Sabrina Salonga recently moved to Houston, Texas, where she teaches private yoga classes to individuals and groups with her company, Real Simple Yoga. She gladly and enthusiastically teaches people of all different ages and backgrounds. Sabrina was kind enough to take time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us:
How did you first get interested in yoga? I’ve always liked trying new things and love doing different activities and I decided to try yoga to see what all the fuss was about. I went to my first yoga class with a friend of mine and I actually really hated it! It was so hard for me and I felt completely embarrassed after I left the class. However, I was so frustrated because of that I forced myself to just kept going because I really wanted to conquer a beginning yoga class! Then, when I kept going I saw that at the heart of it yoga was so much more than I thought it was and fell in love.
What changes has yoga made in your life? More than anything, yoga has taught me that I am more capable than I think I am. It improved my confidence because I was doing things I never thought I could do. Not only when I’m doing the postures myself, but when I teach it I am able to make a difference in someones life, and that’s the best feeling in the world. Also, it brought awareness to everything I did from the way I moved my body to my emotions and even my relationships with people. I just started to notice things I never did before. It helps keep me sane in a sometimes hectic world.
What inspired you to first begin teaching yoga to others? After I started learning more about yoga I noticed that some of the people it could really touch are the ones who would never step foot inside a studio. My parents are perfect example. They are healthy and happy beings, but they would never in a million years take it upon themselves to try yoga. My dad constantly has sore muscles and my mom never takes a minute for herself to relax so yoga would be excellent for them. Sadly, they never tried it because they thought it was only for crazy athletic people who are insanely flexible and active. After they did a few lessons with me, they started to see that it is absolutely something they can do and they loved seeing the changes in their body and mind. Yoga is something I feel everyone can benefit from, and I love finding a way that is convenient and interesting to every single person.
How would you describe your teaching style? I teach traditional Hatha yoga which is gentle, simplistic, but still incredibly beneficial. Yoga does not have to be complicated in order to reap the benefits. It is great for every kind of person from the most fit, athletic person to someone who never does any physical activity at all. In a perfect class I like to blend energy and intensity with relaxation and calmness.
You recently relocated to Houston from Las Vegas. What attracted you to the city? How I found myself here is a little bit of a mystery but a perfect example of how just letting go and trusting the universe will always lead you exactly where you need to be. Right before I moved, I was just looking for a new place to explore and learn from. After spending some time in Houston, I found it charming in its own unique way. Besides having a great yoga community, there is so much to do! There are tons of great places to eat, there’s always an activity going on in the city like a marathon or concert, the museums and shows exhibit awesome culture, and the people I have met have been amazing and touched my heart. It’s a city that I felt would help me grow, not only in my yoga practice, but also just in life! It’s energetic, fun, and many people and places in Houston inspire me. Even though it is such a big city already, I still feel like it has more potential to grow and I’m excited to see it happen and be a part of it.
What is your approach when teaching a yoga lesson to a total beginner? I love teaching beginners! They have done the hardest part by showing up to a first yoga lesson which I know can be so intimidating. My job from there is to guide them with patience, compassion, and love. I start with the absolute basics giving them a strong foundation. I make sure everything I do is completely encouraging and non-judgmental no matter what level they are at. Also, I always make sure that I introduce yoga in a fun and interesting way so that it challenges your mind and body but still leaves you feeling good which is what yoga is all about. Students should feel comfortable asking questions because if you are just starting out, there is so much to know about yoga! I’m here for them and I love helping people begin their yoga journey.
What does the spiritual aspect of yoga mean to you? It is when you start to feel the energy behind all of the postures on and off the yoga mat. There is a driving force behind every thought, action, feeling, and experience in life whether we are aware of it or not. Learning to be cognizant of it is the spiritual aspect of yoga.
How do you adjust yoga lessons to match the student’s ability or inclination? That is the best part about private yoga lessons is that I am able to completely customize each and every lesson and really get to know the student and their needs. If someone has a particular reason for starting a yoga practice such as an injury, I can tailor each posture to make sure they are capable of doing it without hurting themselves and also making it restorative to their body. Sometimes during a large yoga class, people don’t tell the instructor what they are looking for, so they don’t always get what they need out of it, which is why people find it hard to continue their practice. I strongly feel that everyone could use yoga in their life and it is just a matter of finding the right kind of yoga that works for them.
Do you have a favorite type of yoga clothing? When practicing yoga, the most important aspects of clothing is to be 100% comfortable. You never want to be wearing anything that you have to constantly keep adjusting and nothing that will get in your way of the flow of practice. Also, you want to be able to move freely in every direction. I am always drawn to Lululemon because you can tell that they have a great grasp of yoga and what you would need in yoga clothes. For example, they are made with tons of technical features such as moisture wicking fabrics, chafe resistant seams, and pieces that stand the test of time. Their designs are figure flattering and I feel you get a good value for what you pay.
If you weren’t teaching yoga, what do you think you’d be doing? I am passionate about so many things! It’s hard to pick just one on a daily basis. I LOVE to travel and experience different cultures. It has a way of opening my mind, making me feel so grateful for what I have, and humbling me at the same time. I also love all kinds of art like oil painting and creating beautifully sculpted tiered cakes. Cooking anything vegetarian is how I spend a lot of my time as well.
As a yoga teacher, do you ever feel like you get an overdose of yoga from leading multiple classes in the same day? Absolutely. However, the great thing about it is that every single class is going to be different even if it is the same people and the same postures. I always try and mix it up and keep it interesting but I would be lying if I said that I never felt I had a yoga overload. Too much of a good thing is never good. Balance is key.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in yoga, but thinks it would be hard to fit into their busy schedule? It’s all about prioritizing. I would compare it to something like brushing your teeth or showering. You know brushing your teeth is just something you have to do every day so you make the time to do it and schedule your life around the task! It’s the same thing with yoga. If you make yoga a priority and just focus on doing it regardless of what is going on in your life, it will become routine and there will be time in your schedule. Just like everything in life, there is never enough time to do anything so you have to make time if it is important enough to you.
If you are in the Houston area and want to schedule a private yoga lesson with Sabrina, please contact her via her website Real Simple Yoga. I’m sure she would also love if you like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.