How I found strength, passion and purpose.
Namaste, my name is Skyler Dearen.
I’m 15 years old and I live in Newport Beach, California with my mother and younger sister Savannah. I have a beautiful loving life now, but it has not always been that way.
When I was a young child, I was subject to various forms of abuse and experienced many sorrows. But I was fortunate to have found something that healed my mind, body and spirit and only required a rectangular mat and a willingness to breathe, deeply and with intention.
It was called yoga, and when I first started taking classes I did if for the physical benefits. All those flows and challenging poses from standing to balancing to inversions really got my heart rate up and strengthened my muscles.
But then something remarkable happened. When I opened my eyes after savasana (resting pose) at the end of class, I realized how completely at peace I was with myself and the world around me. That’s when my love and passion for yoga really started to grow.
As a teenager, yoga helps me deal with the stress, anxiety, and peer pressure I face every day at school and at home and provides a sacred place for me to quiet my mind and connect with myself on a different level. Yoga has also healed me from my past, a past of abuse and struggle, and is now an instrumental part of my life and continues to heal me on a daily basis.
At the end of last year, I completed a 200-hour teacher training program at Radiant Hot Yoga in Newport Beach and became a certified instructor. Not only did it deepen my practice, but it changed my life.
Earlier this year, I learned that I was the youngest certified hot yoga instructor in the United States and was subsequently featured in a number of local and national publications. It was such an honor to be recognized for doing something that I love, but what was truly transformational was the ability to inspire others with my story.
As my love for yoga grew deeper, my passion turned to purpose and a growing desire to give back to the community and spread the peace and self-love that comes from yoga. I now teach over six classes a week including four adult classes at Radiant Hot Yoga and two teenage classes at Corona Del Mar High School. In addition, I lead the only Yoga Club in Orange County and teacher assist the yoga class period at Corona Del Mar High School. I also travel around the world teaching yoga on yoga retreats.
It’s an incredible honor to be able to lead, inspire, and help people from ages five to 80 in their yoga practice. Some of my most beloved students are in their mid-forties and fifties, which just goes to show that you can inspire at any age.
My entire life is devoted to yoga; I live and breathe it. I would be deeply grateful if you could share my story in hope that it may help others to overcome adversity, find peace and discover a new outlook on life.
You don’t know what you can do until you do it.”
Those words from her hot-yoga instructor inspired 48-year-old Juliet Morgan, an ultra-runner, to strike a yoga pose she’d dreaded – the bridge.
Morgan’s instructor, Skyler Dearen, is 15 – a Newport Beach resident and freshman at Corona del Mar High School. Yet, those who know her and learn from her describe the teen as an “old soul,” mature beyond her years, a motivational speaker who inspires them to get out of their minds and into their bodies.
“Most kids her age are probably in Fashion Island or on the beach,” said Morgan, of Newport Beach, who has been taking Dearen’s class for the past 10 months. “But this kid has changed my life.”
Dearen teaches yoga to adults a few times a week at Radiant Hot Yoga, a Newport Beach studio that her mother, Darlene Dearen, started two years ago. She also teaches her peers at Corona del Mar High two or three times a week, and runs a regular yoga class on campus.
A spokeswoman for the Yoga Alliance said Skyler Dearen is likely the youngest instructor the association has certified. The national organization has set 13 as its minimum certification age, she said.
Skyler Dearen started practicing yoga when she was 8 with her mother and younger sister, Savanna. They had just moved to Arizona from Las Vegas. Darlene Dearen said she and her daughters had just left her now-deceased husband.
Darlene Dearen showed a restraining order, which alleged physical abuse that the mother said all three had endured for three years. She got a divorce and sole custody of her daughters and moved away, Darlene said.
“When we moved to Arizona, we were living in fear,” she said. “My goal was to protect my daughters from danger and give them a normal life, where they could be children and be happy again.”
The girls, two years apart, were far from being in a happy place.
“They had no fingernails; they were tearing their hair out,” their mom said. “They would wake up screaming at night. We would all worry someone was at the door or outside, threatening us physically. It was a very difficult few years for us, as we moved through shelters and friends’ homes, living in fear.”
It was at such a time that one of Darlene Dearen’s friends suggested yoga. At first, only Darlene Dearen took the classes. When she realized it was helping her get to a place of peace, she started involving Skyler and Savanna. They’d get on mats and do the cat and cow poses as they mooed and meowed – just being silly.
“It became our way of bonding and healing,” Darlene Dearen said. “It went beyond that. It saved our lives.”
Darlene Dearen was told by therapists to put her daughters on antidepressants. But as it turned out, yoga was better than medication.
Skyler Dearen said she is not quite sure how she fell in love with yoga. “But I remember getting this clear state of mind and just being present, in the moment, and loving it,” she said. “It taught me not to dwell in the past or on people or memories.”
She said she has gone beyond shutting out her past and has forgiven her father. The family got news of his death by homicide last year.
Skyler Dearen says she sees yoga as a way to unite with everyone around her without judgment.
“It taught me to love myself,” she said.
Skyler Dearen especially loves hot yoga, which is typically done in 105-degree heat and at least 50 percent humidity.
“You sweat; no one can tell if you’re crying,” she said. “You leave all that negativity on the mat. It’s truly life-changing. You feel lighter, brighter and cleansed.”
Erica Schwartz, 42, of Huntington Beach, takes Skyler’s hot-yoga class twice a week.
“She’s very motivating,” Schwartz said. “Her energy is amazing for a 15-year-old.”
Schwartz, who has taught aerobics classes to adults since she was 16, knows what it takes for a teenager to teach people two or three times her age.
“Skyler is confident, poised and just passionate about yoga,” she said. “She speaks from her heart. You can tell that this is going to be a huge part of her life.”
When I was 6 years old, I started doing yoga because my mother had been practicing for years and she always seemed to be smiling and so happy. I also saw these immense changes in her – physically, emotionally and spiritually and I wanted to follow in her footsteps.
Then when I was eleven, I tried something called hot yoga which is done in a room heated to 105 degrees and is incredibly challenging both physically and mentally. My friends thought I was crazy taking all these hot yoga classes but I liked about it was that it allowed me to do things I thought I could never do.
First, because the heat warms your muscles, I found it easier for my body to relax and get into a deeper stretch. I could then get into these really deep poses that I could never do before in regular yoga classes. So physically, my body was able to do things I thought I could never do (see photos).
Second, the heat also helped me to forget about everything outside of the room, about what happened at school that day, things my friends said or stuff that I was worried about, and instead focus on the present. I discovered how breathing in and out through my nose helped to bring down my heart rate and calm my body. Now I use this breathing technique whenever I’m stressed at school or at home and mentally, I’m able to get through tough situations that I never thought I could handle.
Third, I never thought that at 14, I would do something that nobody else has done – become the youngest certified hot yoga instructor in the United States. I simply decided last year that I loved hot yoga so much that I wanted to teach and signed up for a 8-week Teacher Training Certification class. Everybody in the class was at least twice my age and I think they were surprised that I was there and not at the beach or shopping at the mall with my friends!
I received my Certification in December and started teaching at my mother’s hot yoga studio in Newport Beach this year. I will admit that when I first started teaching, I was really nervous about instructing a room full of adults because I am so young. But after a few classes, I realized that if you focus on sharing what you know and what you love, you can lead, motivate and inspire others at any age.
One of my favorite quotes is:
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
So find your passion and pursue what you love most and you may be surprised by what you can achieve!
Skyler Dearen is an 8th grade student at Corona Del Mar High School and is the youngest known certified hot yoga instructor in the United States. She teaches, practices and helps run her mother’s studio, Radiant Hot Yoga, in Newport Beach, California.
Seeking some fit-spiration? We chatted with 14-year-old hot instructor (yes, instructor!) Skyler Dearen to get the scoop on why yoga is the ultimate exercise and a few of her fave poses.
Why do you think yoga is such a great exercise for teens?
Yoga is more than just an exercise. You work both the body and mind. Yoga teaches you to be content and happy, to love yourself and accept who you are, as well as helping you to live in the present moment. – Skyler D.
What’s your advice for teens who are too intimidated to try yoga and especially hot yoga?
I know it seems scary trying something new but you just have to jump in and know you are doing something amazing for your body, for your life. Yoga is something you can practice for the rest of your life and it will bring you more happiness. It will build your self-esteem and help you feel more confident with who you are. – Skyler D.
For girls who play other sports, is adding yoga a good thing to do and why?
Doing yoga is good for everyone. It’s over 4,000 years old and it’s still around for a reason. It gives you more range of motion and flexibility, eases aches and pains, makes you mentally stronger and helps to relieve stress. – Skyler D.
What made you decide you wanted to become a hot yoga instructor?
I have been practicing yoga for almost eight years. Every time I took a class, I felt inspired, connected, healthy and strong afterwards. I thought to myself, “if someone can connect, heal and inspire me, I can do it as well for others.” I completed the eight-week teacher training session in December 2013 and ever since then my life has really changed. When I am in the hot room teaching there is a great energy, a connectedness between myself and everyone in the room—unity and love that make me feel so alive and happy. I am so fully present that it feels as if nothing else exists outside the room. – Skyler D.
So, ready to put it into action? Here are a few of Skyler’s favorite yoga poses and their amazing healthy benefits.
- Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
- Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back
- Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves and ankles
- Opens the hip joint
- Is a significant stretch for opening the buttocks, gluteals and piriformis muscle, which is very helpful for sciatic problems
- Opens hip flexors
- Helps relieve low back pain and stiffness
- Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves
- Stretches the thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back
- Improves concentration and sense of balance
- Loosens up the legs
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Stretches the abdominal muscles
- Stretches the hamstring and calves
- Strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles
- Stretches the back of the leg, the front thigh and groin
- Stretches the chest and lungs
- Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen and spine
- Increases energy
Happy New Year!
Radiant Hot Yoga, Newport Beach’s Premier Hot Yoga studio would like to wish you a very Happy New Year, filled with love, joy, success and happiness!
Healthy throughout a yoga filled 2015 at RHY
The New Year comes with great offers from Radiant Hot Yoga:
Radiant Hot Yoga offers a One Year Unlimited paid in full for only $1,389.75 (this means that a class will cost you only $7.00 if you practice hot yoga 4 times a week)!
We recommend practicing 3-5 times a week to receive the many benefits of hot yoga.
The benefits of Hot Yoga are abundant and are for everybody. Immersing yourself in a regular practice will:
- Cleanse the mind and body;
- Release toxins and impurities;
- Improve flexibility, range of motion and balance;
- Burn 700-1000 calories contributing to weight loss;
- Develop muscle tone and build strength;
- Boost the immune system;
- Relieve stress and anxiety;
- Reduces the symptoms of certain chronic illnesses, such as thyroid disorders, depression, arthritis and circulatory problems.
For more information, please contact front desk:
- Phone number: 949-706-YOGA (9642)
- Email address: email@example.com