Meet February’s Yogi of the Month : Carmen van Reenen

 

Accountant by day.  Yogi, photographer, wife and cat mom by night.

She loves movement. Yoga, dance and even running.  She loves challenging herself.

Best of all, Yoga and dance have always been a part of her life and her journey will continue on.  Carmen has  completed a 250hour vinyasa teacher training in 2012 to deepen her yoga knowledge.

Besides that she even has a passion for anatomy and is looking to further her studies in this field, as she is fascinated by the human body and its capabilities. Needless to say Carmen has definitely caught our attention!

Being a photographer , Carmen loves outdoor scenery, the beach and the ocean. And as a photographer, she is fond of capturing the beauty of others and to show them a side of themselves they hadn’t seen.

“The asana of yoga is so beautiful to me as a photographer.”

Given this small amount of information, we were already falling in love with this woman, and were at the edge of our seats to find out more! ( I’m sure you are too! ). So we conducted a interview with Carmen:

 

1.Tell us about your practice style and how you chose your Yoga method.

I started out with straight up Hatha.  That’s going back to my teens.  I eventually found Vinyasa yoga which I was drawn to because of my dance background, I love the flow.  I couple of years ago I stated practicing Ashtanga as well.  I enjoy the “discipline” of this style and I also feel like it helps develop your practice no matter which is your “main style”.

2. What is your mind-set when you step onto the mat?

Honestly just taking a time out for myself.  I have a busy lifestyle and even if I can only get a twenty or thirty minute practice in, I have to have it.  Wanna see me in a bad mood?  Mess with my yoga time!

3.Besides Yoga, what other forms of exercise do you enjoy participating in regularly?

I regularly attend Zumba classes to get my dance on.  It’s nice to just shake it out once a week and maybe even have a laugh at yourself.  I did a lot of running at a stage.  I pulled back from it a lot because of how it tightens your hips and hamstrings (a no no for yoga), but I do want to get back into trail running again just with shorter distances and maybe take it more leisurely.

4.Has Yoga changed the way you connect with your body? If so please elaborate.

Oh definitely!   For one thing I’m definitely more accepting of my body.  If I feel good and strong on my mat then I feel good about my body.

5.How has this practice helped you overcome fear?

 Lol, it’s helped me overcome the fear of face planting!  Some of more advanced stuff you can’t do without falling a few times first.  Or at least I can’t.  So I always say you need to learn to fall first.  We can translate that into everyday day life right?  Every day we learn new things and when we fall, we have pick ourselves back up and try again.  I may have gone a bit off topic J

6.Has Yoga changed your day to day lifestyle?

Most definitely!  I always say yoga is a lifestyle!  You just become so much more aware of everything from what you eat to how you treat your environment.   You also start to gain a better perspective of what’s important in life.

7.How and why did you start Yoga?

Going back again to my dance background, there is a bit of a cross over.  And at the same time my grandparent and mom used to do yoga.  My Gran had this book, a 28 day yoga exercise plan that we all used to do yoga from.

8.Are you self-taught? Or who was your greatest mentor/teacher?

Building on how I started yoga, yes I am self taught.  Back when I started practicing yoga there weren’t yoga teachers around.  At least not in the small dorpie I come from.  I’m going back about 20 odd years ago, so you can just imagine.  I used the books I could get hold of and videos to teach myself, but again my dance background helped as there was already body awareness and a bit of alignment and just a certain way of moving built into me.  I had an amazing Dance Teacher growing up.

9.What advice would you give to a beginner Yogi?

Keep showing up every day.  Get on your yoga mat every day, even if you don’t feel like it.  Do as little as ten minutes.  Chances are ten minutes will quickly turn into twenty or thirty minutes, and if you still aren’t feeling it after ten minutes, that’s OK because you showed up!

10.What time of the day and where do you feel most relaxed?

I think at the end of day.  I mentioned I have a busy schedule so it’s all go, go, go from the moment I wake up, so at the end of day I can relax.  Although I have a regular home practice, my weekly Ashtanga class is also a place to relax and escape from everyday life and technology.

11.What is your favorite food?

Um, pizza J  I love a good wood-fire pizza.

12.What is your favorite Quote?

Something my Ashtanga teacher Jen says in class which originates from her time with Guruji “Slowly, slowly,  all is coming”.  Life is so fast paced nowadays and we live in the age of instant gratification, so it’s so important to have this reminder both on the mat and in daily life.

Oh and did I mention that shes a CAT LOVER?

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