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The Experts: Brianna Dwinnell

During my spring break abroad, I had an amazing opportunity to travel around Western Europe with an awesome group of people. Bri was one of them, and I am so happy to have met her! Bri is spunky, tough, and so cheerfully sociable. She is such a fun person to be around! Over the last four years, it has been great to see her tear through life with college graduation, teaching in Thailand, and getting ridiculously good at yoga faster than your average learner! I remember when she first started posting videos of her yoga and she was struggling with balance. Now, I see her more on her hands than on her feet! Check out her journey with yoga below in our Q/A:


Q: Tell me about your background in yoga and what you are currently doing

A: I think my first yoga class was when I was in high school with my mom. We went to a Hot Yoga studio in the neighborhood and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't until my junior or senior year of college that I really got into practicing yoga. I loved seeing what my body could do and the progress it made from simply staying connected to my breath and bringing awareness to my movements. Since memberships were pretty expensive, I stuck to finding videos on youtube, or apps like Asana Rebel to practice from. After some time doing that, I began creating my own flows and doing what my body felt like it wanted to do. Come summer of 2019, I decided it was time to get my Yoga Certification. It deepened my practice in ways I didn't know it could go and allowed me to open up to a whole new world around me.


Currently, I am teaching online through Zoom. With all studios being shut down, we found that Zoom created a safe space for teachers to still connect with their students while allowing everyone to feel safe in their homes. I work with one studio in the neighborhood teaching one class a week and then have 3 other classes through a studio a group of ladies and I created that is all online, Studio Shift- A Wellness Movement! So my days consist of a lot of yoga- practicing, teaching, prepping- but it has kept my mind clear and refreshed even through a difficult time like now.


Q: Why is yoga good for you and how often do you recommend people do it?

A: I don't even know where to begin with this. Yoga is everything! Yoga is the connection of your mind and body, it's the awareness of how you move, and what you feel, it's creating space for yourself to be just as you are, and love it, 100%. Yoga is not just a physical movement. Yoga is a lot of the mind work which helps you be the best person you can be or to find the light whenever possible. Yoga helped me open myself to new opportunities, heal parts of my mind that needed mending, and move my body in ways where I feel refreshed and strong afterward.


As far as how often you should do it, it honestly depends on the person. I would say to at least try doing it once a week. That's a great starting point. See how you feel after one class. How did you sleep? How do you feel the next day? There are so many styles you can choose from too so it might take some time to find what suits you best. But keep trying! And maybe one class will turn into 2, or 3 a week! The more you can incorporate yoga into your life though, the better you will feel.


Q: What are the most difficult poses for you?

A: Some of the most "basic" yoga poses are difficult. I didn't realize that until I went through my training and learned how to properly do each one. Even when you're in a Triangle pose, after squeezing the quads, externally rotating the front leg, engaging the core, lifting up through your fingers... you start to feel it everywhere. You learn to use props like blocks to help out so you can be in the pose without compromising any of the forms. I don't know, this question is tricky because it really depends on the day and how my body is feeling. But the easy general answer for me: inversions. I love them, but they take a lot of work.


Q: What are your best tips for those just getting into yoga?

A: Everyone's body is different! That's what makes us unique. There is a difference between compression, bone on bone, and tension, tight muscles. Not everyone can move in the same way and some people were just born extremely flexible. Don't focus on how deep other people's postures are or how bendy they look. Focus on how you feel and if you're in the proper alignment. Discomfort is okay, pain is not. This is where the awareness piece of yoga comes in!


Q: Other tips on staying relaxed during everyday life?

A: Besides trying to throw a little yoga into your routine, I have found using essential oils, Doterra, and journaling daily have been a huge benefit to my life. I use the oils for all my moods, aches/pains, motivation, grounding, sicknesses, you name it! Journaling helps get my thoughts onto paper and out of my head because it can get a little cluttered up there sometimes. Going outside! Being in sunlight is HUGE for me. Try taking a little walk around the block or just sitting outside to do work or read. I'd say those are my top to-do's to stay relaxed every day!

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