Student Feature: Austin Lee

Meet Austin!

Meet Austin!

Name: Austin lee

Hometown: Yellowknife born and raised!

Months/years practicing yoga: I began my practice in May of 2015!

Favourite class offered at Taiga: As cliché as it sounds I love all of them (yes, even those challenging power classes). When I began practicing last year with the studio I had the opportunity to experience many different classes and teachers that all bring their own unique aspects. Take the time to try them all  is my biggest recommendation to anyone. As an avid runner I am especially fond of those Saturday afternoon Yin classes to help me balance out my training.

What is your favorite yoga posture and why: Okay so there is definitely two I have currently in my mind and both are a work in progress!

The first would be Warrior 3 which stems from my very first yoga class at Taiga (and first class ever). If I remember correctly my first class was just under an hour in which I sweat harder than any run I had been doing around that time and I was pleasantly surprised (shocked?) at how intense yoga can be for someone who has never been in that environment. About halfway through that class Warrior 3 was introduced and for everyone that knows balancing postures, there's a lot going on in this pose. At the time I could barely balance myself into the pose and I remember the burn in my hip being that first introduction to checking my ego and knowing my limit in a pose. For me Warrior 3 represents not only a challenging posture, it's a reminder to myself that its okay to not be perfect in a pose, just keep working at!

Austin in his number 1 pose, Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3)

Austin in his number 1 pose, Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3)

The second is headstand! In a similar vein as my Warrior 3 story I was introduced to headstand this past winter while practicing at a studio in Edmonton while I was away for studies. For me, headstand was a posture I didn't imagine I would ever try when I began my practice a year ago yet it has become one of my major goals. One day I was introduced to this posture in a class unexpectedly and with some encouragement I gave it a shot. As you can guess, my legs did not end up in the air. I think that's okay though as I still work on headstand prep to this day. I love this posture as it represents a journey I am on with my practice and even though I have yet to achieve this pose I am loving the work it takes to get there!

My Yoga Journey: So I guess my story begins with a young guy fresh out of his second year of university, slightly out of shape, no real passions or hobbies that I could really call my own at the time. Early in January of 2015 I began running with a goal of doing a 5k race. It was something I had enjoyed in high school yet had fallen out of touch with. As summer dawned on me I was looking for something to do with my time so I decided I would run a half marathon by the end of the summer. Sure enough I began that training and found a love for putting one foot in front of the other... repeat as necessary (I swear it is fun). But as any runner knows injuries can become the mortal enemy and after hearing about Taiga yoga I decided I would give it an attempt with a morning flow class before work. Wow is all I need to say. This was a class slightly under an hour where I felt like I had nearly died over and over and over again (and started a lovely relationship with Warrior 3). I was hooked from the start. With the amazing summer student deal I was able to practice almost twice a day every day all summer while I trained for my running and got into some of the best shape of my life. While the summer went on I at some point decided running a full marathon was a good choice and with yoga I managed to crush that goal last august. Luckily I landed a job working with Lululemon this past winter which paid for me to attend a studio in Edmonton. Over my school year I continued my practice as much as possible and here I am today enjoying another wonderful summer with Taiga and my running. What started as a compliment to my training, developed into a love for yoga that rivals my love for running. Together I think both activities summarize what I'm all about!

What keeps you coming back to Taiga: Due to being a university student I am sadly only able to attend the studio in the summer months but I truly value having such a great space to be a part of in those sunny days. I have to say the people are what make this studio my yogi home. With any of the teachers at Taiga I know I can trust them with teaching a safe class where I can explore my potential without worry.  I have had the chance to get to know many of you and I encourage anyone to come say hi!

Austin in Crow Pose (Bakasana)

Austin in Crow Pose (Bakasana)

Words of wisdom: Take some risks! I am a firm believer that you should set goals and crush them in any aspect of your life whether its a pose you really want to explore or a new opportunity that puts you out of your comfort zone. Love yourself, go be a spiritual gangster in your practice, and explore your potential.

In health,

Austin