February Student of the Month
Angela Cano, who is from California, was living in London with her husband when a friend recommended my teaching to her. We started with private sessions, which led to Angela signing on for the ISHTA Teacher Training. Angela became a mother for the first time a year ago and has now returned to the US. She is currently writing a book.
How has yoga changed you?
In more ways than I probably even realize! Physically, I am stronger now than I have ever been, and this is very noticeable when I am doing other forms of exercise (running, weight training, etc). But perhaps the most amazing change is in the development of my self awareness. Yoga, in combination with meditation, has given me the wonderful gift of understanding myself at a new level.
How do you hope it will change you in the future?
I hope this level of self understanding will continue to deepen. When I practise yoga, I am able to centre myself, and I’d like to become more skilled in centring myself in various situations off the mat – especially the stressful ones.
Has doing yoga given you any important insights about yourself?
Would you share one with us?
The most profound insight I have had recently is that a less rigorous yoga practice can actually be the best thing for my mind, body, and soul. I have been an athlete and runner my entire life, and working out has always been a part of my day and a vehicle for stress relief. Until recently, I believed that the more stressed I was, the harder I needed to work out in order to relieve the stress. I now understand that slowing down and doing a less rigorous practice will build less heat in my system and therefore relieve the stress more effectively.
If you had started yoga at seventeen, would it have changed your life?
Please tell us how.
It would have enabled me to begin the journey of self discovery that much earlier, which would have resulted in my making different, more conscious choices.
If you could be a yoga pose, which one would you be?
Vrksasana (tree pose).
Tree pose is about setting your foundation, rooting down strongly into the earth, finding and keeping your balance while at the same time reaching towards the sun – and you do this no matter what might be happening around you. I want to strive to bring this same approach into every day of my life.
What is your favourite thing to do after a satisfying session of yoga?
Walk and reflect. I always find that I have some of my most insightful, calm, and peaceful moments after I leave the mat. These are the moments I relish, and I try to maintain this energy through the activities of the day that follow.
Do you have a favourite yoga quote or saying you would share with us?
“The breath, body, and mind all work together. If one of these is agitated, the other will follow. If one is calmed, the others will follow.” This simple yet life-altering concept was one we learned as a part of the ISHTA 200-hour training, and I continue to remind myself of it on a regular basis. Whenever I’m feeling agitated, it is typically because I’m moving so quickly that I’m not breathing adequately and my entire system suffers. Breathe, breathe, breathe…just breathe.