Meet Chris! A dedicated Ashtanga practitioner & teacher, he has been a longtime Flowgi. Learn more about him below :)
What is your current practice like and how does it fit into your daily routine?
I currently practice Ashtanga yoga, which traditionally involves a daily morning asana practice five or six days a week. It always starts with sun salutations and standing postures like triangle and side angle pose, followed by either primary, second, or third series. Then backbends (which I think are super important for people like me who spend the rest of the day at work hunched forward over their computers!), inversions, and seated meditation. Finally, I seal in the practice with a nice long rest (the longer the better, at least 5 minutes). All together it’s about 90 minutes. Getting it done first thing in the morning lets me do my practice with a clear mind, free of the accumulated distractions of a long work day. Then I come home and walk my dogs, Cookie and Chance, before heading off to work
What inspires you to practice at Flow?
The community spirit at Flow inspires me to practice here. I’m lucky enough to live just a few blocks away from Flow, so the studio is literally a part of my community. It’s a part of my daily life. I practice every morning with the rest of the Ashtanga practitioners in the studio’s “Mysore” program. Even though it’s usually pretty quiet—no music and not a lot of talking—there is truly a sense of community in the room. We see each other every day so we notice the little things like when someone has the sniffles or even a new haircut. And of course the big things like having kids or other major life changes
What was your first yoga experience like?
Well, my very first yoga experience was back in high school. I had a friend who said she knew some yoga postures and so we would stand on one leg and stretch and then hang out and smoke cigarettes and listen to music (it was a different time!).
Then in the 90s I went to a yoga class in a Gold’s Gym in Cleveland Park taught by a woman who must have been 75 if she was a day. Her name was something like Ruby or Rosie and she was tough as nails. I thought I was doing really well but then she would come over and tell me stop doing whatever it was I was doing before I hurt myself (this was followed by more cigarettes—it was the 90s!).
Then I gave up smoking and found Flow and have been here ever since.
Who are some of your most influential teachers?
Before I started practicing Ashtanga I took a lot of classes with Jessica Lazar, who teaches Prana Flow, which is pretty different from Ashtanga. But she was one of the first teachers I consistently practiced with and I learned so much from her about the importance of regular and consistent practice and having a community, for which I’ll be forever grateful.
And of course, my main teacher for the last few years has been Jen René who started the Mysore program at Flow. She has always had confidence in me even when I was doubtful and a vision for my future as a student and teacher even when I didn’t know where I was headed.
And Peg Mulqueen, who started the Ashtanga Dispatch with Jen René. Peg helped “recruit” me and convinced me that Ashtanga would be a good practice for me. I love how the Ashtanga Dispatch media empire she created has grown and now provides a community for Ashtangis around the world.
What is something the Flow community may not know about you?
I think Bridget Jones’s Diary is a Top 10 Movie. What can I say? I love rom-coms.