FB: How has yoga made you a better athlete?
NINA: It has improved my flexibility, while also increasing my strength. Yoga helps me make sure my muscles are properly stretched and taken care of.
FB: In what ways do you take your yoga ‘off the mat’?
NINA: Taking deep breaths in a stressful situation; within a few hours you realize some problems aren’t worth getting worked up over. I just keep breathing and pushing forward. I use yoga off the mat to make sure I’m being in the present moment; acknowledging it and embracing it.
FB: What sports do you play?
NINA: Recently retired Pole Vaulter and sprinter. I still enjoy running high intensity track workouts! There’s nothing more satisfying than finishing a grueling sprint workout.
FB: How long have you been an athlete?
NINA: Since I was 4 years old doing dance lessons
FB: How do you balance adding yoga to your busy schedule?
NINA: It’s important for me to make time for yoga. Sometimes, I’ll just look up youtube videos and do 15 minute yoga sessions
FB: Besides asana, what other yoga practices have you found beneficial [meditation, pranayama, etc]?
NINA: Meditation is key. It’s difficult to find time to do it, but it’s important to massage your mind and practice mindfulness. Yoga gives you the ability to take care of both the mind and the body and cultivate the relationship between both.
FB: What is your sport of choice and how long have you been playing it?
NINA: Pole Vaulting! I’ve one it since freshman year of high school. But I’m ready to dabble in other sports like archery. And I’d like to get back into soccer. Soccer is the first sport I ever played. I had my first game when I was 6 years old!
FB: What’s you favorite post yoga snack?
NINA: Almond butter
FB: Yin or yang yoga?
FB: Describe your ideal yoga playlist.
NINA: I like calming music, but I also like surprisingly funky tunes to mix things up. Music from Janelle Monae, Pharrell an Beyonce gets my heart pumping and puts on a smile on my face during the difficult poses.
FB: What’s your favorite yoga pose?
NINA: Today, it’s Tree pose
FB: Shoulderstands or headstands?
FB: How has social media affected your yoga practice?
NINA: It’s introduced me to very cool fitness bloggers like @capitalyogagirl. I can try her challenges and get inspired to do different poses. Social media is also a great platform for businesses to make themselves stand out.
FB: What’s the number one challenge you’ve faced as a yogi and an athlete?
NINA: Understanding that your experiences are about the journey and being in the moment. It’s not necessarily about reaching your goals, but having goals and having a meaningful path.
FB: What’s one piece of advice you would give to other athletes wanting to start a yoga practice?
NINA: Make sure you do your research so you can understand the body and what different people need from different yoga practices. Think about what you’ve learned as an athlete and apply that to becoming a yoga instructor. Go for it and have fun!
FB: Who inspires you on and off the mat?
NINA: Traci Copeland. She is a Nike Yoga instructor in NYC and the reason I do yoga so often! Her class was the first official yoga class I went to and from there I was hooked. She’s very calm, strong, and fun. The perfect essence of yoga!
FB: Please share one of your funnest yoga stories.
NINA: Senior year of college, I did yoga with friends at Lake Matoaka Ampitheater- the outdoor venue for most of W&M’s concerts. It is such a pleasure to yoga in such a beautiful setting. It’s great place to escape; you can enjoy the view of the lake and get away from the library. I’m so happy I had that moment with my friends before graduation.
FB: Do you practice yoga with your friends?
NINA: No, but I’ll have to start! Nothing like being in a group to push you.
FB: Is there any specialty class on your bucket list to try [ie glow in the dark yoga, acro yoga, arial yoga etc]?
NINA: Definitely aerial yoga! Maybe paddle board yoga!