Our August teacher of the month is Chanel Vanzant, and if you’ve been to her class you would know why. Her calm energy an thoughtful instruction makes her a favorite at Bella Prana. Try a class with her if you are looking to find your center and float home. We asked her about her yoga story and she gave us this beautiful insight.

When/how did you discover yoga?

I initially came to yoga as a means of healing.  For a long time, I was dependent on busying myself with day to day activities to escape feelings I was uncomfortable with for a long time.  I was numb to what was going on and my direct means of happiness was placed on the external.  After my first class at 18 years old, I remember feeling exhausted.  That night I slept the hardest I had in years.   From that class on, my interest was peaked and I never really paused since.

What do you love about teaching yoga?

Growing up, it was really odd to sit still.  It was even more odd to sit still with feelings we classify as negative ~ be it sadness, grief, or pain.  And the more people I meet, the more I realize so many of us were taught to have this convoluted relationship with such feelings.  My hope for students who attend my class is that they feel like they are in a safe enough space to just be with whatever is going on in their life at that moment.  I say this in some way every class: the asana is not the only priority for me.  What we are truly working toward an undiscovered level of presence found through breathwork.  Because once we have that, the other limbs [of yoga] can begin to blossom and transform us from the inside, out.  Our physical bodies age and with that our asana practice will, too.  What will take us to our last day is our breath.       

How has yoga and meditation changed your life?

It is simpler to say the ways is have not impacted my life because that is a much smaller list.  Yoga has had profound and rippling effects on every aspect of who I am today. It has provided me with some of the most beautiful, healthiest, and sustaining relationships I have ever been in, starting with myself.  It has helped to heal and navigate tough family relationships.  I also feel an overall sense of contentment with the way things are in this moment for my life.

Why do you teach at Bella Prana?

Bella Prana was the studio that made Tampa feel like a home when I moved here 7 years ago.  I want students to feel as welcome and warm as I did and I am grateful to be a part of that.

-Chanel Vanzant