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.