Alia Khan; How a Recovering Lawyer becomes a studio owner

Alia Khan and I conducted this interview at Wanderlust in Snowshoe, WV. She is a yoga teacher and owns a yoga studio in Washington D.C. She found herself in the business of yoga after becoming dissatisfied with her job as an attorney. The motivation came from understanding the difference between being comfortable and being happy. Alia talks about the removal of the religion from yoga without taking away the spirituality, and why, as a Muslim/Indian/American that is so important to her. She offers some ideas why yoga is different than a regular workout and explains why she instructs in a very detailed and exacting manner. While the opportunity to open a yoga studio presented itself without seeking it, Alia talks about the planning and challenges of that process. The importance of being paid for what you are worth. She addresses the work ethic required for the owner of a studio, her rituals and also the importance of taking time away. Alia gets a little vulnerable and opens up about her pre-bedtime ritual.

As Alia puts it, she teaches real yoga for real people and is on a mission to bring yoga to people who think that it isn’t for them. If you enjoyed hearing Alia’s story, there are lots of ways that you can connect with her. First and foremost, she runs a yoga studio in Washington D.C. called East Side Yoga.  Her various social media are listed below including her spotify accout so that you can listen to her playlists. She has recently started a blog which is also below. And, she is running an alignment-focused 200HR Yoga Teacher Training this fall at her studio, so be sure to reach out to her if that is of interest to you.

aliajkhan.com

Facebook

Blog

alia@eastsideyoga.com

Spotify – alia0628

Harry Potter audiobooks on Amazon

Ganesha Goes to Lunch – A story

A short story about Ganesha and greed. About recognizing the difference between wants and needs. And about food.

If you like this story, you can find it and more like it in the book, Ganesha Goes to Lunch by Kamla K Kapur

Thanks to David Davis for introducing the episode.

A big thanks to 13 Hands for allowing us to use the song, Big Love in the musical intro and outro.

Please help us to spread the word of this podcast by sharing the episode, reviewing the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts and by following us on our social media by searching for ‘Chats From The Mat.’

The Snake – A Short Story

A fun little story about embracing a peaceful lifestyle while maintaining your personal strength.

If you like this story, you can find it and more like it in the book, Ganesha Goes to Lunch by Kamla K Kapur

Thanks to David Davis for introducing the episode.

A big thanks to 13 Hands for allowing us to use the song, Big Love in the musical intro and outro.

Please help us to spread the word of this podcast by sharing the episode, reviewing the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts and by following us on our social media by searching for ‘Chats From The Mat.’

How a Marine Corp vet found healing through yoga. Interview with Justin Blazejewski

I am with the founder of VEToga, Justin Blazejewski

Justin Blazejewski joined the Marine Corp after high-school. He transitioned to a contractor, working in IT. His normal coping methods of dealing with stress were very physical such as marathons and lifting weights. He went to a yoga class after a few injuries and significant pressure from a friend. He was hooked after his first class. Like a marine, he started off going to yoga 6 days per week. As a contractor, he often found himself in war zones and would practice yoga on the bases. The soldiers observed his practice and his state of calm and assumed the two were connected. When they began to ask him to teach them some yoga, he decided that he should take a yoga teacher training so that he could share the practice, the correct way.

After taking a yoga teacher training with Dharma Mittra, he began to question what he was doing and what his purpose was. He decided that he could use his experiences abroad, in war zones to help others that have had similar experiences and so he created VEToga. VEToga is a yoga teacher training for Veterans, Emergency Responders and their families.

When asked, without hesitation Justin recommended the Bhagavad Gita to anyone looking to dig into the background of yoga, dharma and finding your path; especially for those who come from a military background.

Justin Blazejewski is not alone; there are quite a few veterans that have returned to civilian life and have created programs to help other veterans return. Below is a list of some other Not For Profit organizations that work with veterans.

Malas For Vets

Veterans Yoga Project

Mindful Yoga Therapy

Warriors at Ease

The Give Back Yoga Foundation

Mission Continues

TAPS

Team RWB

Helping Vets Help Vets: As we discussed in the interview, there is a special event that we working together on. On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, 2017, all over the country, teachers will be running a class that is dedicated to the veterans of the U.S. military to honor their efforts and to bring awareness to the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. All proceeds from the class will go to a scholarship fund that will send veterans to a yoga teacher training run by VEToga. VEToga was created by veterans, for veterans. You can learn more on the Facebook page for Boundless Service. We are currently looking for teachers that would like to participate. You can sign up as a teacher or participant on the Boundless Service website. #HelpingVetsHelpVets

Special Thanks: I am grateful to Davide Di Censo for providing the introduction and to 13 Hands for graciously giving us permission to use ‘Big Love’ as the intro and outro.