What Does a Yogi Look Like?
Meet Janell Evans
Welcome to our series, “What Does a Yogi Look Like?” where we feature yogis in our community who defy society’s idea of what a yogi looks like.
502PY: Tell us about your first yoga class experience.
Janell: My first experience with yoga was when Melody Miller taught classes for my FitCamp. We were all beginners and her classes got me “studio ready”. Melody was my inspiration. I wanted and needed to find the peace I saw in her. I signed up at 502 for the 30-day introductory offer in December 2016. I walked into my first class and it was full. Full of people, heat, and energy. I was immediately drawn in. I was immediately accepted into that space. I belonged there.
502PY: Why did you decide to stick with it?
Janell: I’m a morning person and my usual routine was to work out in the morning. The sunrise classes are perfect for me. It is my favorite way to start my day. When I turned 60 in 2015, I started making changes in my life. I lived alone for the first time in my life. I needed to find out who I was, who I wanted to be, and to learn to love myself. Being on the mat gave me a mind/body discovery I had not experienced before. I could be whoever I wanted to be that day and it was okay, no judgement. When I’m on my mat, nothing else matters, time stands still. The breathing, the flow, the energy, the community on my mat carries over into my every day life.
502PY: What benefits do you get from the physical practice?
Janell: Yoga started as another form of fitness for me, another workout to mix things up. I sit at a desk most of the day and needed flexibility and balance. I was pleasantly surprised at the strength and cardio benefit of power yoga. The physical practice changed the way I do other forms of exercise. I have more strength and stamina than ever before. I had issues with my hips and shoulders and with regular practice, those issues minimized. My chiropractor knows when I’ve practiced regularly because it shows in my alignment. My posture improved. I even joked about standing taller after practice.
502PY: What non-physical benefits do you get from the practice?
Janell: Calmness, stress relief, joy. There is a peacefulness that happens when I get on my mat. I immediately start breathing and clearing my head. I use the same breathing methods off my mat. For instance, I had dental surgery and used my breath to relax and breathe through any pain associated with the surgery. I attended teacher training and received my certification this year. Going through that process was the best thing I’ve ever done. It taught me to appreciate who I am, to be present, and to know that I have the power to be the best version of myself at any given moment in time.
502PY: Why 502 Power Yoga?
Janell: Every class has a sense of community. When my mother passed away recently I had not been to the studio for a few days. The minute I stepped into that space I was able to let it be. The space, the people, the energy. In savasana, Mimi Hahn said, “allow yourself the opportunity to rest”. It was just what I needed. Something magical happens at 502.
Photography Credit: Rani Whitehead