Catching up with Alana Bray, owner of Yoga Bound in CarlsbadERIN LEHN FLORESCA
Most of the people we know have one thing in common—we never learned how to move in a way that is healthy for our bodies. In fact, for many of us, our daily, habitual patterns actually do more harm than good. “Depending on the ergonomics of your life, many of your movements could be gradually progressing into a stress injury,” explains Alana Bray, owner of Yoga Bound in Carlsbad, California. “That is, unless somewhere along the way you learned how to live inside your body and move with the proper mechanics.”
And that is exactly what Bray did years ago when she received her Yoga Therapy training at the Loyola Marymount University Yoga Therapy Rx program. In this program, Bray studied under Sherry Brourman, an internationally-known physical and yoga therapist and author of the book Walk Yourself Well. “We learned how to walk properly and to use the way we walk as a healing method,” says Bray. “We also learned how to do the same with yoga movements.” Bray also assisted Brourman with yoga therapy classes in Los Angeles. “The classes were mostly filled with people who had major injuries or who were recovering from surgery. I learned about all of the potential movements that people do throughout the day and how to analyze a person’s gait,” recalls Bray. “Through yoga, I was then able to teach students how to live inside their bodies with more awareness.”
“It’s a very holistic way of thinking about our bodies,” says Bray, who knows the healing power of yoga therapy firsthand. Bray’s passion for teaching yoga therapy was ignited soon after her own yoga injury. “I sustained a shoulder and back injury while doing yoga,” she recalls. “And, naturally, I looked to yoga to heal myself.”
The healing power of yoga doesn’t end with the movements, though. The healing breath combined with yoga postures further increases the body’s natural healing capabilities. “If you are breathing in a way that is symmetrical, and consists of long, flowing, deep breaths you engage the parasympathetic nervous system which is a very healing state,” says Bray. Yet most people, according to Bray, are shallow breathers. “Movement that doesn’t incorporate proper breathing doesn’t open the body up to healing,” says Bray. “And that is what is so beautiful about yoga. It is a very healing modality that touches everything.”
Those who take Bray’s classes at Yoga Bound will find that she is very committed to teaching people to be accountable for how they move and live. “I teach my students how to stabilize their bodies and stay connected and present,” she affirms. In fact, all of the teachers at Yoga Bound are focused on teaching “conscious movement”. “All of our yoga students learn proper movement techniques,” says Bray. “It’s not just movement for the sake of movement. We teach you how to live inside your body and be in the moment.”
Not only do the students learn how to be present in their bodies, but they get the opportunity to do so in a welcoming, homey environment—a darling old cottage that was converted into the studio. “We’re a very caring community,” says Bray. “We all support one another. We want our students to feel safe and relaxed when they come here and to know that they are an integral part of the Yoga Bound family.”
There are classes for all levels at Yoga Bound. Vinyasa classes Levels (1-2/3) are offered several times daily, along with Yoga Therapy classes five times per week. “The Yoga Therapy classes are tailored to each student’s specific injury,” says Bray. “It’s an intelligent class where we get the chance to support an injury, rather than aggravate it.”
Yoga Bound also offers a mini Yoga Therapy program geared toward other yoga instructors. The next class, which will be accredited, is being held in the spring of 2014. In addition, the studio offers several other yoga and meditation classes. “My mom and I also teach a bi-monthly class on how to ferment foods, like sauerkraut,” says Bray.
Bray’s passion for yoga knows no bounds. She encourages everyone, no matter where they practice or what style of yoga they choose, to incorporate yoga into their life. “The most important thing is to practice it consistently,” she says, “at the very least, do yoga twice a week to see results. It’s such a gift to give to yourself; to really learn how to connect with your body and support your body in a healing way.”
Yoga Bound is located at 3043 Harding Street in Carlsbad. For more details, call 760-720-9642 or visit YogaBoundForLife.com.