Our Top Yoga Blogs directory is full of inspiring and original yogis, all sharing their love with us through their yoga journey. We thought they could use a bit of love from us, too, so we're featuring one of our top bloggers each month in a Q&A style. This month we interviewed Rachel Koontz of Alive in the Fire. Here's what she had to say.
Yogapedia: What brought you to yoga?
Rachel: In my college years, I found yoga as a way to reduce stress and anxiety. It felt so good to breathe, to move and sweat, to slow down during savasana, and to make friends at the studio where I practiced. It didn’t take long before I was hooked!
Yogapedia: Why do you continue to do yoga?
Rachel: My yoga practice continues to be such a grounding, healing part of my life. Yoga helps me live in my body—to feel, and lovingly accept, my body—and to check in with my breath, to notice any aches or pains or imbalances, and to keep flexibility in my spine. Asana practice brings me energy and helps me to feel strong and balanced, and pranayama brings a sense of calm. Off the mat, yoga helps me live in a mindful way. It informs the way I work, the way I speak to and connect with others, how I nourish myself, what I spend my time doing. It’s been amazing in recent years to apply the yogic principles to more than just the poses, and see how that improves all areas of my life. Yoga is a lifelong journey and I’m so grateful to be on this path.
Yogapedia: Why do you blog about yoga?
Rachel: Writing, like yoga, helps me process things in my life. My blog has become a space where I can reflect on my own practice and ask big questions; it's very therapeutic. It's also a space where I can share my passion with others and connect with yogis both in my local community and around the world.
(If you're also interested in asking and answering big questions, try Who Am I? Philosophy Behind This Big Question and How to Answer It.)
Yogapedia: What’s unique about your blog?
Rachel: The Sponsored Yogis program is unique to Alive in the Fire. This seva project is a way of building community and paying forward all of the generosity I’ve experienced with my blogging endeavors. After I became a teacher, I wanted to find a way to support other up-and-coming teachers who I knew were experiencing some of the same struggles I had, so I created sponsorships. Adding members to my team has been such an eye-opening and inspiring process, and I love that I can share more perspectives and ideas as a result of creating the program.
Yogapedia: What is your most popular post and why?
Rachel: My post about memorizing Vinyasa flow sequences has been a popular one, I think because it’s useful to new teachers.
(More on The Power of Vinyasa.)
Yogapedia: Do you have a favorite go-to pose? Why does it resonate with you?
Rachel: Ooh, that’s always a tough question because it constantly changes! Right now two of my favorite poses to practice are down dog and headstand. Both bring me immediately to a space of surrender and presence. In down dog, it just feels glorious to stretch my legs and find spinal extension, especially if I’m feeling tired. Headstand makes me feel badass and strong and playful, which I love. It helps me remember to have fun and stay lighthearted even if I’m going through a challenge.
Yogapedia: What has yoga brought to your life?
Rachel: Yoga has brought me peace, clarity and healing. It is like Dharma Mittra says:
“It is when we are quiet that we begin to see everything with love.”
That is the embodiment of yoga—slowing down and becoming quiet, so that we can generate a sense of compassion for everything around us. Moving from that space, both on and off the mat.
Yogapedia: What yoga lessons do you still consider a work in progress?
Rachel: My practice constantly reminds me to release attachment to outcomes, to be true to myself, to speak with intention and clarity, and to stay focused. I will always be a work in progress, and I’m so grateful that yoga has helped me accept that and to embrace it.
Yogapedia: If you had to give one tip about living the yoga life, what would it be?
Rachel: Dedication! Be dedicated to your practice and you will be amazed at the growth you experience. The most important thing is just to show up and do the work.
(You can subscribe to Rachel's blog at aliveinthefire.com.)
Rachel Koontz is a blogger and yoga teacher from northern California. She writes Alive in the Fire, an award-winning lifestyle blog about yoga and mindfulness. Off the mat, Rachel enjoys hiking, running, waking up early, going for adventures with her dog, exploring northern California, and spending time with family and friends.