Featuring La-Shonda Spencer from the US

Monday, 31 August 2020

Interview of La-Shonda Spencer
by Justine of Just Yoga

Name: La-Shonda Spencer
Age: 30s
Location: Alabama, Vestavia Hills, United States
Current Profession: Shipt Shopper, Yoga instructor, and Doula

How and when did your journey with yoga start? 

I started yoga five years ago because I wanted to run a 5 km race and my hamstrings were very tight. My trainer suggested I try yoga and though he was crazy because I didn’t see anyone my size doing yoga but I said 'ok, I’ll start it'. Little did I know, how much a part of my life it would become. I graduated from Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in July 2019 from Vulcan Yoga Teacher Training. I am currently teaching at a studio in Birmingham called Abundance Yoga and will be starting virtual classes as well.

How has yoga changed your life? 

Yoga has changed my life in so many ways. Of course with my physical body in that my calves are now less tight; but also my mental self in that I am more confident and sure of myself. I was very nervous with the journey of being a teacher but my instructor cheered me on and this reinforced my confidence in my abilities.

Has it had an impact on your health in any way? 

I am more flexible and my body just feels so much better than it did before yoga.

What are your favourite poses and why? 

My favourite poses are Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined butterfly pose) because it makes me feel so vulnerable and open; Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel) I like that one because I worked up to do it. I started with blocks, then my instructor ankles, and was able to push myself up; Navasana (boat pose) I will say it’s a love/hate relationship, if I’m in a class and this posture comes up you will hear me laugh.

Do you have any existing injuries and does it affect your yoga practice? 

I don’t have any injuries but I found out earlier this year that I am hyper mobile in my lower region so I had to go to physical therapy. I was having lower back issues. My physiotherapist told me that I need to use my core in yoga practice because if I don’t I can hurt myself. For my practice, I make sure I am aware and inform my teacher to watch me as well. I also use props and modifications that help me better my practice of yoga.

What posed have you found the most challenging and how did you overcome it? 

My most challenging poses are Sirsasana (headstand) and Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (extended hand to big toe). Headstand is challenging because I don’t trust myself fully and I need to use my core to do it. I overcome it by practicing at home or using the wall to help me balance and give me a sense of control. Extended hand to big toe pose because I don’t have any balance so how I overcome it is by modifying it and when I teach it, I joke with my students to make them feel comfortable.

What has been some of the most interesting things that yoga has taught you about yourself and life? 

Yoga has taught me to believe myself. It has showed me that yes I can do yoga with props and modifications. It has taught me to embrace gratitude about my weaknesses I have in yoga and help other become strong in it.

Would you recommend yoga to someone? 

I recommend yoga to everyone I see lol. I tell people the benefits of yoga and you can use props and modifications to do it.

When do you practice yoga and how often? 

I practice yoga at home or I’ll go to a studio at least 1-2 times a week. I sometimes struggle to find the time to fit yoga in my schedule but its rare. Now I can do it virtually from another instructor.

Does your family support your yoga journey? 

Yes my family does support me. Some are asking me to do videos so they can do it especially my family that lives in England. My mom and I both started together because a physiotherapist she worked with suggested she tries it. She’s been doing it for five years as well.

Has yoga helped during the lockdown? 

Yes it has because I can practice on my own or was able to practice with my instructor.

Personal message:

I want people to know that their body is a yoga body. They can do yoga by doing modifications and using props. The most important thing is to listen to your body, it will not steer you wrong.

1 comment

  1. La-Shonda, you are an inspiration. You took a chance and now look what you're doing. We look forward to your Zoom Yoga class here in the UK. We are so very proud of you.😊


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