Meet Thavma Yoga’s August Student of the month: Anelis Aurand-Araos
- Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a highly empathetic, loving, joyful, funny, crazy, career-driven, Catholic, woman, mom, & wife. I’ve been married almost 5 years (Aug 20th) to G – who is still developing his love for Thavma. ☺ I have two kids. Izzy is 4 and AJ is 9. I work as the CCO and director of quality and regulatory affairs at a small pharma company. And my pastimes include beach, beach, and more beach.. then there’s yoga (shocker), Gracie jiu jitsu, and way too much Clash of Clans.
2. Have you done other styles of Yoga other than Bikram Yoga?
I did prenatal yoga (a.k.a. nap time while preggo) before Bikram.
3. What made you decide to take your first Bikram Class?
I wanted to try something new and fun… and then Groupon finally convinced me… lol
4. What made you choose Thavma Yoga as a Studio?
You’re right by my house – I was eating at Acapulco when I first saw you ☺
5. What was your first Bikram yoga experience like?
I literally had the thought “so this is how I’m going to die.” Some other nice thoughts came to mind like “wtf is wrong with these people?!” and “why is it so damn hot?!” – I was basically cursing inside my head the entire time.
6. What makes you come back?
The easy answer is Marina. I just enjoy seeing her and her energy. I’m no poet, but if I was, I’d write about Marina. She knows just when I need a hug (add mind reader to her repertoire), and boy does she know how to kick my ass. Also, I’m pretty sure she enjoys doing that. Then there’s Marsha and Shelly, and the other great instructors. And the other students and friendship I’ve made along the way. Such great people at the studio. You can’t help but want to come back!
There’s also a more complicated answer for what makes me come back. My inner sabotaging demons that try to keep me away. I think, oh no one there likes me, this is just sweating for no good reason, go spend your money on stupid crap instead, blah blah blah… but I take my demons on and I chose to fight. I get the strength to fight from coming to class! So I have a mantra.. “keep coming back” and so, that’s what I’ve done.
The last two years, I have taken my week-long vacation from work, just to be able to go to Thavma every day. Thavma is my happy place.
7. How long have you been practicing?
3 years – I started in July 2014.
8. What changes have you seen since you began the practice?
The greatest change I’ve seen is my ability to take on suffering. I used to be a quitter. When things got hard, I got the hell out of there. In many aspects of my life. People think suffering is supposed to be avoided and you have to be happy all the time. Well, that’s not life. It sounds trivial, but coming to class has taught me discipline and gave me power over my own feelings. When suffering gets the best of me, I come to class, and I feel empowered to work through it.
9. Where have you seen that it helps you?
Aside from helping me with flexibility and stamina during jiu jitsu, it’s definitely kept me healthy.
Here’s the thing about Thavma… I feel confident and beautiful, in spite of the fact that I eat absolute garbage. And I mean garbage.. Bacon wrapped-pulled-pork-stuffed-burgers (yes, that’s a thing), blocks of feta cheese the size of my arm, full fat Gelato, Hot fudge anything, rice and beans with fried whatever, shall I go on??? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t do that every day. I eat rabbit food, I mean salad, too. It is a balance though. I use the Noom Coach app, and I fast for every once in a while too. I mean, I can’t eat junk every single day, I’d have a heart attack. But Thavma is a counter balance that’s worked for me. I’ve been coming twice a week for basically three years now, and I feel fit! Thavma helps me squeeze out all that crap and I try to remember not to sabotage my workouts, but you know… chocolate sometimes wins. Marina said to us once “play hard, sweat hard” and that’s exactly what I do!
10. What is your favorite pose?
I love camel. It feels very freeing – and I get a good cry out of it once in a while.
11. What is your least favorite pose?
There’s this one pose in Thavma Red that makes me feel claustrophobic – pretty sure it’s one of those crazy Marina inventions. I don’t even know what it’s called, but you’re on the ground with eagle arms, and my foot’s trying to wrap around my other leg, and I’m crunching at the same time. I hate it but I love it, because I’m fighting my mind. It’s winning that battle that feels so good.
12. What do you like most about Thavma Yoga?
I like that I can walk in there feeling defeated, and walk out feeling reborn. I have experienced so many crazy hurtful feelings while walking through the doors of Thavma. Dealing with the chains of addiction with my loved ones, stressors at work, co-parenting, darkness, loneliness, and on and on… none of it goes away when I’m there. BUT I do come out with a new hope that I can take it on. I’m very thoughtful in class. It really is a meditation for me. I let the thoughts come and go. I cry, I wipe my tears, and I push on. Bonus – no one can tell the difference between my tears and sweat!
13. Tell us anything else interesting that you feel you have gained or learned since starting Thavma Yoga.
I’ve learned that I’m good enough just as I am, and I am powerful. I can feel the pain. Really feel it. And push on.