Taking a short break from their leaps and tumbles, the Newport Harbor High School pep squad’s 61 girls laid out mats in a campus gym for some yoga Wednesday afternoon.
Skyler Dearen, 16, was ready to lead the girls through their down dogs and tree poses. But that’s not all — she also had some words of wisdom, motivation and self-love.
Doing yoga, she said, allows one to “consciously let go of the things that no longer serve you.”
Skyler became a certified instructor through the credentialing organization Yoga Alliance at age 13 and taught her first class at 14.
Having received a teaching certification before a driver’s license, she has taught about 20,000 students so far. She currently teaches about 10 classes a week at her mother Darlene’s business, Radiant Hot Yoga in Newport Beach and Irvine.
Skyler attended Corona del Mar High School before switching to online school the past two years to accommodate her yoga teaching schedule.
As her session at Newport Harbor began Wednesday, Skyler had the cheerleaders, song girls and baton team members ease into a pose in which they lay flat on their backs while she set up music and had the lights dimmed.
Her 15-year-old sister, Savanna, who also is certified, helped demonstrate various poses for the students.
“There’s a lot of moving pieces,” said Julie Woodall, an instructor for Radiant Hot Yoga. A session’s tone, music selection, ventilation and lighting are all in the instructor’s hands.
Earlier this week, Newport Harbor pep squad advisor and coach Kris Higman, a longtime friend of Woodall’s, asked if Skyler could lead a class during her students’ summer training camp.
“It’s a chance for them to stretch their bodies, work on core muscles, strength in their arms and legs and balance, but also for them to be positive about their bodies,” Higman said. “Skyler is their same age; she’s going through the same things socially as they are. If she can give them this message of loving yourself, that’s huge.”
Skyler and Savanna received that message when they needed it most.
When Skyler was 6 and Savanna was 5, their mother encouraged them to “heal themselves” through yoga.
The girls’ parents had separated, and later divorced. Skyler and Savanna moved with their mother from Arizona to California about five years ago, Skyler said.
“[Yoga] taught me to accept the moment, that you have a choice of how you want to live your life, whether it’s being unhappy or loving life,” she said. “I can take down those walls. … It’s my choice.”
As the Newport Harbor girls moved through workouts such as push-ups and bridge poses, their young instructor kept her voice upbeat. During relaxed stretches, she spoke softly and slowly.
Toward the end of the class, the squad moved into a sleeping half pigeon pose, in which they lay face down with one leg bent and another stretched out behind them.
“It takes strength to let go,” Skyler said as they sunk deeper into the pose. “It takes bravery and courage.”
For squad member Cassidy Peterson, the session with Skyler was her first yoga class.
“It shows us how to let all the pain and anxiety go,” Cassidy said. “We can take away what’s good and positive and let go of what’s negative.”
As the class neared its end, the girls lay flat on their backs as they did at the beginning. They closed their eyes, and Skyler sealed the practice with some final words.
“We experience struggles, but we experience amazing things as well,” she told them. “That’s part of the journey.”
Skyler Dearen can take the heat.
At just 15-years old, our nation’s youngest Yoga Alliance-registered hot yoga instructor treks a bold, heart-guided life path.
A yogi since age 7, Dearen’s passion for the fiery practice was inspired by her single mother, a yoga teacher-turned studio owner in Newport Beach, California.
Yoga totally changed our lives. We’ve had hard times. Hot yoga offers…
an amazing emotional release. You get in to that hot room, sweat it out and let it go,” says Dearen, who completed a teacher training in 2013 at her mom’s Radiant Yoga studio here.
We trained in 105 degree temperature for weekends on end. I didn’t think I could physically and mentally do it, but jumped in,” says the ninth-grader.
Though nervous her first time teaching a group of forty,
I walked in there and gave it all I had. You have to go for it and stay fearless to be that vessel for your students,” says Dearen.
Over time, Dearen’s combined style of Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga and Bikram classes took shape. She currently teaches six to eight weekly classes, a feat made possible by another gutsy life choice.
After a family exploration trip to Thailand last year, “I decided I wanted to be homeschooled so I could do more yoga,” says Dearen, whose mom supported the switch.
Dearen now virtually attends an online, self-study program through Brigham Young University. She says she’s able to pull in A’s and B’s, while taking or teaching yoga twice daily and has transitioned easily to her new routine.
All of my school friends come to my classes and we still hang out. I’m very close with everyone at my studio. We’re a huge family,” she says.
Dearen chronicles her love of nature and sense of adventure on Instagram, posting, “When I find a beautiful place and want to stop and take a cool yoga picture,” she says. Her online following has grown to 2000.
Up the road, Dearen dreams of opening up her own Radiant Yoga studio and hosting yoga retreats worldwide.
She plans to inspire more teens to try yoga, too.
“It’s such an amazing gift,” she says.
Meet three young yoga teachers, who use Instagram as an outlet to share their passion for the practice.
1. Meet Lexi Hidalgo (@lexxyoga)
For many teens, yoga is a great exercise and stress-reliever. But as 14-year-old Lexi Hidalgo is learning, it’s a great entrepreneurial platform, too. The Delray Beach, Florida, native is one of the country’s youngest certified Yoga and Stand Up Paddleboard instructors. Her positive, attention-grabbing daily Instagram posts reach 4,000 followers.
The cheerleader-turned-yogi discovered yoga while accompanying her mom to a heated class. “Yoga completely calmed me down and changed my life,” says Hidalgo. “A lot of people judge others at school. Yoga taught me to feel comfortable within my own skin.”
Hidalgo teaches a monthly Teen Vinyasa class at Ivivva of Boca Raton and is instructing at Kids’ SUP camps this summer.
Recently, athletic apparel brand, LunaJai, tapped her to be a brand ambassador. “Social media has helped me to build myself up. Before I started yoga, I couldn’t talk in person. Now, I post whatever I want to with confidence. Without Instagram, I wouldn’t have all the opportunities that are coming,” Hidalgo says.
2. Meet Kaya Hughes (@kayahyoga)
Like the ocean waves she resides by, yoga naturally flowed in to ninth-grader Kaya Hughes’ life. The teen, based in Encinitas, California, clicked with the practice two years back and lobbied a local studio to enter its teacher training program. “I didn’t know if girls would like how I taught, but over time I felt more comfortable and my teaching skills improved,” Hughes says.
Also a guitar player, Hughes’ music playlists set her yoga classes apart. “I wanted to use music that I listen to and connect with teens,” she says. She named her “Teen Spirit” class after Nirvana, for example.
Hughes promotes her yoga work and lifestyle on Instagram, where she’s amassed 2,000 followers. “I use social media to share quotes I like and to connect with other girls my age who practice,” Hughes says. The yogi trendsetter has also caught the eye of activewear brand, Teeki, jewelry companies, and flash tattoo lines like Tats4Now, for whom she’s a brand ambassador.
While such attention has its perks, “I don’t see myself building on this. I’m interested in making my own music for yoga classes,” says Hughes, who is inspired by Bob Marley, Souljah, Foo Fighters, Michael Franti, and The Cure. As she continues her personal yoga journey, “I have a positive outlook, am super confident in who I am, and mindful of what’s right and wrong. I think I’ve helped people to come out of their shell, which is why I love yoga so much,” she says.
3. Meet Skyler Dearen (@skyleryoga)
Skyler Dearen can take the heat. At just 15 years old, the country’s youngest Yoga Alliance-registered hot yoga instructor treks a bold, heart-guided life path. A yogi since age 7, Dearen’s passion for the fiery practice was inspired by her single mother, a yoga teacher-turned-owner of the Radiant Hot Yoga studio, in Newport Beach, California.
“Yoga totally changed our lives. We’ve had hard times. Hot yoga offers an amazing emotional release. You get in to that hot room, sweat it out and let it go,” says Dearen, who completed a teacher training in 2013. “We trained in 105 degree temperature for weekends on end. I didn’t think I could physically and mentally do it, but jumped in,” says the ninth-grader. Her first time teaching a group of forty? “I walked in there and gave it all I had. You have to go for it and stay fearless to be that vessel for your students,” says Dearen, admitting she was nervous.
After a family exploration trip to Thailand last year, Dearen made another gutsy life choice. “I decided I wanted to be homeschooled so I could do more yoga,” says Dearen, whose mom supported the switch. Dearen now attends an online, self-study program through Brigham Young University. She says she’s able to pull A’s and B’s, while taking or teaching yoga twice daily and has transitioned easily to her new routine. “All of my school friends come to my classes and we still hang out. I’m close with everyone at my studio. We’re a huge family,” she says.
Dearen chronicles her love of nature and sense of adventure on Instagram, growing her online following to over 2,000. Dearen dreams of opening up her own studio one day and hosting yoga retreats worldwide. She plans to inspire more teens to try yoga, too. “It’s such an amazing gift,” she says.
I lead yoga retreats all around the world. What I have found through my experience with this is that they are life-changing. You may ask, “Why would I want to go on a retreat rather than just simply a vacation?”
1. You will fall in love
I fell in love at my last retreat.
I was surrounded by palm trees and magnificent ocean views and hammocks. Part jungle, part fantasy, my heart burst open and cracked in half with wild love. I was giddy with it.
Yes, I have been married for two years and no, it was not with my husband.
And yes, I love my husband deeply. Although it may not be him I am speaking of directly, he is, in fact, directly affected by this falling in love of mine, as it were.
How can he not be?
When you embody love, anyone you come in contact with gets a little of it, whether they wanted to or not.
You will walk out of a room and they will stand there in awe, replaying your face in their mind, trying to memorize what it was that made them feel so good.
My husband reaps the benefits, you can be sure. I am more inspired, more full of life, happier, funnier (debatable), more patient, and more awake than I have felt in a long time.
What I realize now is that I can be in love, I can be love, full of all of it’s cracks and holes and laughter and quirks and inside jokes and not necessarily have to own it. I do not have to have each and every body who comes with me on my yoga retreats here in my apartment every day to allow myself to feel what I felt during the retreat.
You will make friends and chances are they will be friends for life. My retreats are famous for making families among friends.
You will fall in love with yourself again.
2. You will know what it means to be courageous
I look at the people on my last retreat. One girl came all the way from Amsterdam, alone. All the way to Mexico with a group she didn’t know, having never done yoga in her life and leaving her children back home.
She had the courage to be imperfect and ask for private help from me with the poses. She had the courage to sit out and watch at times. She had the courage to make new friends and be vulnerable. My sister had the courage to leave two kids at home (one who has special needs and a very strict regimen) and take a week just for herself. Something she had never ever done in her life.
Whether you have been to 50 yoga retreats or none at all, it takes courage to go away somewhere with a group of people and be vulnerable.
You may find that during the retreat you will do things that you are out of your comfort zone. I notice during my retreats that people feel more brave so they end up taking risks. Whether it is jumping out of a plane or allowing themselves to connect with someone more deeply.
3. You will give wholeheartedly to yourself
The minute you sign up for the yoga retreat, your life starts to change. You have taken the first step in doing something just for you! I know that for myself it is not that often that I do something just for me. Even if you sign up with someone, you are sending a message to yourself that says “I care about you.” Taking time out for yourself, whether it’s a couple days or a weeklong retreat, is a magical way to remember who you really are. To escape the traffic and the emails and the work duties and to soak up the feeling of being self-loving.
4. You will deepen your yoga practice
We hear that expression a lot. I know. When I say deepen I mean this: you will get on your mat without a care in the world other than your mat. At home, when we practice it’s always with the knowing in the back of our minds that there is somewhere to be. Like work. Like picking up the kids. When you are on a retreat, there is nowhere to be. There is just you and your mat and the loveliness that comes with being away from it all.
5. You will see the world with new eyes
I lead retreats in Ojai, California, Italy, Mexico, Maui, and Bali, to name a few. What happens when you go away to any of these places during a yoga retreat is you experience them on a very conscious level. Most days you are doing yoga twice a day. There is an awakeness that occurs with so much yoga, one that causes you to open your eyes and see the world a little brighter. A little more clearly. When I go on vacation, I rarely do as much yoga as when I am on a retreat. There is a gift that comes with the practice of yoga. Being in Tuscany with this perspective is like nothing else. Bali, Hawaii, any of the places become more magical when you incorporate the body, breath and mindfulness that comes with your yoga practice.
6. You will transform
During my Manifestation Yoga retreats, we journal during every single class. There is a transformation that occurs through this process. Whether you get clarity on what you want to manifest in your life or you have a breakthrough about how fear is holding you back, you will feel a shift occur.
There is something powerful about being away from your day-to-day life, among a group of like-minded people, eating amazing food (and drinking amazing wine if you are in my group), journaling as you do yoga classes and seeing the world with new eyes. There is something magical and powerful that you often cannot get anywhere else.
7. You will have fun. A lot of fun!
Bottom line: you’ll have fun. If you’re with me (and most retreats, I’d assume), you’ll have the time of your life. You’ll have belly laughs and long naps and delicious savansanas. You’ll do something you have never done like take a Mexican cooking class or surf or try a handstand. You will relax deeply and play deeply. You will meet people you wouldn’t have met before and connect with them in a way that you wouldn’t trade for the world.
Radiant Hot Yoga retreat
A yoga retreat is a time of transformation and exploration of yourself. If you need to press the “restart” button in your life this is what will help you do it. Fall in love with yourself, fall in love with nature.
We only have a few spots left on our retreat to Amansala Tulum. Come and Soul Surf with myself and Radiant Hot Yoga June 26 2015 to July 2 2015.
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
Young entrepreneurs are nothing new; they have been around for decades and longer.
Young kids (usually defined as younger than 18) delivered newspapers, cut lawns, and operated lemonade stands. True Americana.
In recent years, the support for these kids is significantly higher, with tools and resources available to help them launch and grow businesses. Sometimes they start high tech or game related businesses—and in some cases sell them for millions of dollars!
Money was not the motivation for 14-year-old Skyler Dearen to become the youngest certified hot yoga instructor in the United States, but it seems it was a destiny since she took her first class when she was just 6-years-old.
Her mother, Darlene, has been in the yoga world for many years, and in 2013 opened Radiant HOT Yoga in the Bison/ MacArthur center where young Skyler also teaches.
The key word is HOT, as in 105 degree temperatures and high humidity. Based on personal experience, you work up quite a sweat.
In a crowded class she walks around the room, adjusting the temperature, humidity, music, and generating an energy which transfers to the class.
As the director of operations, it is up to her to be sure everyone is pushed to their potential without exceeding it, opening classroom doors for circulation when needed, and stopping her students from putting themselves in danger.
Quite a bit of pressure for a girl who is just completing 8th grade at Corona del Mar High School.
She has been certified and teaching since last December, and has aspirations of opening her own Radiant Studio, following in Mom’s entrepreneurial footsteps.
I recently attended my first hot yoga class taught by Skyler. She displayed posture and maturity well beyond her years.
Commitment was essential as her certification required 200 hours of training over an eight week period.
When asked how her friends responded to her focus and commitment, she modestly replied that she has become an inspiration for them, which is terrific for anyone to be a role model to their peers.
Radiant is one of the few studios that offers hot yoga for youth, and Skyler wants to inspire them.
“If you find a passion and know what you want to do, give it all the time and energy and you will succeed,” she told me. Not a quote you would expect from such a young person.
After attending several classes at Radiant, I truly felt like part of a family. Since yoga combines physical, spiritual and meditative practices, the transparency of the personalities is notable.
If you’d like to see Skyler in action, take one of her classes at Radiant HOT Yoga.
Teenager proves there is no age limit to being able to motivate and inspire
Los Angeles, CA, April 23, 2014.
Imagine a room heated to 105-degrees Fahrenheit with a 40% humidity factor, filled with three dozen men and women all looking to be guided through one of the most intense physical and mental workouts they will ever do – hot yoga.
Now picture a 14-year-old girl with long straight hair, big blue eyes and a smile that will warm your heart leading this dedicated group of adults twice her age through a challenging 60-minute class, and you’ll realize that Skyler Dearen is not your typical teenager. In fact, on December 15, 2013, at the age of just 14, Skyler became the youngest known certified hot yoga instructor in the United States.
Over the past 5 years, yoga, an ancient practice from India, has grown in popularity in the United States. A 2012 “Yoga in America” study by Yoga Journal showed that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, compared to 15.8 million in 2008, an increase of 29 percent. At the same time, the style of yoga has changed dramatically.Today, the most popular yoga classes are being offered in heated studios, where people move through a set series of postures and a flow that systematically stimulates the muscles, organs, and nervous system, moving freshly-oxygenated blood throughout the body while leaving puddles of sweat behind.
Due to the extreme heat and humidity, hot yoga is considered to be one of the most vigorous, aerobic, and effective practices in the world. Devotees say this type of yoga leaves them feeling energized, strong, more flexible yet also surprisingly relaxed and calm.
But in order to achieve these benefits, however, a person practicing hot yoga needs an instructor who is able to almost magically instruct, motivate and make them believe that “yes, you can really do this!” A hot yoga instructor needs to have a presence and a voice that is confident, empowering and gentle, all at the same time. And yet, despite the fact that she isn’t old enough to drive a car, Skyler can steer a packed class of stressed adults through one of the most challenging series of poses, all without breaking a sweat herself.
An 8th grader at Corona Del Mar High School in Newport Beach, California, Skyler has been practicing regular yoga since she was six and hot yoga since she was eleven. In January of 2013, her mother Darlene, who has been studying, practicing and teaching yoga for over ten years, opened Radiant Hot Yoga in Newport Beach. Skyler started taking hot yoga classes regularly and helping out at the studio after school, and then one day she decided that she wanted to do more. She told her mother that she wanted to become a teacher.
Her mother wasn’t surprised. “Skyler is different than other 14-year-old girls. When I first introduced her to hot yoga, she responded and embraced the practice the way people twice her age do – adults with years of physical, mental and emotional stress that find amazing benefits in hot yoga.” Darlene adds, “She has the focus, patience and maturity of a much older soul and truly understands the transformational power of hot yoga. Watching her share this with others as an instructor is the greatest gift a mother could ever receive.”
On October 4, 2013, Skyler started the Teacher Training Program at Radiant Hot Yoga with eighteen other students all at least twice her age. For 8 weeks, she spent 25 hours every weekend in training while most girls her age were at the beach or shopping at Fashion Island. After completing 200 hours of teacher training, she received her certification from the Yoga Alliance and became the youngest known certified female hot yoga instructor in the United States.
When asked why she wanted to become an instructor, Skyler’s face instantly lights up. “I wanted to get certified not only to teach but also to deepen my own yoga practice and find out more about myself,” she says. “I used to think that hot yoga would make me perfect and over time, what I realized is that it doesn’t. What it does do is make me content with who I am, imperfections and all,” Skyler says with confidence. “But I also love being able to help heal and inspire others. I get such a warm feeling in my heart when I watch people go from being stressed, depressed and anxious to feeling calm, strong and able to deal with everyday life,” she adds with a smile.
As if going to school for 8 hours a day, participating in extracurricular activities such as the Drama club, and practicing, teaching and helping out at her mother’s studio wasn’t enough, Skyler also volunteers as the teacher’s assistant for Corona Del Mar Yoga and teaches two classes a week, and she loves every minute of it.
But what do her friends think, after all, peer pressure for a teenager can be very powerful. The good news is Skyler doesn’t have to sweat it. “My friends have a lot of respect for me because it takes a lot of courage to teach adults,” she says. “I also think that because I am hardworking, ambitious and strong willed by nature, my friends see my teaching as an extension of who I am,” she adds.
So what’s next for Skyler?
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. After watching her mother heal and inspire so many people by creating a sanctuary from the ground up at Radiant, Skyler says that she will continue to teach and plans on owning her own Radiant Hot Yoga franchise one day. But first she has to finish high school.
For more information about Radiant Hot Yoga studio, visit www.radianthotyoga.com or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/radianthotyoga. For more information on the Yoga Alliance and Certification, visit www.yogaalliance.org.
Orange County, 2/27/2014
Today Groupon honored Radiant Hot Yoga as part of its annual Best of Groupon collection, which recognizes local businesses for the popularity of their Groupon campaigns and high levels of customer service.
Best of Groupon merchants span a wide range of geographies and industries, including health and beauty, food and drink and activities-based businesses.
We’re proud to work with Radiant Hot Yoga, and we’re honored to connect our customers with such great merchants who’ve delivered exceptional levels of service. – said Julie Szudarek, senior vice president, Groupon Local Deals.
To check out the latest Groupon offer for Radiant Hot Yoga, please visit: Radiant Hot Yoga Groupon offers.
Those new to hot yoga often have these two questions when considering taking their first Hot Yoga class. Hot yoga originates in the warmer more humid climates of southern India where for centuries yogis have practiced yoga postures in a naturally heated and humid climate. Hot Yoga has hit the western world and to duplicate a warm and humid environment, studios all over the western hemisphere are adding heaters and humidifiers to the yoga experience. After practicing hot yoga for over 10 years, I’ve found that each time I take a class, a new benefit to practicing Hot Yoga is revealed. In fact, there are thousands of reasons to practice yoga and even more to practice Hot Yoga. To simplify, here are 8 top reasons Radiant Hot Yoga adds heat to yoga:
1- Strength: In yoga we use our own body weight as resistance. No need for lifting metal! Yoga offers a low impact way to build muscle strength. In a heated environment, we challenge our bodies as we build muscle strength which brings us to….
2- Cardio: In a Hot Yoga environment your heart will elevate and yes you will burn the same kind of calories you would running a mile. You can expect to burn 700-900 calories in an 80 minute class. As a result, you will boost your metabolism and continue to burn calories outside of your Hot Yoga practice as a result of strength resistance and muscles balancing and contracting in a heated environment.
3- Flexibility: Hot Yoga is not about being flexible and it is not a prerequisite. However, in practice you will gain more flexibility in time. The heat allows you to safely reach new levels of flexibility as your muscles, joints and ligaments are warmed up within minutes of entering the hot room.
4- Breath: I like to call the breath “your most valuable tool” in your yoga practice. Learning to control and concentrate on the breath will not only send the oxygen needed to your muscles but also to your brain to help you relax and meditate in challenging postures. And guess what? The Yogi breath will help you relax and meditate in challenging positions you find yourself in off the mat as well. You won’t make it through life not breathing and this certainly is true of Hot Yoga. Breathe deeply………
5- Detox: In a heated environment our muscles, glands and organs are detoxing which means releasing (through sweat) the things our body does not need. Hot Yoga accelerates the detoxing process and you will leave the class feeling purified and cleansed.
6- Concentration: In the Hot Yoga room, you are stepping into a secluded, safe environment where you can leave your worries and troubles outside. The heat will help you concentrate of healing your body and listening to you body. You will never be so aware with what your body and mind needs!
7- Healing: Adding heat to yoga provides a therapeutic environment where past injuries can be healed and new injures prevented. In addition, Hot Yoga has shown significant improvements in asthma, high blood pressure, stress levels, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and obesity.
8- Back pain: Strengthening the spine is a key focus of each yoga posture. We call the spine, the “Life Line” to which all is connected. Without a healthy, flexible and strong spine, nothing else matters. A regular practice of Hot Yoga will alleviate back pain and prevent you from the need to take pain medications, live at the Chiropractor’s office and getting back massage after back massage. You will now be in charge of the health of your back!
Now for the second question…How hot is HOT?
At Radiant Hot Yoga, we like to keep the temperature between 102 and 105 degrees. You body will acclimate to this kind of heat faster then you can imagine if you are consistent in your practice. Once you have acclimated to Hot Yoga (usually takes about 5 classes), you will become what we call a “Heat Seeker” and you won’t be able to turn back….
See you on your mat at Radiant Hot Yoga in 2013!!!!
Author: Lisa Ashton