Yogi of the Month: March 2016

Hi, I'M CASSIA AND THIS IS HOW I KICK ASANA!

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Name:  Cassie Barrows

Occupation: Nursing/Nursing student

Favorite Yoga Pose:  Any pose that I wasn’t able to do in the past that I’ve noticed has changed or grown for me in some way…  This obviously changes, but at the moment I’m loving half-moon with the bind.  It allows me to feel totally free and expansive. 

Yoga is… Breath. Movement.  But I’m starting to see that yoga is actually everywhere!  It’s the pauses and the awareness of our body and spirit in stressful moments when we aren’t actually on the mat…  If yoga is breath and movement, then it’s something we actually do our entire lives.  Some of us embark on a journey to deepen our awareness of ourselves, our breath, and how we move, and that is yoga.  A deeper understanding.

What do you love most about yoga?  The mind, body, spirit connection.  My interest in yoga blossomed when I was at the one of the lowest of times in my life.  I needed introspection and wanted peace, while what I received was so much more than that.  I love how yoga keeps giving back, and how it shows me that my mind and body can keep giving back if I notice them.  

What fuels you?  Well, not to beat a dead horse here, but yoga!  It literally gives me energy when I feel like I’m done for the day.  Beyond that, helping others helps fuel me.  Being able to see that someone is going through something that I experienced on some level, and then to trying to make that a little better for them.  Giving back to my friends and family, who have helped me insurmountably throughout my life, is what drives almost all of my actions.  

How was your challenge last month?  Last month’s challenge was so empowering.  I’ve always been someone who has struggled with longer-term commitments, so maintaining my intention throughout the month and realizing what I wanted to accomplish was an amazing journey for me.  Following through on the things in life that take the most time and planning are always the most rewarding.  Remembering that when you’re in the thick of it can be tricky!  Having a great support system helped a lot!

What’s your yoga story?  How did you start practicing?  For most of my life I’ve been a runner.  I had friends in college and after who used to try to get me to go to a yoga class, and my answer to them was always the same: No way!  That looks way too hard!  I started running longer distances and was training for my first half marathon.  Halfway through my training my times plateaued and I was feeling sluggish.  My boyfriend recommended I try yoga.  It took a couple months to persuade me, but I finally tried a class with Liz at Mighty, and I absolutely loved it.  Not to mention then immediate difference I noticed in my times.  So I started going to a yoga class here and there in my training.  It was a way for me to stretch, sweat, and feel like I was doing something to accent my running.  It wasn’t until one of my brothers passed away last year that I began to notice what yoga did for my mind and spirit, so I started coming more frequently, and really got into my practice.  At this point my practice always feels like the best part of my day.  It’s a time for me to look inside and see what’s going on, what I need to focus on, and what I need to let go of.  It’s a gift, and even though it’s about looking inside myself, it’s also something to be shared.

If you had a super power what would it be and why?  I love being in the water, so I would definitely want to be able to breathe underwater!!!  A close second choice would be to not be bothered by extremely hot or cold temperatures… it would make winter much more fun in Ithaca!

What's the best advice you've ever received?  I feel that I am fortunate to be surrounded by many wise people in my life… With that said, the best advice comes from multiple sources.  “Why do we go from lazy to crazy on our mats?  Because that’s what life hands us.”  And, “How can you find peace in this stressful place?”  When I started to think about these questions when it comes to difficult interpersonal situations and started thinking about how to apply these tidbits to my everyday life I realized just how profound this advice can be.  “The real yoga is out there in the real world, here [on our mats] we just practice.”