Grateful, thankful, blessed. Through yoga, I find inner peace.
I was introduced to yoga and meditation in 1999 by a Romanian ex-boyfriend. He was kind, mature and patient, something I was lacking of in my early twenties. Through him, I learnt about Paramahansa Yogananda, who is widely revered as the father of Yoga in the West. After two years of dating, we broke up. Before we went our own separate ways, he’d told me, “I think the reason why I met you was to introduce you to yoga and meditation”. This has stuck with me and I haven’t forgotten it since.
It was not until three years later, that I signed up for my first yoga class at Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary in Pasadena, founded by Naader Shagagi, who was a student of previously-mentioned Yoga Master, Paramahansa Yogananda, and the Sufi Mystic, Pir Inayat Khan. Their signature yoga is called Curative Yoga — which helps cure illnesses — is based on Hatha Yoga and incorporates a specific series of asanas (poses), breathing techniques and a short meditation session. I left the class feeling refreshed and calm. Soon after, I decided to end my gym membership and solely practiced yoga. My yoga journey has begun.
After several months of practicing yoga, my upper back started to open up. Gone are the slouchy posture and knots on my shoulder, from years of studying and computer work. My leg muscles became stronger, whereas before I barely used my legs, since my job had me sitting down throughout the day. I became increasingly more flexible and the best thing was that I did not get sick easily, thanks to a stronger immune system.
Yoga also changed the way I view life in terms of being more positive, patient, forgiving and calmer in general. I noticed this when bad traffic did not manage to ruin my day! If someone spilled a drink on my new dress, I wouldn’t freak out and let it spoil my night out. I grew to be more accepting and most importantly: I “allowed” myself to move on.
After 6 years of yoga under the guidance of Naader, I decided to explore other yoga teachers. I studied Mark Blanchard’s Power Yoga, a strong-flow vinyasa style yoga and loved it. In 2013, I became a member at YogaWorks, and have been practicing alignment-based vinyasa-style yoga. Since then, my passion for yoga has become stronger. Thanks to yoga, I strongly feel that my dharma (purpose) is to pay it forward: by helping other people through teaching yoga.
I completed my 200-hour teacher training in 2015 at YogaWorks under the instruction of Carolina Goldberg. I’m in the process of completing my 300-hour training, with Carolina as my mentor. I chose YogaWorks because of its excellent reputation as the industry world leader in yoga teacher training.
Today I have taught a few private clients, close friends and family members. My target audience is working professionals, because I understand the pressure of being one. I honestly believe that working professionals could benefit from yoga to balance out the stress of their work and work more efficiently. I’m a firm believer that in order to do well in one’s job, whatever it may be, we must take care of ourselves first. It would be a dream come true to see organizations integrate yoga as a part of their wellness program! I myself have developed yoga sequences for beginners, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, low back pain, stress relief, posture correction, and chair exercises to practice any time, and am excited to share them.
In late 2015, I started practicing the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series, led by Jodi Blumstein. I personally find this practice to be challenging, due to its demanding poses. Still, I continue my practice daily and diligently. It’s been completely worth it, for it has given me more stamina, endurance and even my breathing has become deeper.
To really grasp what yoga can do, you need to experience it yourself. Yoga is something you learn by doing. Yoga is not a remedy for all diseases in the world, but it is indeed a powerful medicine for the body, mind and spirit. Above all, yoga is a path. The longer you stay with it and the more heart you put into the journey, the further it can take you. I’m forever grateful for my yoga journey. I hope to inspire you to discover your full potential and live a more positive, happy, peaceful life.
Henny Hendra graduated with a B.S degree in Food Science from UC Davis. She worked at world headquarters of Dole Food Company in Westlake Village from 1997 to 2000.
Following that, Henny furthered her studies by majoring in Computer Programming at UCLA Extension and pursued a career in Web Development, which landed her a job at Disney Internet Group for a few years.
In 2004, she started her own e-commerce business, an online vegan retail store, which she co-owned for 10 years. After selling the company in 2014, Henny decided to pursue a career in yoga.
YRS OF YOGA PRACTICE
HOURS OF TEACHER TRAINING
DAYS OF ASHTANGA PRACTICE
COUNTLESS OF GRATITUDE