Interview With a Yogi – Issue #1: Hanna’s Yoga Story

People come to yoga for a variety of reasons. Some look to ease physical pain, others accompany a friend, and many are simply curious. Whatever sparks the initial interest, those who commit to a regular practice undergo profound changes that answer any questions about yoga’s benefits. What was once dismissed as a hippie pastime is now recognized as a powerful tool for improving physical and mental well-being. Whether you seek relief or transformation, yoga can help alleviate and even reverse countless causes of suffering. 

There is nothing more fulfilling and encouraging than hearing from a real-life yogi about what brought them to the mat, and how it has changed their lives.  While scrolling through the internet to learn more, we often come across pictures of beautiful people in exotic locations doing handstands and the splits at the same time and we think “No way, I could never do that.” Based on this unrealistic perception, we come to the conclusion that yoga is not for us. 

The reality is, most of us are practicing in our bedroom in a sports bra, and have been trying (with the most ridiculously slow progress) to do the splits for years.  When we bring our practice to class, we realize that we are not alone. The reality is that the majority of yoga practitioners are just like us – on an individual journey of self-discovery, using yoga as a means to connect with the essence of life and enjoy it to the fullest.

At Inspiring Actions, we take pride in our community of yogis who share a passion not just for yoga but for the way it has transformed their lives. People who have experienced the healing power of yoga are driven to bring it to others. It’s like they have found an answer to that burning question of “how can I help myself?“.  Our instructors and students are committed to this shared mission of self-discovery through yoga. Join our community and discover the benefits of yoga for yourself!

Hanna is a member of our Inspiring Actions community.  Here she shares with us her story of taking up yoga, and how it changed her life.  Read on to hear from a real-life yogi!

Looking for relief from the pain, Hanna turned to yoga. It wasn't easy at first; some of the movements felt like a challenge, and she was wary of certain poses because of her condition.

Hanna’s Yoga Story

Since Hanna was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her teens, she tried a variety of forms of exercise to maintain strength and flexibility without overdoing it for her joints.

Hanna decided to incorporate yoga into her care routine. It wasn’t easy; some of the movements felt like a challenge, and she was wary of certain poses because of her condition. 

“My joint irritation and flares can be triggered by a variety of things so I am always worried or hesitant about pushing myself too far and causing a flare up in almost everything I do.”

There are few things in life worth achieving that don’t require consistency, and yoga is no different.  Occasional classes will certainly be helpful, but it is making yoga a part of your life that creates big changes. 

Hanna understood that the benefits of yoga come gradually and with regular practice, and over time she noticed how it helped alleviate the daily stiffness in her joints.

“I have been practicing on and off for the past 20 years.  In the past 1.5 years I have made it more of a priority and part of my daily schedule/routine.”

Despite her initial hesitancy, Hanna began to see that the pictures on the internet are not an accurate representation of most yogis.  Most people are just like her, coming to the mat for a unique reason to improve their lives, and not one person is on the same level or path. 

Yoga is not just for the flexible or athletic; it is accessible to all and can be adapted to meet individual needs.  The key is honoring and respecting our body and making a conscious effort to keep it healthy. 

“What I love about yoga is that I can adapt the poses to work with my body and what works best for me and my joints that day.”

Over time, Hanna started noticing the physical benefits of her practice.  The results were gradual, but noticeable enough to motivate her to keep going.  Yoga can be a life-changing practice, and as you start to see progress, motivation often multiplies, turning this healthy habit into a regular routine.

After practicing yoga more frequently I have noticed an improvement in my arthritis symptoms.  I have increased flexibility and range of motion, less fatigue and increased strength.”

Unexpectedly, Hanna discovered a positive change in her mental state. Yoga postures and breathing exercises allowed her to center her thoughts on the present moment, providing a necessary respite from life’s distractions. As a result, her mind felt clearer and more tranquil. She began to view yoga as a means of recharging her energy by carving out time for self-care and prioritizing her health.

“Yoga always lifts my mood!  Through breathing and movement my mind and body reset.”  

Yoga changed Hanna’s life for the better; not only did it help ease some of the physical symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, but it also gave her back control over how she wanted to live life. Now twenty years later Hanna still practices yoga regularly and is grateful for all the positive benefits this ancient form of exercise has brought into her life. 

Hanna’s story is unique to her, but the same benefits she’s experienced are available to you.  At Inspiring Actions, we believe that yoga can change lives, and we have a passion for bringing this invaluable tool to the community.  Our studios in Hudson and River Falls, Wisconsin welcome yogis of all levels.  We offer a 4-week Yoga 101 series that introduces the basic poses and concepts of yoga, as well as other events like sound baths and meditation. 

Inspiring Actions also partners with the Abundant Yoga Community, a non-profit organization that works to make yoga accessible to people in our community who might not otherwise have the resources.  Our bi-monthly Karma Yoga classes are free of charge, and for all levels.  In this way, we hope to help facilitate more stories like Hanna’s and to bring the life-changing benefits of yoga to everyone who walks in our doors. 


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