Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Stephanie Hansen (Stephananda).

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOGA?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

I found yoga in 2011. I was in the early stages of a huge life transformation. After spending the previous decade addicted to heroin, afraid and destroying my mind and body- I was arrested and court ordered to spend 90 days in what would be my 9th inpatient rehab within a 2 year period. An old roommate who was also in recovery showed me yoga classes online and that is where my journey down this yogic path began.
My first studio classes were with Alicia H. an old friend from highschool. We signed up for 30 days of hot yoga! I fell in love with the effects of this practice.

WHAT KIND OF TRAININGS HAVE YOU PURSUED?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

I have happily completed the 200 hr and 300 hr YTT through Three Trees Yoga & Healing Arts in Federal Way, WA. Jeni, Suzi & Karen have been such a lighthouse when I was alone in a little boat lost at sea.
This magical trio is living their dharma while giving others permission and guidance on how to live theirs!
The friendships and community that are real and abundant in my life today have blossomed because of planting my feet on this fertile ground. With deepest gratitude Three Trees Yoga & Healing Arts.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TEACHING METHOD?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

This is forever changing, shifting and evolving- as is life. I used to write everything down, pose by pose with a topic and pranayama or meditation pre-planned. This has recently gone out the window as I have found I would rarely stick to what I wrote down and I would be all up in my head trying to refer to my notes the entire class. Now, I bring my flow to the flow classes I teach. I breathe into it and feel the energy in the room and students and just go with the flow, moving right alongside my peers. Warm-up, strengthening and balancing poses, peak pose and then a cooldown.
I love to offer intuitive adjustments like a foot or shoulder hold when students are in savasana. Thank you Meredith, another real life angel, for teaching me intuitive yoga! I bring flip chips to every class I offer adjustments in so students have the agency to let me know if they want to be touched or not. Such a brilliant invention.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

Just one piece? 😉 I’m like a broken record sometimes, and I tell my students this as well, I am just a conduit. I am passing along my favorite yoga things I have collected thus far on my journey. Let yourself be ok. Come back to the breath. Listen to your body. Honor your body. And my favorite quote of them all from one of my most favorite yoga teachers of all time- “May this practice of yoga not only benefit ourselves, but benefit all of those around us.”- Anne A.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED AS A YOGA STUDENT? AND HOW ABOUT AS A TEACHER?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

I wanted to do crow pose so bad when I first started yoga-ing. So bad. It was also so hard, SO hard! I would try and try but just couldn’t quite get it- I do not suggest this btw. One morning, in Anne’s class- she had us try crow pose… while blindfolded. YES! I thought I was for sure going to crash down on my face. Much to my baby yogi surprise, I nailed it- ok it was probably super brief but it was totally blind folded and I FELT it. Been crowin’ ever since. Thanks Anne!
As a teacher, there isn’t a single moment that comes to mind. However, I am inspired regularly by the students coming back week after week. They blow me away with their dedication and zeal for this practice.

CAN YOU TELL US WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE “ANANDA INDUSTRIES”? AND WHAT CAN ONE EXPECT WHEN ATTENDING ANANDA INDUSTRIES’ CLASSES?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

From my first memories of consciousness I recall being joyful, happy and full of bliss. Ananda means bliss. I gave myself a fun nickname a few years ago, Stephananda. The nickname stuck around and when I made the decision, with a little nudge from my soul sister Sara C. aka Sonic Sorceress, to start a local and international yoga retreat company. Sara actually came up with the business name and if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be yoga-ing today. Ananda Industries was brought to life November of 2019.
Ananda Industries hopes to hire many teachers so the classes can be varied. We understand variety is the spice of life. Not everyone takes the same medicine. There is a yoga for everyone. If taking a flow class from me, Stephananda- expect to laugh, stabilize your core and awaken your true spirit.

WHAT YOGA RELATED BOOKS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOU?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

I avoid book questions like the plague! Ha! Books are not really a hobby for me unless I’m medicated enough to focus. However, my favorite audio book is The Art of Living Vipassana Meditation by S. N. Goenka. An old friend Rocky gave me this audio book and I listen to it regularly. I hope to visit a Vipassana retreat center someday.

The Art of Living Vipassana Meditation by S. N. Goenka

WHAT IS ONE THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

Most people don’t know I am a quarter Japanese, a quarter Norweigan and then fifty percent mixed up everything. I’ve never understood racism. We all bleed red. I miss my Japanese grandma Michiko so much.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US SOME OF YOUR WELLNESS & SELF-CARE PRACTICES?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

Oh yes! I love to get massages as much as possible. Highly recommend Katie H. with Radiant Peace! Thanks to Dhaval, I oil my vata dosha body up regularly and eat & drink lots of warm soups and beverages.
Lots of coffee, lol. I spend a lot of time with my fiance Sean A., my family and friends. We laugh and play and create beautiful memories that echo with joy. My dog. I play with Molly aka MooMoo every day! Her morning kisses and cuddles melt my heart.
Regular video chats with my soul sisters Cici from Moon Sign Magic, Sara C. aka Sonic Sorceress, Kristi H. aka BooSon, Maggie Cole aka Trappy and my beautiful niece Makenzie.

WHO IS THE YOGI WE SHOULD FEATURE NEXT AND WHY?

Stephanie Hansen

Stephanie Hansen:

Christine Lee with Moon Sign Magic. Cici is one of my dear friends that teaches Kundalini yoga and Reiki in the Seattle area. Cici is the real deal. She puts her heart & passion into whatever she does. Nothing less than magic.

Stephananda’s Bio: I first discovered yoga in 2011 during a radical change from living a lifestyle that was harmful to my health, to living a life centered on well-being. The tangible and far-reaching benefits of this practice began to manifest and change my life for the better forevermore by reducing stress and raising awareness. During my personal transformation, I successfully completed the RYT 200hr Three Trees Yoga Teacher Training in 2014 and the RYT 300hr Three Trees Yoga Teacher Training in 2019. During this process, my intention became clear- to share spiritual enlightenment, health and well being, and the profundity of Indian art with others who are making a similar lifestyle shift. Expect a yoga class that will stabilize your core, relax your mind, and reawaken your true spirit.