Christina Ionno

Christina Ionno

Christina Ionno
200-hour Yoga Teacher Training
Level 2 Reiki Practitioner
Intuitive Tarot Reader
Brooklyn, NY

Introduction: Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.

I was born and raised in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. I was an active kid. I loved playing basketball, soccer and I was on the track and field team. Running made me feel free. I was quite shy growing up, but group activities helped crack that shell. I’ve always been drawn to the arts. I wrote poetry, song lyrics, loved to draw, paint, read and philosophize about life. These were the outlets for my mind and imagination. Music has always been a passion at the forefront of my life.

I was discovered by a model scout at a young age and began working as a model in my teenage years and soon thereafter began traveling the world. I spent time based extensively throughout Asia and Europe, eventually ending up in New York which is now my home and where I’ve been based for the most part of the last 11 years. Naturally by working in an industry where you’re encouraged to look healthy and toned I had developed good habits to stay fit, but there were many factors of the job that were wearing me down mentally and emotionally. I began to seek ways to ease some of the stress and that is when my love of yoga and spiritual journey truly began.

How and why did you start yoga?

A desire for a deeper connection between physical and mental aspects piqued my interest in trying yoga. When I moved to NY I had been primarily training at a boxing studio, which was incredible for releasing my anxiety at the time, but I felt something was missing. I began taking yoga classes at various studios throughout Manhattan. I quickly noticed the correlation between aligning your breath with movement to become fully present, focused and aware. The energetic ‘high’ I felt after practicing yoga was incomparable. Yoga became a way of life for me, something to infuse into every aspect of my life. A way to be the best version of myself, for myself and others. After a decade of practicing yoga at numerous studios around the world I’d then discovered Three Jewels studio in the East Village last November and that changed everything for me. I wanted to understand and learn how and why this beautiful practice can make one feel so enlightened. I was going through a difficult time in my life and knew it was time for a change. I jumped at the opportunity to take a deep dive into the world of yoga by signing up for the Three Jewels 200-hour yoga teacher training. It was an incredibly transformative journey not only studying asana but Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, meditation, Sanskrit, daily practice and vows. It all came so naturally to me, like a dance I’d learned in a past life.

Who has been your great mentor/teacher?

Allison Joy Phillips and Coco Korniczky I am forever grateful to have had the honor to learn alongside during my training. Michael Hewett for expanding my insight and experiences in the yogic arts. Hector Marcel for his vast knowledge and joyful demeanor.

Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?

I truly love practicing all styles of yoga but Ashtanga (The 8 limbs of yoga) is my method of choice. Ashtanga is the method I studied in my teacher training. It's a combination of moral discipline, observances, asana, breath work, concentration and meditation. When teaching a class I bring my own creative vinyasa flavor to the flow. I love when music is infused into sequences - as an aspiring DJ I love curating an amazing playlist to set the tone for the class. The choreography aspect of linking the postures and sound together is a lot fun and really helps you get lost in the flow.

What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?

Anxiety, depression, heartbreak, stress, fear, addiction...Yoga is what keeps me balanced. 

What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?

That this practice will set the tone for my day. I’ve made it to the mat and immediately rejoice in that. No matter what else is going on in my life I know that within that hour or so of practice I will finish feeling stronger mentally, physically and emotionally.

When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?

I think it really started to resonate with me during my teacher training. Prior to signing up I had a calling that became clear that I can really help people and even help myself in the process.  I found my voice in the training and my confidence as a teacher grew. I learned so much about yoga, a practice I’ve loved for so long, and I want to share what I know with everyone and hope it can help them the way it’s helped me.

What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?

The positive effect it has to empower others. I get joy from seeing students leave a class more centered and elated.

Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?

The work you put in by living a yogic lifestyle and practicing every day (even if it’s just a little) without gaps puts one in the state of mind to live a purposeful and meaningful life. Qualities such as patience, mindfulness, a healthy body and mindset can benefit each and every one of us. When we’re less reactive to our situations it leaves space to handle whatever comes your way in a calm, well-thought out manner.

How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?

Very important! I studied Ayurveda (the science of yoga) and eating for your dosha type can be helpful in balancing your constitution. Listen to your body and what it needs, it’s all about balance. Eating a plant-based diet is helpful, but don’t feel guilty about treating yourself. Eating should be fun, not a chore. It’s fuel for your body, mind and overall well-being. 

Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins (example: chlorophyll, Vitamin b12) that you recommend? And why?

I recommend vitamin b12 in the morning, especially if you’re a vegetarian/vegan. It’s an important supplement for energy. Magnesium is great for relaxation, digestion and muscle pain. I recommend taking this in the evening, perhaps with calcium and zinc for proper absorption. I enjoy putting mint chlorophyll in my water three times a day. *Chlorophyll Water* makes getting in all of your nutrients that much easier! :)

How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?

Drinking water and staying hydrated is essential for everyone, but particularly if you’re living an active lifestyle. Purifying the body aids in purifying the mind. Starting your day with some warm lemon water helps to flush out toxins and rehydrate after a night’s sleep. During your yoga asana practice it’s advised to not drink any fluids as it may inhibit the inner fire created through your flow and can even feel somewhat uncomfortable during practice. Small sips of water during practice is fine if necessary, but I suggest hydrating 30 minutes - 1 hour prior and definitely nourish yourself with plenty of water after practice and throughout your day.  

Your favorite quote?

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” - Norman Vincent Peale

Where we can we find you practicing/teaching/training?

I enjoy practicing at Yes studio, Three Jewels, Y7, Humming Puppy, Laughing Lotus, amongst others. I’ve deepened my practice by training at Vessel Academy with modules focusing on Tantra, Ayurveda/Astrology and Astral Anatomy. I look forward to finding my place in the yoga community as a teacher soon and will continue the next step of my yoga training this year. I am currently available for private or group sessions for hire. Excited to see you all on the mat!

Instagram: @chrissyionno