Congratulations to Cristhian for being our Student of the Month for November! He has been a student of the center for many years now, frequenting Michael’s classes. Cristhian sticks out to us because he always takes the time to volunteer and help out when he can.
What you may not know about Cristhian is that he is an amazing chef! While we were doing construction, he brought delicious lunches for the volunteers and to this day still brings in treats for the ACY staff to enjoy!
What was the experience with yoga that got you hooked?
The sense of pace that carries through after a practice. I am from Dominican Republic and there was not much yoga happening back home. I believe everything started years ago in NYC when I went to a Yoga class at “Yoga to the People” in Williamsburg. I was living in Bushwick and at first it was just curiosity and the cultural experience. It was not until I moved to Asheville and found ACY that my relationship with Yoga grew stronger, and more intimate. That is when I really fell in love with it. I felt welcomed and a strong sense of community and wholeness.
What inspires you to continue yoga?
I am inspired by the opportunity to change. I often think about yoga as a potter’s wheel. A class or practice is just another turn to the wheel and we are just a piece of pottery on the wheel, yet to be shaped, and reshaped, by the higher potter. Each class is an opportunity for change, to re-shape myself.
What is your favorite pose?
That changes constantly as my body goes through changes but a constant one would be Warrior 2 -Virabhadrasana 2. I love the name. I love the feeling while I am in it.
What is your most challenging pose?
I think one of my favorite but most challenging poses is Ardha Matsyendrasana- Half Lord of the Fishes pose.
What is your favorite time/place to practice?
Mostly at the ACY and home. I would say early in the morning or at the end of the day. Evening is the best! I sleep like a baby after an evening practice.
How has yoga changed your life?
I cannot pinpoint a time when, where or how. It just does and continues to do so. I think it just makes me a better person. It helps be be aware of myself and honest with how I feel. It helps me to communicate with others. It brings me into myself, into my mind, but simultaneously aware of everything around me with a sense of care and togetherness.
Do you have a favorite yoga book or video?
One of my favorites is the The Yamas and Niyamas. It was recommended to me by a teacher and since then it is always somewhere I can see it. Then there is also Yoga Anatomy- I find it fascinating and it helps me to visualize yoga poses. Videos, there are too many.
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Selfless, Foodie, Funny
Is there a recurring theme that runs through your yoga practice?
Patience, Patience, Patience. It reminds me to be ok with myself and with where I am; to go slow and to enjoy.
If you could just share one practice that has helped you the most, what would it be?
Fairness, I think. It is involved in everything I believe in. It keeps me ambitious but not greedy and it reminds me of equity and equality.
What is your current or all-time favorite song or artist for a yoga playlist?
Hard to say because my favorite song is always changing, (like my favorite ice cream flavor haha). It depends on my mood but one that is always playing since I came upon it is “River” by Ibeyi.
What is your mantra?
That would be “Thanks for everything and everyone present, and thanks for what has passed and those who have gone.” It reminds me that change is constant in our lives, and to respect everything as it is..
Do you have a passion other than yoga you’d like to share about?
Yes, I do! I have few: I am massage therapist and I love it! I love cooking and baking; I think a lot about food. Spending a day in the kitchen making something is very rewarding, especially if I get to share it with friends and loved ones, or even strangers. It tames my creativity I believe. I enjoy photography even though it is a work in progress. Caring for others is one of my passions. Also I love being outdoors. It is a big pleasure to take a walk in the woods and if there is a waterfall all the better. Oh and running, (I think that counts hehe).
How did you find Asheville Community Yoga?
A friend took me to a class when I first moved to Asheville in winter of 2013. The rest is history!
Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it?
I am not quite sure. I think I do I just do not know what it is. I want to believe it is a monkey.
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a yoga class?
A premature OM for sure- you know one those that comes out like 3 seconds or one breath before the teacher and the class and then you stop.
Do you have a favorite class you like to attend?
Why “a” class!? I have few favorites but just because my timing with work. I like Michael’s and Maegan’s warm Vinyasa flow as well as Lauren’s and Wendy’s Vinyasa flow. I think if I get to go to other classes they would become my favorites too.
Thank you Cristhian for sharing your practice with us, being part of our community and always sweetening our day when you come into the center. We love you!