Yoga has the profound ability to change not only one’s body but one’s mind and life. That may seem like a radical statement, yet it holds true… if we pay close attention to the subtle things, such as alignment and breath and intention.
For example, I like to think of yoga on the mat in the studio as an ‘experiment’ of sorts. The ‘real’ yoga mat is every step I take when I leave the room and involves all of my interactions thereafter. For example, will I remember to breathe deeply when in traffic? Can I choose to respond instead of react in a disagreement with a friend? Can I be gentler with myself and less judgmental? Can I move and flow through life with a sense of grace, flexibility, openheartedness, and strength?
According to Patanjali, the science of yoga is actually a practice of stilling the mind. The physical postures we practice (asana) serve as an opportunity to cleanse, tonify, detoxify, and condition the physical body so one may be able to meditate without distraction. According to yoga philosophy, we are made up of several different layers. For example, you can’t see your thoughts, but they’re real all right!
Understanding the deeper layers of yoga serves as a powerful foundation for creating one’s life in a way that one is able to discover purpose, meaning, and joy behind everything… even the challenges.
Hot 8 Foundations is a rare and special opportunity to dive deeper into yoga, which is essentially a deeper discovery of all dimensions of YOU
- Shayna Hiller
1. What is something most people don't know about you
Growing up and still today, my mother is a choreographer and a father is a world famous magician. I always knew it was unique, but as I age I realize what a bizarre and odd environment that was growing up in. So I guess it makes sense that I became an actor, filmmaker, and yoga instructor.
Something else people may not know is that I am a master at Jeopardy. Seriously. Anybody who wants a challenge, I have several new episodes on the DVR ready to go.
2. Where do you find inspiration?
Working in entertainment, it is such a challenge and an uphill battle. Perseverance and hard work during tough times is absolutely key. For the past 6 years in the yoga room, I've gotten to see people in those tough moments all the time; those small moments where there is every good reason to quit, but they push a bit harder, breathe a bit deeper, pause a bit longer, listen to their bodies and maybe rest a bit longer. Sometimes it's not so visible, and I'm able to share with students their emotional breakthroughs as well. Seeing so many people persevere, break through, and bust their own ass to better themselves, it's such an inspiration and drive that for my own life, I have no reason not to work my very hardest all the time, and never quit.
3. What is the strangest thing you have experienced in a yoga class?
Racking by brain for this answer was tough. I've had plenty of odd things happen; fire alarms going off (drills and not drills), lights/music/heat going out, farts, burps, students randomly blurting out frustrations towards themselves or me (one time this lady randomly began to tell me how she didn't need to hear my adjustments and that she's been doing fitness videos since the 80s and that she doesn't need me. that was entertaining). Overall though, I say bring on the strangeness. Bring on the oddities. What a gift when life adds to your yoga experience something to throw you off and challenge you even more. I love incorporating it into the practice. Lights out? Don't need em. Heat gone? Don't need it. People making noises? Unless that sound wave is so strong its going to knock you over, then you're the one in charge of whether you let it bother you or not. In real life outside the yoga room, things get crazy. The most yogic term I can come up with is, shit happens. Shit happens everywhere, every day, and we can't control it all. So, invite strange. Invite odd. Invite uncomfortable. And whether you get to class once a day or once a year, that's your golden time to practice how you're going to be able to manage strange when it happens in the real world.
4. What do you enjoy about teaching at Hot 8 Yoga?
Yoga has been an incredible journey for me. Beginning at Yoga to the People in NY, I was able to dive in and teach right away. When I got to LA, I was able to dive right in to Hot 8 since day 1 (okay Vince, day 21.). But, over the years, over 2000 classes, leading teacher trainings, workshops, lectures, over 20,000 faces, you'd think that things can get stale. It's quite the contrary. What a gift it is to walk into that room and be able to learn every single time. To take class and to steal from such wonderful teachers. To find new ways to challenge myself so I can be better and therefore my students can make themselves better. Hot 8 doesn't give me guidelines, they don't try to tell me how to run things. They have faith in my experience and my abilities and that gives me the confidence to do what I do, and each time try to do it better than the last.
It is such an honor and gift to teach at Hot 8. My philosophy stems from my roots at YTTP; as the teacher, I want to remain faceless and nameless. A mere billboard on the students journey towards where they'd like to be. I continue to find ways to challenge and reinvent myself so that I am a mere tool the students can use, steal from, and allow them to be the creators of their own path to greatness. Hot 8 allows me to do that, it allows every teacher to be themselves, and in turn gives the students limitless opportunities to find whatever yoga they want
I've noticed yogis new to their practice and yogis further along in their practice so excited and eager to get upside and do cool inversions. I've also noticed the same yogis clam up and quiet their souls to fear. The fear of falling holds many back from growing and manifesting true goals and dreams. Truth is we all fall or will fall, so how do you get back up? You find the fun in bouncing back and playing again. Regardless of any level you're currently at, I make each moment enjoyable as possible and accessible for all bodies. Challenge yourself to break past your limitations. Challenge yourself to strengthen your body. Get out of your head and move more into your body. Yes we all have weaknesses in certain areas, which is why you practice to get stronger. With Heart Openers and Big Bear Hugs I welcome you to come play, explore, and prosper through your yogi soul and heart. My student Kai shared his wonderful words with me:
"Whether new to yoga or older than cassette Walkmans, Cornelius Jones will find a way to challenge you so that your practice will never become predictable or easy, but remains ever engaging, refreshening, and a channel toward self-discovery." -Kai, Hot8 Yoga student
Physical fitness has always been a part of my life. I played many sports as a kid and studied dance as a teenager. I know how certain environments are intimidating and competitive, which is the nature of most sports and fitness spaces. I've always excelled in spaces that were more welcoming. I create spaces that may break you down physically, but will always build you up mentally, and strengthen your joints, muscles, and core! Use the safe space to flow & grow. Community, motivation, slamming music, work hard, play harder & let me UPgrade (or UPGr8 or Eleva8 or ) your Flow.
- Cornelius Jones, Jr.