#Hottribe Blog Post with Ann Webster
It was my pleasure to chat with Ann Webster, who has been a member of the HotTribe for almost two years. Ann showed up, ready and willing to share openly and authentically…not from her head, but from her heart. She paused before answering each question…I could almost see the words travel up from her heart and come out of her mouth. She reminded me of how amazing this life can be when we live from our hearts. Every aspect of her being is from a heart space- wife, mother, nurse, caregiver….and of course, yogini.
So on a Friday evening, we sat in the lobby of Melt and let our hearts lead the way…
Monea: How did you hear about Melt?
Ann: I heard about Melt from my daughter Jessica. She brought me here as a gift for my 50th birthday in May of 2014. My youngest daughter had just graduated from high school and was going off to college. She had been the light of our lives with things to do so when she went off to college, we were looking for something to do together so we decided to do yoga. I celebrated a milestone, my 50th birthday, doing yoga.
Monea: After your first class, what made you decide to keep coming back?
Ann: Well, the time spent with my daughter Jessica. We motivate each other to come here and that was a big motivator for me. And just the way yoga makes you feel. It feels so good. It is such a good, relaxing workout, doesn’t seem like it’s taxing on your body. It just feels wonderful…that’s what kept me coming back!
Monea: So who did you take your first class with?
Ann: Our first class was with Gina. We came for about a month or two and always did Gina’s Bikram class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were afraid to branch out. I believe our first Vinyasa was with Dina and that was scary for us because we were used to doing Bikram. We liked vinyasa too but it was a change. We really enjoy our time together here. We just love coming and I have a very motivating daughter (laughter).
Mo: I love to see you two on the mat together. It’s very nice.
Ann: It is very nice. It’s something that we share together. We just get it. She’s such a beautiful person, on the inside too.
Mo: Awww and she’s your daughter…
Ann: Yes, I can’t believe it sometimes. It brings me to tears how beautiful she is. And I can’t believe she came from me. How did I manage to do that? (more laughter) She’s so compassionate and a motivator.
Monea: So sweet! How has yoga changed your life? Describe what it used to be like, what happened, and what it is like now.
Ann: By nature, I’m very hyper person and I’m loquacious. I like to talk and sometimes I don’t think before I talk. I’m always on autopilot, always going through the motions and very stressed…almost like
a taskmaster. So, yoga has brought out a lot of good in me. And I always ask to be a better listener, more in tuned, and more in the moment, not just on my mat but in my life off the mat.
I’m also a caregiver by nature. I’m a wife, mother, a chemotherapy nurse, and my parents are elderly so I’m taking care of them right now. Yoga has given me these little pieces of myself that I kinda lost with being such a people-pleaser, worried about everybody else all the time. It’s my time to myself to focus on what’s going on with me today, how I feel physically. Yoga completes me so that I can better help others. I kinda find pieces of myself on my mat. It gives me permission to take care of myself. Jessica and I say, “live yoga off the mat,” in our text messages. When I get stressed at work, I take a deep breath. I remember that I’m doing my best with the situation. I try to do my best to help people where they are.
Monea: Yes, I can imagine that may be an emotionally draining job.
Ann: It can be. You try to be professional…You don’t want to be crying at work so it’s a balance between being professional and human. You can’t help but to feel compassion when you see people going through something that can be awful. I feel blessed to have been there for people in moments in their lives when they are trying to say goodbye to their family members or when they come to peace with the fact that their lives are over.
Given that I am a caregiver, Melt has given me a place to go to help me be a better me, to relax and destress. It really seems to be working so far (chuckles). Being here for the recent 30-day Challenge was challenging, but it really wasn’t for the t-shirt that you receive after completing it. For me, it was more about, “Can I do this? Can I make my yoga a priority in my life?”
Yoga has also made me feel better physically. I feel better now than I did when I was a young person. I’m also mentally sharper and more comfortable in my own skin…and that is a good feeling.
Monea: So inspiring Ann! Speaking of challenges, at Melt, we believe, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” What pose has challenged and changed you the most, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
Ann: Camel pose. You know how they say it’s a position that helps you release something? There’s a catharsis for me in that pose. It does bring something out of me and adds a little bit of light to maybe a dark area within myself. It feels like I’ve let something go when I get back up from being in that pose.
There are other ones that challenge me too, like hip openers. I can’t do that lotus pose. I just don’t have the hip flexibility yet. Bjarni did frog in class recently and that really helped but I still feel very tight.
When we first started doing Vinyasa, it was challenging because of those chatagungas but then Molly showed us how to do them correctly. I used to have such a stiff neck but after she showed us how to keep our arms in, the pain went away. I feel like I have it down and I’m not hurting my neck anymore.
Monea: If someone was intimated by hot yoga, namely the heat, what would you tell them to encourage them to give it a try?
Ann: I do this on a daily basis. The biggest challenge is getting used to the heat but I think if you hydrate during the day, you got that part down. A lot of people tell me that they are afraid of the balance or flexibility but I think the heat helps you with that. As my body warms up with that heat, I find that I’m more flexible. Towards the end of class, I’m able to get into more positions because I’m warmed up. Most people who stick it out, love it.
I just think you have to try it. I think it’s easy for anyone to do the poses because they are not extremely hard once you get used to them.
Monea: What do you like most about being a part of the Melt Hot Yoga community?
Ann: When I walk in this door, there’s an overwhelming feeling of being accepted. I don’t ever feel like I’m judged. People here just want me to be a better me. It’s almost tangible…the way people feel about you when you walk in the door. There’s always a welcoming face and it’s genuine. You can tell it’s genuine. There are no competitive, gym attitudes here.
At the end of class when we say “Namaste,” which means the light in me respects the light in you, I really feel that here. I feel at home. It’s not a marathon or a race. Here, we are encouraged to notice how our body feels today…and to take that awareness off the mat.
There are some things said here that just stick with me. For instance, one teacher said something about courage coming from your core. The stronger your core, the more courage you have. She said the term ‘guts’ comes from that, as in the saying ‘She has guts’ or courage. That sticks with me. And there are wonderful things that you have said and I think, ‘Wow that’s so true.’ All of the teachers have mantras that they say that make you think and meditate. And I love that. I hope it always keeps me coming here. And I plan to stay until my 70’s and 80’s.
Monea: We hope so too.
Ann: So now I have a question for you.
Ann: How the heck do you do crow (pose)????
After a good chuckle, we ended our interview by working on crow pose.