FEACH-A TEACH-A: LENA RAKIJIAN

IMG_3373_copyWhere are you from and how long have you been in Boston?
I was born and raised in Carlsbad, CA, a small beachy town in San Diego. I switched coasts and moved to NYC in 2011 to attend grad school. After graduating, I moved to Boston in summer of 2013!

What was your first yoga class like?
I was at home in San Diego when I decided to drag my brother to a yoga studio by the beach. I said to myself, "I'm an athlete, how hard can it be?" Well it was hard. I left thinking, "My uncoordinated younger brother is better at yoga than I am. This isn't for me." It took 3 1/2 years for me to get back on a mat. I took a class at CCY and discovered my yoga practice for the first time. The rest is history!

What’s your favorite pose to teach?
I love arm balances and inversions, any pose where you have to trust yourself wholeheartedly. I teach my students that these shapes are not about the final pose. Rather, they are about how you breath, focus, and feel along the way. When we let go of expectations and embrace the feeling within a pose, we create a shape that feels good in our body. We give ourselves space to discover what a pose is supposed to feel like rather than what it is supposed to look like. Breathe first, feel the shape, the rest will follow.

As a practitioner, what pose makes you cringe?
HA! Easy pick...Upavistha Konasana and Hanumanasana. When I was 5 years old, my ballet teacher propped me up against a wall and forced me into a side split. I still cry when i think about that split.

Where can we find you when you’re off your mat?
Off the mat, I'm a Registered Dietitian and have my own nutrition practice, Backbeet Nutrition. I also teach indoor cycling classes at The Handle Bar. When I'm not talking nutrition or making people sweat, I'm usually eating, researching music, napping, drinking coffee, creating playlists, and catching up on episodes of The Bachelor......I know, I know.

What’s your favorite or the most random song on your class playlist right now?
My favorite song right now on my yoga playlist is "Breathing Underwater" by Emeli Sande. FEELS.