In Order to Heal, You Need to Feel.” My priority and vision shifted to landing on my mat to heal. Each class, in almost every half pigeon, I cried, and it felt so good. I left the studio feeling weights lifted from my shoulders and my heart.

I found yoga to workout and yoga found me to heal, release, and connect with others. Loss put me in a very raw, empty, and alone place in my life. What came that I never anticipated was a human-to-human connection with fellow yogis. I look forward to each practice on my mat, supporting my neighbors with breath to move fluidly together.

Two years into my practice, when I drive by YogaSport, I now know what it’s about: getting a great workout and, more importantly, being a part of a place where I can “let go” and fill up on living my life in a brighter way.

My Life as a Carnival Mirror

By YS Instructor, Christopher Roberson

 

There is this version of ourselves that we see when we look into a mirror. What we see reflected back at us can range from strictly superficial things like hair, skin, and smile, to a deeper, more personal view of ourselves as human beings.

Over the last few years I have begun to realize that the image I see in the mirror, where I brush my teeth and comb my hair, feels more like a carnival mirror. In this reflection, proportions are exaggerated, distorted, and any semblance to myself is nearly absent.

The carnival mirror has become a metaphor for my social behavior and the way in which I replicate and exaggerate the behavior of others.

I recall waking up many a morning overwhelmed with a heavy feeling of regret sitting on my chest. Who was that guy last night? He put on my clothes, wore my face, but didn’t represent the values and standards that I want for myself.

In an effort to fit in, I worked too hard to reflect the thoughts, energy, and attitudes of those around me. But in true “Christopher” form, I took what I experienced in others and exaggerated it three-fold. Throw me in a room with a slightly narcissistic and hedonistic variety of people, and suddenly, I became an “If you don’t have something nice to say, come stand by me” kind of guy.

I wasn’t content simply following the lead of others, and I often found myself disproportionately mirroring the energy and flaws of the people around me. This way of being became a mask I wore to absolve myself of responsibility for my behavior, as well as the effect this behavior has on others.

In the moment, it was hilarious to be rude, to make fun of my friends, and to talk shit about people who under any other circumstance I held in high regard. I justified that being catty and sarcastic was part of my cultural connection and sociological response to those around me.

This realization was a necessary step towards redefining who I see when I take a long hard look at myself, and how I can sometimes behave. Part of this process of growth was saturating myself in a community whose values I admire. Thus, emerging myself in the yoga community helped me find ways to create the change I needed for myself.

YogaSport, primarily, has been a welcoming community where smiles and honest connections are in no short supply. I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with people whom I admire, and strive daily to adopt traits that I appreciate in the people around me. It’s in this transition that I have realized that I am the company that I keep, so keeping better company has become a necessity to living the life I want to live.

My struggle is still constant, and I acknowledge that this process of growth is always in a state of flux, but now when I look at who I am, I like what I see.

CultureMap Dallas features YS!

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 4.41.15 PM

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 4.42.35 PMScreen Shot 2013-08-14 at 4.46.00 PMaron Baptiste is known as the founder of power flow yoga. Because Baptiste grew up with yogi parents, we’re not surprised that he lives a very zen life.

But its the “Baptiste” movement — a special practice combining meditation, intense movement and peace of mind — that makes him so remarkable. When Baptiste came to town for a sold-out all-day workshop, we sat down with him at Yogasport in Dallas, one of his affiliate studios, to learn how to find better balance and emulate his lifestyle.

CultureMap: When you created power flow yoga more than 20 years go, was it your intention to create a kind of brand?

Baron Baptiste: It wasn’t the goal. I wanted to take the mysticism out of yoga and create a disciplined power yoga practice. It worked out: When I first practiced in Beverly Hills, people quickly saw physical, mental and emotional results.

CM: Does yoga always have to be incorporated with mediation?

BB: They don’t have to go together, but they certainly lend to each other. Poses create health, strength and calmness in the mind; meditation creates stillness.

CM: How do you suggest staying balanced with a busy work/travel schedule?

BB: The good thing about yoga is that you can do it anywhere. But it’s always better to get to a class and practice there, where you have a dedicated space with no distractions.

CM: Can anyone practice Baptiste power yoga?

BB: As long as they are healthy overall, one can jump right into it — at any age.

CM: How hot does a class get?

BB: Our studios vary, but I will say that this practice generates body heat of about 80 degrees. With contracting and extending you are heating and healing from the inside out. You’re detoxing and cleansing.

CM: Do you follow a special diet?

BB: I try to eat as natural as possible — whole foods. I think it stems from a wholesome attitude.

CM: More and more men are practicing yoga, but it seems like they’re still a minority. Why do you think that is?

BB: In our classes we see a lot of men, actually, because they are more athletic. You don’t need to be flexible for this kind of yoga. Women are certainly more open than men, but I think there’s definitely a breakthrough from the perception that yoga is only for women.

CM: Yoga clothing has become so prevalent. Do you think yogis need to wear special gear?

BB: The good thing about yoga is that you don’t need much. You have to be comfortable, and you must be able to move in whatever you wear. Lululemon happens to be an amazing brand.

CM: In another life, what would you be doing?

BB: I’d be on the radio. I like to talk.

 

Read the story on CultureMap Dallas, here.

Planting Seeds in Cellulite by Shannah

Our Teachers in Training share their insights with the YogaSport community.

by Shoshannah Frank

By the time we started our 8 mile hike down to the Havasupai reservation in the middle of the desert in May, we had already hiked about 20 miles in the days prior and ridden our bikes around the Canyon Village. Needless to say, I was feeling the aches, pains and strains of roughing it. My hike became a walking meditation of sorts. I would count my steps to a rhythm and concentrate on my breath as I inhaled and exhaled. Finally, I began to feel something I never really felt before. I was grateful for all that my body was doing and allowing me to experience. I was tired and hot, but I kept moving. The day before we had met a young guy on the trail in the Grand Canyon. He was a medical student who was taking his last “real” summer break. He told us all the wonderful trips he had planned: rock climbing in Yosemite and Peru. All Dylan and I could say is do it! Do it while you have the time. Do it while you have the freedom. Do it while your body is capable. This conversation made me reflect back to what I was doing when I was around his age, late teens early twenties, and my gratitude grew even more. Back then I was fat, not fat like I tell myself now, but overweight by at least 50 pounds, lazy, asthmatic and a smoker. I would wait 15 minutes to take the bus 3 blocks. Sad. Here I was, 34, hiking, climbing rocks, camping and doing handstands in front of 80 ft waterfalls. It took a trip to paradise to realize how lucky I am. At this moment in my life, I have a strong healthy body. It is an inspiring feeling when you realize you are capable of more than you thought.

This euphoria lasted for about a week after we got home. I found myself reverting back to my old thinking patterns. I started to hear the voices of self doubt and self judgement creep back in, attributes that I struggle with on a daily basis which lead to my lack of confidence. So my challenge to myself is to figure out how to keep that feeling of gratitude and self confidence everyday, not just in paradise. When I find these thoughts arising I try to visualize myself on my perch in front of the waterfall, full of gratitude, love and accomplishment. Recently while reading The Four Agreements one specific passage spoke to me: “When you practice giving love to every part of your body, you plant seeds of love in your mind, and when they grow, you will love, honor, and respect your body immensely.” I am beginning to understand the importance of compassion for myself, compassion for where I am right now and accepting my mistakes without judgement while I work on my growth.

While the trip was awesome and we saw and did amazing things, what I got out the trip was so much more then canyons, waterfalls and crystal clear starry skies. For that one week I was able to believe in myself. Dare I say that I felt good about myself and my body? I now commit to giving love to my body not just when it is amazing me but when I am hurting as well. I will plant the seed of love not only in my mind, but in all those places in my body that plague me like my cellulite thighs, stretch marked hips and my flabby arms. These seeds will grow and I will learn to love, honor and respect my body for all that it is. This trip may have been one week of planting, but one week could turn into months, years and hopefully the rest of my lifetime. If not, then who am I to judge?