So in some weird 21st century social experiment, ChicagoNow bloggers were paired up to get to know our fellow tenants of this webiste and interview each other. I've never a done an interview on this blog before, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but I was thrilled to be paired up with Beth Prystowsky, the brains, beauty, and flexibility behind Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom.
As an off and on yogini for the last 10 years or so and fellow pigeon pose enthusiast, I was excited to ask Beth about her yoga and blogging journey and how the two intersect for her. And I had to throw in a question about travel there for good measure. So to set the scene, imagine us eating tofu scrambles and salads, with funk music in the background at Kitsch'n on Roscoe. There may have been side conversations about oil pulling. It was the best kind of crunchy and I loved it.
Enjoy this casual conversation with the yoga mom herself...
How did you first become introduced to yoga?
I started with pre-natal yoga when I was pregnant. At the time I worked in advertising, but decided to stop once I had my kids. After that I decided to become a certified yoga instructor. My husband thought I was nuts!
How often do you practice and do you have a favorite type of yoga?
I usually practice everyday between teaching and my own self-practice. I usually practice Vinyasa, but also teach pre-natal and mom and baby yoga.
How would you describe the impact yoga's had on your life? Your family's lives?
It's had a major impact! I've always struggled with anxiety and have always been into working out to help with that. Then with being a mom, it was something I could do at home. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 1.5 years ago, I found that yoga has helped with my body awareness- I was able to notice subtle differences in my body that I think helped me get an early diagnosis. It's also helped a lot with managing my muscle stiffness. As for my family, my husband will sometimes say "you need to go to yoga" and he's been very supportive. I really want my kids to like it and we go to family yoga classes. They are still at the stage when they joke around a lot during poses, but I hope it helps them. My mom and my sister do yoga now, too.
In your opinion, what is the greatest benefit of your yoga practice?
For me, learning to breathe and body awareness have been great benefits. I also like the community and the people that I've met through yoga.
What is your favorite yoga pose?
It changes all the time. Right now, it's half-moon pose. I always love pigeon and handstands too.
What inspired you to start your blog?
After my daughter was born, I started a blog on Blogspot to connect with other mothers. After doing that for awhile, my mom recommended checking out ChicagoNow as it was just starting out.
How has your blog inspired or influences your yoga practice or vice versa?
My yoga practice give me inspiration for posts and it's been great to connect with other yogis through my blog. If someone says they started yoga because of my blog, well, that's wonderful!
What's the most surprising thing you've experienced through your blog?
I love when random people come up and tell me they like my blog- it's given me a lot of confidence. It's been great meeting interesting people online and in real-life and the support from the ChicagoNow community has been really helpful.
What's your favorite blog post you've done?
When I was first diagnosed with MS, I decided to blog about my hospital stay. It was in real time and I was writing what was going through my head through the process.
Have you ever done yoga while travelling? What has the experience been like?
I love to find studious while I was away from home. I've practiced in Philadelphia, New York City, Arizona, and South Carolina. It's been a good experience and fun to see the differences- the accents in South Carolina were great. It was difficult to find a studio in Paris, though.
What's your advice for people who are interested in beginning a yoga practice?
I hear people say that they want to try yoga, but don't think they're flexible enough. I recommend that people go to their first class, roll out the mat, and do it. People should try out different studios and different teachers until they find something they like. The great thing about yoga is it's not competitive.
Beth also recommends checking out her video on seated yoga anyone can do as a great way to get started.