Campus Celeb: Ana Deacon

Her Campus: When are your classes?

Ana Deacon: Mondays at 5:00!

HC: Can anyone or any skill level come to these classes?

AD: Absolutely! I will give modifications for every pose, especially if I notice people need them. I have people who are at all different levels in my classes. You can also take the class at your own pace, you aren’t obligated to follow every little thing I do. Yoga’s about doing what makes your body feels best and if you want to stay in Child’s Pose the whole class, you have that option. Power yoga is for people who want a real workout as well as a lesson in mindfulness. 

HC: Do you have to have done yoga before to come to the class?

AD: Definitely not. I talk through every pose so everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. I also flow with my students, so they can look at me or other students in the room to see what they’re supposed to be doing.

HC: What made you want to be a yoga teacher?

AD: I started practicing yoga the summer after I lost my dad my freshman year. I started to stop taking care of myself when I got home for the summer because him being gone was all too apparent and I was really sad. My doctor recommended I go to a yoga class so I found a power studio (Baptiste Yoga). I left class that day covered in sweat and feeling amazing. I knew I had found something special and a way to reconnect with my body and mind- I also knew I wanted to share this with other people. When the studio I started out at offered their first Yoga Teacher Training, I knew I had to do it.

HC: What was the process like when becoming a yoga teacher?

AD: Brutal, especially for a college student. Once a month, for 11 months, I would go home for the weekend and go from 8-5 both Saturday and Sunday. It was exhausting, I left the first weekend feeling like I had just done 20 hours of therapy… in a way I kind of did.

HC: Are you looking to teach yoga in the future (past college)?

AD: Hopefully! If I can make it work with my work schedule, I’d love to.

HC: What is your favorite type of yoga?

AD: Power! Specifically, Baptiste- the sequence it follows targets your entire body and leaves you feeling really worked, refreshed, and peaceful.

HC: Do you have any tips for beginners?

AD: Just keep with it. When you are consistently practicing yoga, it is easy to get better. You learn from your body every time you do yoga, and your body obviously remembers all the work it did. The more you do it, the more you know what you need, the more satisfying it becomes, and the better and more comfortable you are.

HC: What are the health benefits you feel are associated with yoga?

AD: There are nothing but benefits when you practice yoga. Your body begins to naturally tone itself, so there is no bulk like there is when you lift weights. Weight loss just naturally happens. Flexibility is another huge benefit, but it’s just about the effect on your mental health as your physical health. I have become a lot more patient and accepting since starting to practice yoga, it quite literally taught me to love myself and breathe through life’s problems. You also become really aware of how you nourish yourself because learn how it affects your body when you eat different things. I could go on and on about this but I really feel people need to just try it out and see for themselves, it’s honestly magic.

HC: What types of yoga do you have the most experience with?

AD: Power mostly. I have done slower kinds like Yin, but nothing left me feeling as satisfied as Power Yoga does.

HC: How has yoga changed your life?

AD: How hasn’t it! I literally feel like a different person. I’m much happier. I used to be a gym rat, but since switching over to yoga my body has never felt better or been more cooperative. I know exactly what my body needs and I’ve stopped beating myself up mentally. When I didn’t want to go for a run on the treadmill, or do another set, I would bully myself into compliance. I don’t do that anymore, I eat and exercise in a way that nourishes my mind and body.

HC: What makes your yoga class unique?

AD: It’s not what people typically expect as “yoga,” which is stereotypically just slow stretches. Yoga is so diverse, so let’s just debunk that first myth. However, my class is nothing like that, it’s really dynamic. Power yoga gets your heart pumping and pushes you to limits you didn’t know you had. There’s something for everyone, I truly believe that. If you want to learn to master a handstand, yoga gives you the strength to do so. Maybe you just want to be able to put your palms to the floor, practicing everyday can give you the flexibility to do that too. Goals vary from person to person but it’s really fun to test your body and see what you can do.

HC: What do you feel is the most important skill a yoga instructor should possess?

AD: Empathy. You should gauge your students and see what everyone needs. You need to be able to teach to the strongest person in the room, but give cues and modifications to the weakest.

HC: What is your mindset when you step on the mat?

AD: I always tell myself “be here now.” The best part about yoga is being present and learning how to enjoy every minute as it comes. 

HC: Why is yoga so important for you?

AD: Sometimes things get hard, and you need to be able to breathe and feel your feet on the ground and realize everything’s okay. Yoga teaches you to do that, and that’s a skill most people do not possess and 100% need. It also teaches you to honor your body for where it is, rather than where you wish it was. It’s great to have goals, encouraged even, but if you don’t love yourself then you’re just putting yourself through torture and you don’t need that.

HC: Any other comments?

AD: Power yoga may not be for you, and that’s okay! But keep trying, I’m positive that there’s a type of yoga out there for everyone.