“I am in love with my Ashtanga Yoga practice for its gifts poured into my life”

Christina grew up in a beautiful paradise, The island of Guam.  Tropical sunshine, rainbows and the ocean blue waters. As a child, music, playing the piano surrounded her life as both her parents loved music and piano became one of her passion after devoting years of practice to finally mature and enjoy every melody played on the ivories. It became much more meaningful and appreciated Entering adulthood.

After graduating from high school, she relocated to southern California in 1997 where she decided to continue to live her passion by studying and achieving a minor degree in music, and a major degree in nursing. Christina fed her soul with music and taught piano as her career while in college. She soon founded her music school, sharing her gifts with her students who took the gift further in their lives playing the piano.  She was well established with the music teachers association of California and the National Guild of Piano Teachers where many of her students place in piano festivals and won competitions and music scholarships.  

In 2000,  Christina began her curiosity and sought out yoga at local fitness centers and practiced on and off as part of her fitness exercise regimen. However, at a very young age, she experienced medical conditions which required a change of life dealing with numerous surgeries and many trips to the doctors office and etc. Yoga now became profound for her personally as an alternative holistic approach, a saving grace to remedy the medical condition that challenged her mentally, physically and spiritually.  A life turned 360 degrees at an unexpected time,  her diet, lifestyle, habits, exercise regimen, environment and surroundings took priority and choices.  Yoga and her faith was her medicines and therapies that allowed her to overcome her challenges and weakness to bring her to the path and road to her healing and recovery.  From Christina’s weakest moments, one practice at a time she recalls the many hours to push herself to get up and choose life.  The primary half series began to improve her health, energy, strength, trust, hope, faith.  As she delved deeper, she witnessed her own determination, perseverance and Love for her own self and her family returning and making it on the mat daily till one day her practice unfolded to a place of awe-wonder, an epiphany, a new light of hope, a new light in life that reminds her each day this is what she needed and why she was called to her saving grace, her practice on the mat.

Christina’s overall well-being was not only transformed on the mat but her outlook in every choice she makes then to present was never more clear.  She began to take a deeper study, gaining knowledge of the life of Yoga and it’s philosophy, living yoga as a way of life, beginning with the diet, practices, traditions and meaning.  A journey of new places, Christina fell in love with her practice each crazy morning as dawn arrived since 2006, she has never looked back nor question this way of daily living.

Yoga called her as it healed her and saved her. She was the patient and yoga became her medicine for life. The yoga rug she unrolled each morning became her companion,  her loyal friend on the sacred space of each moment of her practice.  When felt alone, exhausted, fatigued and when strong urges to quit or take a break came into her thoughts, many times she questioned it all. She asked herself “Why do I do this, why do I continue?”   But Only her arriving and never giving up on herself she realized deeper into her study, with the support and teachings of her teachers that those feelings, emotions she experienced was part of the journey to cleanse, purify, heal and detox the body.  Each day the practice of yoga gave her something new, naturally they just became and she just let it be to become.

She began to end her night reading The Yoga Sutras and yoga philosophy where it paralleled to her practice on and off the mat.  The fire continued each morning as the alarm rang igniting her soul, never again a doubt but true faithfulness finally surrendered to all that came for her daily.  She knows as once a patient herself and a cancer nurse,  In order to heal, we must free from everything that is not good nor positive for us . She began to trust the power of breathing that she is reminded of at her everyday practice as she moved from posture to posture, all she hears her teachers say repeatedly is BREATHE.  One breath at a time, removing the toxins, blockages, stress, doubts, loss of hope, the no desire or will, laziness, excuses, distractions,  illness, disease, etc.

In 2006,  Christina began a deeper exploration to studying Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Bikram. Christina took practice regularly and fed the body and mind. Yoga studios began to evolve in cities like  they were coffee shops. All of a sudden,  yoga has become very popular with many different styles and choices.  In her neighborhood of Orange County California, many studios began to open their doors and offer a deeper training for those interested. Christina remembers having her curiosity struck by seeing so many mailings and franchises of yoga studio offerings teacher training everywhere.

Yoga practice is a beautiful addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Given all the methods of yoga, of course Christina was most attracted to most challenging, disciplines, structured yet ever life changing practice, Ashtanga yoga. The challenges to the body and mind were just what she needed ,she loved breathing through it all. During the days of Christina’s recovery of illness, the breathing was the powerful key during her days of pain and discomfort.  This reminded her of all her anguish moments. She gradually shifted her focus, time and energy more and more towards her yoga practice. Slowly she began to root and memorize the Ashtanga teachings, traditions and series of postures. Christina could then see herself one day perhaps sharing this gift with others. A great compliment being a cancer oncology nurse and she accepted the opportunity with an Ashtanga teacher apprenticeship program.  This became a precious facet to her career and life then and now.  Each year, she is forever grateful and invests her time  for continued education traveling to her Ashtanga teachers.  Wherever or whenever she can, she’ll fly and spend her valuable days, hours, weeks, months, to be under their tutelage.  Her greatest respect and gratitude to her teachers, Manju Jois, Nancy Gilgoff, David Swenson, David Williams, Ken Harukuma, Tim Miller, Jo Ichihara for instilling in her the true meaning and purpose of the practice.

Her teachers lasting impression of a true Ashtanga yoga practice ignited her heart . Her practice grew with a deeper purpose as each day flowed with humbleness, humility, challenges, service, gentleness, love and lightness. She devoted and dedicated her time and invested in every opportunity to learn, give and receive what she was given from her teachers.  Christina continues each day to celebrate the gift of this practice as it has given her more to her health, her life and her calling, her dharma.   Christina wanted to share this gift to all, she has founded the San Francisco Shala, opening its doors each day since 2012  ad the Maui Shala opening its doors 2018, enjoying the presence of many who invites this practice to their lives.   She enjoys giving back to the community, to where its needed, she donates time to share the yoga practice with at risk and under served populations, our veterans, our cancer patients and the community.  She is inspired to rise each morning at dawn knowing each day there is something bigger than herself. Her love for teaching has evolved to sharing workshops, special events, presenting for health and wellness programs, implementing yoga with integrated health in medical facilities, retreats and one on one private session for the healing.   She travels internationally loving California, Hawaii, India and Thailand, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia to study or give back.  We have a choice everyday to rise and shine and to appreciate every breath of life, the choice we make is up to us, we are accountable.  So her belief is that our greatest health insurance to ourself is to take care of ourself mentally, physically and spiritually as this is the body and mind we live in today.

 

Peace, Love, Gratitude, Om Shanti' Namaste