By Avery Owens |
Arielle Henry never dreamed of co-owning a yoga studio. When her friend, Amanda, convinced her to take a chance and open a place of their own, all her unknown dreams came true.
Henry began her yoga journey in her bedroom learning from YouTube videos. From there, she claims everything “happened organically.” In her own words, “I didn’t have any plans for this. The universe or somebody has my back, pushing me into the direction I need to be in. It fell into place.”
Now Henry co-owns Duality Yoga, a yoga studio less than a year old and located within Halo Athletic Center. Henry teaches a range of classes at Duality: hot, flow, recovery and even prenatal. Although she received her yoga certification at the conclusion of her nine-month training in 2017, she believes she will never stop growing as a teacher and learning whats it means to be a yogi.
We sat down with Henry after attending one of her recovery classes to ask her a few questions.
What was your first experience with yoga and how were you introduced to the practice?
I first started watching YouTube videos. Yoga with Adriene was my start. I didn’t want to practice in the living room or anywhere where anyone could see me. I had a small space between my bed and dresser, it could barely fit my mat, and I would knock over things as I was trying to learn.
It was a gradual process. I was doing it to become fit. I had just had a baby, and I was doing it to get back into my body. I didn’t love it at first. It gradually came into my life and it stuck.
Please explain the process of becoming an instructor.
There are a few different ways you can go about it. There are online courses. I got my teacher training through The Studio in Waco and it was a nine-month course. There are also intensive training sessions you can do. There are some offered that you can squeeze into six or eight weeks.
It is a commitment. I initially went into the teacher training to learn more about yoga. I just wanted to become more familiar with the practice and to learn more about the poses. It ended up really changing me internally in ways that I didn’t expect.
I was still very apprehensive about teaching once I left the teacher training, but Amanda pushed me into it. She pushed me into it and she believed in me. Little by little I started teaching and becoming more comfortable with it.
I never really knew what I wanted to be. I got a business degree in college, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had no real direction. Through yoga, I feel like I have found my purpose and direction. Now that I have said “yes” to it and “yes” to whatever comes, I feel very settled about my course in life. I don’t know exactly what it will look like or what it will turn into, but I know I’m on the right path, and I wasn’t able to say that before. That’s the special thing that yoga has brought into my life.
Why do you enjoy the practice?
It started out as a workout and it was a workout for a longtime. Then, it morphed into an escape. I was going through a divorce, and that’s not fun. My yoga practice became a thing that I ran away to. When you’re on the mat, you don’t have to think about anything else. It was something to hold onto in all of life’s craziness.
After that, I enjoyed it and came to my mat because it brought me a sense of balance. It was how I was regaining my footing in the world, how I was regaining my sense of self and steadiness in my new life. It was all about balance for me. It helped me feel balanced, it helped me to feel centered.
Now, I enjoy yoga because when I am consistent with my personal practice, I feel the most like myself. That’s when I’m the most creative, that’s when I’m the most alive.
Even though I teach a lot of classes, I try to take at least 15 minutes for myself every day to roll out my mat and do whatever I want to do. I have noticed such a difference the days that I do that and the days that I don’t. It fills me up how I need to be filled. It helps me show up better each day.
What are the mental benefits of yoga? How is it good for your mind?
It’s great for stress and anxiety. If you have depression, first talk to a doctor, but this is a great practice for uplifting the mood. The postures can be focused in a way to deal with some of those things like anxiety and depression. You can tune in a practice to specifically work with them. By the movement we’re doing, by the meridians and organs we’re touching, everything can align internally. It can be a supportive practice.
What are the physical benefits of yoga? How is it good for your body?
Besides stretching and becoming more limber, you’re also strengthening muscles and expanding your lung capacity. It’s great for circulation, for digestion…there are a thousand benefits for each pose.
For example, the legs up the wall pose is a great pose for circulation. It flushes the blood around — it takes it from the feet to the head and it is rejuvenating in that way. It increases cell production. It is great for digestion, anxiety or stress. Also, if you’re feeling tired, that blood rush can help to wake you up.
Where is a good place for a beginner to begin their yoga journey?
Come to Duality Yoga. Tell us you’re a beginner. Whatever class you choose, the instructor will help you to feel at home.
If you’re intimidated by group classes, go on YouTube and check out Yoga with Adriene. Do some 15-minute classes in the morning. Learn the poses, the foundational poses. Get in touch with your body and your breath and just go from there. It will change your life.
To learn more about Henry and Duality Yoga, check out the website and Instagram account below: