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Finally, a Place for Me

  • by admin
  • January 10, 2016

#HotTribe Blog Post 3 with Kim Hazzouri

There are moments in life when it all comes together, when it finally makes sense. I had a moment like this when I interviewed Kim Hazzouri, who has been a member of the Hot Tribe for exactly 3 years. That Saturday morning, I elbowed my way of the house through my two babies and rushed to meet Kim. When I arrived, she greeted me calmly in the parking lot. She, too, had to elbow her way through 3 kids (ages 9, 4, and 2) but she somehow did it gracefully, as I wiped my sweat.
Kim is a beautiful, radiant woman, full of style and grace. When she walks into the studio, her light shines brightly. She’s confident. In other words, Kim is a Hot Mama! Our interview deepened the meaning of yoga for me. Yoga means “union,” of mind, body, and spirit. Just as there is no separation between the mind, the body, and the spirit, yoga also means that there is no separation between us as human beings. On the surface, Kim and I may look different but our souls connected as soon as we met in the parking lot that morning. We walked into the studio lobby together and after a few giggles about our spouses and kids, we sat down at the table to chat about what lies deep in both of our hearts: our commitments to motherhood, yoga, and self-care.
Monea:
How did you hear about Melt?

Kim:

A girlfriend of mine. She and I live in West Pittston and had both come off of a tumultuous year and a half. Our homes flooded so both of us were basically homeless for 8 months or so. Once we got back into our homes in 2012, I was telling her I really need to get back into doing something. I told her I’d done yoga a long time ago and she said you need to come to Melt with me. So one Tuesday morning in January of 2013, we made plans to meet up. She didn’t show but I took the class anyway. I was really intimidated. Although I had done yoga pretty frequently and I had a limited home practice before my children, I had never done hot yoga. I came and did the class and I immediately loved it! I really tried to start coming 3 days a week-Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday which is pretty much the same schedule I have now. I was pretty faithful to it, as much as I could be.

Monea:
So this your 3-year Melt anniversary coming up in January?

Kim:
Yeah but there was a big chuck of time of me missing due to having high risk pregnancies. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, the doctor said, “No way.” He told me that some women can but not me. But I was itching to get back into it and once I did, I kept up that 3 day a week schedule as much as I can. I try to get my 4th day in if I can on Saturdays.

Monea:

After your first class, what made you decide to keep coming back?

Kim:
Everything about it, to be honest with you. It was so hard and so humbling but I felt so good afterwards. I physically felt good. I mentally felt good. I felt comfortable coming in. Everyone was loving and welcoming. The teacher didn’t make me feel awkward by introducing me as a new student and helping me along because sometimes that can be a little bit awkward. My first teacher was Kristen Herman. I just remember feeling like, “Oh My God, this is what I have been missing! This is it!” It had been such a long time since I’d moved my body and I hadn’t done it purposefully. I don’t have the self-discipline to tune out the distractions in my home to do yoga but I got in the yoga room and all of the sudden everything connected. I had a feeling that this is where I needed to be. I started coming pretty regularly right away so I think for me it was really that feeling of ‘I found something again for me.’ I decided I was going to come back and see how much I could do. At first, I would not do the Vinyasa classes because I was too afraid to do them in the heat but eventually I started doing all of the classes.

Monea:
So inspiring!
How has yoga changed your life? Describe what it used to be like, what happened, and what it is like now.

Kim:
First, it’s made me feel less guilty about prioritizing myself. It’s made me realize that taking care of myself, first and foremost, is really going to help me take care of everybody else in my family.

Secondly, as I get older, yoga has given me an appreciation of just how capable my body is. For me, pregnancy was not as affirming as it is for some women because I had so many issues, not only with my pregnancies, but getting pregnant. I was a little down on the whole body thing. I thought this body’s not that old but it doesn’t work very well. Coming into yoga and seeing what I can do and the progress I made helped me realize that my issues with pregnancy were just a little blip on the screen and that I shouldn’t be so down on myself. It’s really miraculous what my body can do and yoga shifted my perspective on things. I’m not that concerned with how things look anymore. I know that this body is doing what it is capable of doing and all that other stuff just doesn’t matter.

Yoga has also given me motivation for my daughter because I really want to give her a good example for healthy living and taking time out for yourself. I didn’t have that example, and that’s part of what lends itself to the guilt I feel at times about taking care of myself. But I want her to see me leaving the house to take care of myself so that when she’s older she knows that she should do that. I want her to know that it’s okay and that she doesn’t need to justify it to anybody but herself.
Monea:
I agree. I have 2 daughters and I always look into their eyes and want them to be confident and take care of themselves. That’s a very powerful message.

Kim:
I’ve learned to let go of having a perfect home because in the morning, if I’m running late, I’m not going to skip yoga because the beds aren’t made (laughter). I’ll come home and make the beds after yoga because I don’t like to go to bed in an unmade bed but its baby steps. Yoga has given me different ideas about what’s important.

Monea:
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?

Kim:
Honestly, so many of them. It’s fluid because your practice changes and so much of your life outside of the studio affects what happens here. In the beginning, savasana (corpse pose) was a nightmare (laughter). I would just be so jumpy! And I’m still that way to a certain degree but I’ve really come to enjoy it. When the teacher comes around and puts that cool towel on my head, sometimes I’m really startled because I’m so in that zone.

Right now, I would say the hip openers are really tough for me, all of them. Malasana (garland pose or yogic squat) is the worse because I find it’s like a 360 pose for me. Physically, it’s challenging for me because I have extraordinary tight hips and I just want to pop up out of it. It’s also a mental and emotional thing for me. Hip openers are very emotional. I think it’s very difficult to really try to execute one of the hip openers when you know it makes you vulnerable and it’s hard to be vulnerable in a room. You get out of the hip opening pose and you may feel the little tears coming but the teacher assures you that its good and normal.

I really have become much different than I used to be when I would do physical activities. I was always trying to ‘one up’ myself, like if I did 30 minutes on the stair master one day, I had to do 31 the next day. In the yoga room, you really learn that is not good for your spirit, your body, or your mind to constantly just be pushing yourself. Sometimes you have to let yourself relax a little bit and tell yourself, ‘I’m still putting forth full effort but maybe today that’s a little different than it was yesterday.’

Monea:
If someone was intimated by yoga, or hot yoga namely, what would you tell them to encourage them to give it a try?

Kim:
That I am the last person on the planet that anyone who knows me would envision going into, loving and really committing to hot yoga because I can’t stand to be hot (laughter). What I have come to find is that the heat is really comforting. It helps you. It is really your friend. I find that heat is really comforting because it almost feels like its supporting you. It helps you get into the poses more easily. When it’s hot, it feels the air is thicker so it’s helping you stay where you should be. Once you get in there and give your body a chance to acclimate, whether it takes just one class or several classes, you will really see that its beneficial. Maybe in the first class, you had to lay down, which is fine because I’ve even seen instructors do that, but just by staying in the heat you clear out your lungs and clear out your sinuses. Once you ramp up your tolerance of the heat and start to move in the room, you will find that there’s no better place for your body. It’s mind over matter and you never know until you come. I have a friend who says she won’t come because she’s not flexible. My number one selling point is that the heat makes you more flexible.

Monea:
What do you like most about being a part of the Melt Hot Yoga community?

Kim:
For me being a stay-a-home mom, it’s obviously the exposure to other adults, but its these adults, these particular people. People here are very friendly. The teachers are really welcoming and kind. As I said, when it was my first class, there was no judgement, because I have walked into studios before and have been looked up and down (chuckle). Then, when you are here for a while, the other members of the class talk to you and you share stories, just like you and I do. (I nodded in agreement). Everybody here is very open to share and also to receive. People are also caring and really care about what’s happening outside of here.