Colby Whittington

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Colby is a student of life, mental health clinician, traveler, lover, bon-vivant, and yogini living in DC.  I’ve recently graduated teacher training with Yoga District in the summer of 2017.  

 

Yogini On the Mat 

Preferred Yoga Style
I honestly love all yoga! I typically practice a power flow/vinyasa practice at home.  I love practicing Dharma, am always down for a good restorative/yin class. I do yoga Nidra sometimes, and I think Kundalini yoga is magic!


Random fact/favorite movie or book or word, food, etc. 

My favorite book is Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Patrice Somé.  You should read this book! The books The Alchemist, Assata, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Surrender Experiment are also books that changed my life for the better.  I love almost all fruits and vegetables and think we should all eat more of them.  

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City

  Delaware native, but currently in DC!


What made you start practicing yoga? What brought you to it?

I came to yoga through Pilates.  During my childhood through high school, I was a competitive figure skater, and we did Pilates as a way to strengthen and tone.  I practiced Pilates during high school and then sometime in college, randomly started attending yoga classes very infrequently at our gym facilities.  I thought yoga was the most boring thing in the world- do what you want, focus on your breath, move slowly? Awful!- and didn’t find myself practicing again until I was in graduate school and extremely stressed.  I started to understand the practice more and came to appreciate the focus on breath and the physically calming benefits you experience during and after practice.  Then when I moved to DC, I found Yoga District and began to practice more consistently. 

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What anchors your practice? Do you set an intention for yourself before you practice?
I’d say what anchors my practice is my understanding that when I take a little bit of time to move my body and breathe, I’m a calmer, more compassionate and reasonable person. It’s that simple for me these days- focus on myself for an hour, breathe and get out of my head = a better version of myself can appear.  I set an intention before most practices and always close my practices with gratitude and a prayer to/with/for my friends, family, ancestors, teachers, and the world.  

How yoga impacts your life? Both on and off the mat
I’d say practicing yoga helps me to be a more thoughtful and kind person- most days- most of the time.  It’s rare that if I’ve taken some time for myself in the morning or whenever to breathe or meditate that I’ll go out into the world and curse someone out for cutting me off in traffic.  I still get angry in traffic sometimes  (traffic in DC is stressful; I’m doing my best!), yet, I’ve noticed it happens less.  By paying attention to your movements, thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body on the mat for an hour, you (or I, at least) start to do the same thing in my life.

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On the practical side, I want to live to be 100 or something wild like that, so I need to have a strong and flexible body to do that. Honestly, being part of the yoga community is an excellent way to meet friendly people, learn and gain new perspectives, and just be in a place of good energy.  I’d say most of us come to a yoga class or practice with the intention of wanting to be better and put forth a good effort, and I think that purpose always translates to good energy.  Try it!

How can someone alleviate hesitation to yoga?
I would encourage everyone just to try it.  Whether it’s a video from YouTube, a book, some of those old DVDs, or going to a studio- just give yourself like five classes to try, and I believe you’ll see and feel the benefits.  Plus, you get to take a little nap at the end, it’s nice! 

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Favorite/ most challenging  pose
A favorite pose is crow, bakasana because it’s tough for me, and sometimes I land directly on my face, which is a very humbling experience. I’m getting closer every day, but I appreciate the challenge and mental energy I have to put forth to get into it each time. 
Discuss Back yogi stigmas Discuss Yoga & Black Mental Health & Wellness
It’s cool to see more people of color doing yoga.  Yoga is for everybody- it’s just a breath and movement practice with significant benefits- why not try it? Bring a friend, so you’re not the only person of color in the room if that’s a concern for you, or if you’re in DC go to Yoga District or Khephra’s Wellness.  They’re both very diverse places to start if you want to go to a studio class.  There are also tons of black/brown teachers in DC; we are blessed in that way- go to their classes! Bring your friends! 

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There are so many stressors for indigenous (female/transgender/non-binary/immigrant/POC/differently-abled, low-income, etc.)  people at this time. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, basketball, sewing, creating, making music, whatever- I think it’s essential for people to create a container where they can process and work through the things that are on our minds and spirits.  Stress is literally, actually, really truly toxic- believe the hype.  I urge you to work to find an outlet for yourself to physically and mentally release or work through the stressors in your life, no matter what it is.  

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 I make a case for yoga because for my people because it’s mostly free (you don’t have to be in a studio setting!). There are tons of community classes in DC each week that, are pay what you can.)  Another, reason I advocate for yoga is that there are many health issues in our community that can be prevented and treated with exercise. Finally, I think the breath focus and meditation practices of yoga are immensely beneficial for all people. Yoga is for everybody. For real.

 

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Stay Connected with Colby!

Follow her on Instagram @c0lbyy or updates about her classes and adventures in DC!