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Townie Profiles – Peter & Marina

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By Tracy Billows | owner, teacher

For the first time, we’re featuring a couple for Townie Tuesday! If you’re an early bird at Stittsville, you have definitely come across Peter and Marina – two of the kindest, most relaxed people we have met.

Back in 2014, Marina found Yogatown after attending a Friday night Karma class. It wasn’t long after that when she brought her husband Peter along for a yoga basics workshop which got them hooked on Yogatown.

Since her yoga debut in 2014, Marina has attended 1,166 classes, logging in over 1,200 hours of yoga. Peter has one of the absolute best attendance records out of any client. In the past 5 years he’s logged almost 1,700 yoga classes – that’s almost 1,800 hours of classes. For those of you doing the math, that’s around 340 classes every year!!

They don’t just stick to yoga classes either. They’ve attended Run Clubs, Inversion workshops, meditation sessions and more. It’s been a true honour to be the studio that Peter and Marina have embraced for their yoga practice.

We asked Peter and Marina to share a little about their time at Yogatown:

Why did you start doing yoga?

Marina: I started doing yoga as exercise routine for the fitness purpose. I always loved power yoga and admired Miss Fitness competitions. When I started practising Bikram yoga I was not interested in philosophy and hoped to avoid a mental aspect of yoga.

Peter: Coming to yoga wasn’t exactly straightforward for me. I stopped running half-marathons due to the knee injury and I wanted to find something else to do. One day, being extremely skeptical about doing yoga but having being asked by my wife at least several times per week to try it I decided to do it. At least it seemed that if I did it once I would have the reasonable excuse not to do it anymore.  Even the highly anticipated suffering of attending one class didn’t seem too much price compared to my everyday’s torture of being asked the same question “Why not try yoga?”
As a result, I found myself in one of introductory classes at Yogatown.  To my surprise (thinking that I was physically fit) I realized that I couldn’t do most of asanas offered by yoga teachers present in that class.  So I tried it again and again enjoying the practice more and more with every day.

What’s the yoga accomplishment you’re most proud of?

Peter: I think that the most serious accomplishment in my  yoga practice is the slowly but steadily developing this ability to hear what I am asked to do in a class. In my case I passed through several stages starting from just copying what others around me were doing to trying to do even more than was suggested.  I hope that now my ability to slow down, pace myself and understand the purpose of each asana has slightly improved.

Marina: Four years ago it was all about advanced yoga poses like tripod or headstand. My approaches were, as it is often suggested in Bikram Yoga classes, “to go beyond my flexibility” and “hold-hold-hold-hold-hold”.
But today yoga helps me to find out who I am now and change myself in the right direction with patience and love. I do not need tripod or headstand (although it is nice to be able to do  them), but what I really need yoga for is for developing patience, discipline, acceptance, gratitude and balanced life. 

Why Yogatown?

Marina: Six years ago I was practising Bikram yoga. After they closed 6 AM classes I started looking for kind of yoga as taught as Bikram yoga. I tried several studios and selected Yogatown for challenging classes, friendly  environment, beautiful interiors (change room and showers are awesome), plenty of parking space, 6 AM classes, proximity to my home.

Peter: Just for the sake of my own interest I practiced yoga in several yoga studios around Ottawa including Yogatown, Bikram, Pranashanti, Rama Lotus, Pure Yoga, Movati and Moksha Yoga. I am still attending workshops or taking classes from time to time in some of those studious.

Every one of us doing yoga is different. I found that Yogatown offers the best kind of practice for me. The variety of styles is great; the team of teachers and support staff is amazing. Sometimes I feel turned apart deciding which class to attend.

On the practical side of things Yogatown can justifiably boast the best parking experience (at Stittsville location) , the best studio design including change rooms.  And of course living practically next door to the studio makes a big difference.

What does the word Townie mean to you?

Peter: A picture of yoga bodies spread all over the floor after some classes is worth a thousand words. Steam, or maybe outlines of Energy Body, are still visible around everyone. Those are Townies, people with perseverance and dedication to yoga. It is so rewarding to be one of them.

Marina: They are my neighbours, friends and comrades.  If I am going to “die” in the class, at least 20 other people are ready to “die” along with me. When I am thinking if I should get up at 4:30AM to attend my 6 AM class I remember my friend who drives 40 minutes from Manotick to this class and then I feel myself so lucky to live nearby.

We believe that yoga is about so much more than being bendy. What does yoga mean to you and how has it changed since you started?

Peter: I found myself being able to think and to breathe before jumping to conclusions or acting on impulse.  It also confirmed by beliefs that if something cannot be accomplished right away, then your goal can be reached by following smaller steps. And quite often you realize that not the goal by itself but rather the process of reaching it was what you enjoyed most.  The yoga practice is great at teaching these seemingly simple things.

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