Introduction: Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
Ahhh, so much to share! Let’s start from the very beginning. I was born and raised in Toronto to Lebanese immigrants who moved to Canada for a better future for their children. While I am forever proud of my Lebanese roots, my heart will always consider Canada to be my one true home. I’ve had the blessing of growing up in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and I am forever grateful for the diversity I have been exposed to since birth. My yoga journey began exactly 10 years ago (keep reading to find out how!), and I can honestly say that I can never imagine my life without a regular practice.
How and why did you start yoga?
I stumbled upon yoga back in 2009, when my boss at the time, asked me if I would like to take her spot in a class being held over lunch hour. How can I say no? The rest is history. That was the beginning of what I now consider to be a fundamental staple to my everyday life. After joining a local studio, I fell in love with how the practice made me feel. The time spent on my mat taught me about myself in so many ways. First, I discovered new capabilities within my physical body. Moving my body in ways I never had before. Then I discovered my breath. Cycling my breath with such consciousness, that I actually remember the moment that I paused to acknowledge this lifeforce that I never paid much attention to up until I discovered this practice. Then the practice taught me discipline, patience and kindness, as I moved through rigorous asana practices. Losing my balance several times, or not being able to reach the ‘full depth’ of a posture. Eventually, those characteristics stayed with me when I stepped off my mat, and that’s when I realized what a profound impact this practice was having on my life. My body and mind became supple, yet incredibly strong, allowing me to calmly face whatever challenges life was throwing my way.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
I completed my first yoga teacher training at BeHot Yoga Toronto. I had been practicing at this space for about 5 years before deciding to take the leap and enrol in yoga teacher training. There are so many mentors I have been blessed with in this space, but there are two in particular that really helped me break out of my cocoon and encouraged me to fly. Paul McQuillan and Winny Clarke. They both fill the space with such beautiful welcoming energy and have a knack for drawing out talents that I didn’t even know I possess. It took some time for me to fly on my own, but they both supported me along the whole journey, and now I can’t stop fluttering my wings!!
When I decided to attend Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India, it was because I wanted to dive deeper into the spiritual side of yoga. I wanted to learn the deep history straight from the source, and I am so happy that I gifted myself with that experience. Pankaj, Deepak, Telissa and Kusshal have each strengthened my roots in this practice with their endless amounts of knowledge and wisdom.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
This is a tough one to answer! Over the course of 10 years, my preferred practice style has definitely evolved. I went from only enjoying rigorous fast paced practices at the beginning, to now being IN LOVE with a slow, steady and incredibly mindful practice. It may surprise some that the latter is actually far more challenging, both physically and mentally. My number one priority whenever I practice or teach, is connection. Finding that mind/body/spirit connection is what yoga is all about. After all, the word ‘yoga’ itself means ‘union’. And I truly believe that the path to finding that union begins with connecting to your breath throughout your practice. Marrying controlled movement with controlled breath. That is what allows me to disconnect from the external and connect to the internal.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Lack of self-love and low self-esteem have been obliterated with the help of a regular practice.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
My mat is where I can just ‘be’. A place to honour and accept myself, from the inside out.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
I was at a place in my life where I was craving meaning and purpose. I wanted to do something that made a difference in the lives of others. Teaching yoga spoke to me because it provided the opportunity to give to others what the practice has given me. My sole purpose when it comes to teaching is to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
The connections I forge with students melts my heart into a big mushy pile of love. When a student goes out of their way to tell me they really enjoyed the class, or that they came to a new place in their practice because of something I said or did, my heart overflows with happiness and joy.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
While technology advancements make us feel like we are more connected than ever, we’ve never been more disconnected. We often find ourselves spending more time staring into a screen than into someone’s actual eyes. Yoga provides the opportunity to disconnect from the material world and shift our focus inwards and reconnect with our true purpose on this planet – to love.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
Oh so important! Listen to your body, just as you do on your mat, and provide it with the nourishment it needs to rest and recover. I truly believe you can never go wrong with foods that we consume in the same form as they grow from the earth. Whole, delicious and nutritious!
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins that you recommend? And why?
Vitamin D! Living in Canada where we often experience long winters that lack sunlight, vitamin D supplements are a must to make up for what can otherwise be absorbed from regular sunlight. And coconut oil, for everything! I use it for cooking, moisturizing skin, repairing hair, oil pulling … you name it! It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory!
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
Our bodies are approximately 60% water, so staying hydrated is incredibly important to maintain good overall health. Especially when practicing yoga regularly, as we can lose a fair amount of fluid through sweat and we need to be sure to replenish!
Your favorite quote?
Nothing is impossible. The word itself reads ‘I’m possible’.
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc
Facebook - Christine Hobeika
Instagram - @christinehobeika
Anything else you want to share?
Spread love and light <3