Ivan is only ten years-old and he’s already completed his 200-hour yoga teacher certification with Yoga District and is finishing up the requirements for a 500-hour certification. You may have seen him around Yoga District studios — he’s the quiet, self-possessed kid doing the absolutely amazing poses. Read on to learn more about our youngest yogi and all-around awesome little dude, Ivan!
Q: How long have you been practicing yoga?
A: Two-and-a-half years.
Q: What was your first yoga experience like?
A: My first yoga class was a community class at a public library. After this first class I went to Yoga District and I have been practicing there regularly ever since. In my first yoga classes, it just felt like a whole different world, I felt great after every pose and especially after the class was over.
Q: What do you like about yoga?
A: What I like about yoga is that at the end of each class, no matter what type, we all get to rest and relax so that we can calm down. This way we feel the benefit of the practice. Also I like yoga because it teaches me to be moderate in my feelings and actions, to focus, to be kind to others including animals, to be vegetarian and vegan.
Q: Why do you practice yoga at Yoga District?
A: I practice at Yoga District only because Yoga District has all kinds of schedules, all types of classes, all types of workshops and all types of teachers trainings.
Q: What is your favorite pose, and how does it make you feel?
A: My favorite pose is bird pose because when I first start the pose, I feel a little stress in my body, but after about ten seconds I feel relaxed and at the same time I am getting a great backbend. And he’s pretty good at it, too. See the photo above – Ed.
Q: Washington DC can be a hectic place where people can become stressed-out and overworked. What would you say to your fellow DC residents to inspire them to practice?
A: For people who are overworked or stressed out, I would tell them to go to a yoga class. There are all types of classes and they can choose the class according to their needs. They can start with a class that is more gentle, eventually they can go to all kinds of class they want.
Q: Have you done yoga/meditation outside of yoga class? If so, can you describe the circumstance (what made you want to do yoga outside of class and what the effect was)?
A: I have done yoga outside of Yoga District and I do it simply because I really want to practice teaching. The effect is after the practice I feel great and more open in my joints. Mentally the effect is that I have more self control and I am not too energetic because I am a very energetic person and yoga teaches me that too much of anything is not good.
Q: How do you feel your practice at Yoga District has affected your stress level and the ways you deal with stress?
A: Since I have practiced specific poses a lot at Yoga District, I have been more flexible at them which also means that I have lost physical stress in them. Then those poses makes my body feel good and so makes me happy. All my practice and trainings at Yoga District teach me to be moderate in everything, including not too happy and not too sad, which means not feeling too stressed-out. So even in my busy life like homework from school, reading assignments and all my after school activities, I remember balance which is enough rest and eat healthy food. Then there is no stress. In fact I am always happy.
Q: How will yoga continue to be incorporated into your life in the future?
A: I would like to help people who are old, people with disabilities, people who are stressed out, etc. They can still have a workout and still have the mental benefits of yoga. I will do this by teaching them yoga.
Q: What do you want to share with others about how yoga has touched your life?
A: Yoga makes me flexible so I don’t get hurt easily from accidents like falling. It helps me develop my self control so I can keep my energy to do other things. It tells me what foods to eat to make me healthy. It teaches me ahimsa, which means to be kind to all living things. Yoga helps me to always be happy because I am never too sad or too happy. It teaches me to focus in my study. Yoga teaches me that I am my own hero with the help of God.