From Yogi to You: Parinaz Samimi

Parinaz Square
From Yogi to You
Parinaz Samimi

At this moment in your life, who are you?

I am a 35-year-old active woman. My family is scattered, so my friends and students are my family. When I was married and surrounded by family I would never step outside of my comfort zone to create relationships with people. I was always just comfortable with the few people I had in my life. I’ve become more aware of my appreciation for each and every person in my life. It was never like that before. It used to just be “me, me, me.” Everything that has happened was highly beneficial for me as it’s helping me to grow as a person.

You recently finished Landmark and Baptiste Level II, what has come up for you?

I feel like I have finally embraced being a yoga instructor – not just the physical practice that I was good at teaching. Now it’s more about getting people to show up for themselves. More self acceptance, stop the hiding and allow people to see who they really are. That’s the only real way we can connect with others – by opening ourselves up and being vulnerable. So that’s what my classes have been about and it’s been f*$#!>& awesome.

I’m more about being there for the students. In my early days of teaching I was so nervous that I felt like I had to put on a performance all of the time. Whereas now it’s like I don’t necessarily need to be dressed up and have my hair done, make-up on. I just like showing up to my classes and teaching a very powerful flow.

What helped you get there? When did you realize I’m just here on show?

Level II. The hiding that I gave up is my trying to be perfect. My way of showing up is to be a HOTMESS – just let myself be as I am. That made all the change for me. Now it’s not just about me. I’m showing up for them and trying to deliver what they need – rather than what I feel I need in that moment.

Describe your first yoga experience and how did it evolve?

My first experience was with Denise Druce back in the day up at that fitness place on Foothill. I got very discouraged in that class because she did headstands in her class. As you know, I don’t like them, so I didn’t go back for a while. Then Prana opened during the time of my separation and I thought that would calm my brain down so I could sleep at night. I did that for a second and then fell off.

Then Jen approached us about renting the current SLPY studio space and we started taking her classes at Tadasana. I fell right back into it. Initially it was, “Okay this is another workout. I’m going to push myself and sweat my ass off,” rather than appreciate what it really offered.

So what are some of your sources of strength? How do you fill your own cup?

Brené Brown – I read her books. I’m reading Daring Greatly right now. All of her books are just inspirational. Doing the readings out of Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart as well. I read it, I have students read it some days and it’s powerful every single time. Those are just nice little reminders that when shit goes down and you’re caught off guard, just ground back down. I’m turning to readings right now and what I learned in Level II.

What was the point at which yoga became a passion vs. something you do?

I think when I was going through my divorce and a break-up is when I realized what I really get out of yoga – mentally and emotionally rather than just physically. It would be the only time that I would be able to cry and accept the shit that was going on rather than just distract myself from feeling.

Alright, Ms. Guilt-Free Yogi, talk to us about food! What do you say to students that want to stick to a diet regiment and still feel human?

I don’t believe in deprivation. I believe in balance - not that I have it when it comes to sugar! Eating clean is important and in my opinion, food is a part of enjoying life!

Alone on an island, what is the one thing you’re longing for?

Gelato!

Coming from your dance, Muay Thai, lifting and personal training experiences – what do you say to people who have never tried yoga?

I encourage yoga to anyone I encounter. It’s amazing recovery work for those that train outside of a regular yoga practice. It offers mobility, range of motion and keeps your muscles and joints supple. It’s a nice balance with working out because you’re constantly putting your muscles in such a contracted state and yoga helps you loosen up to prevent injury. I think that’s the most important part for athletes.

How does your teaching impact your life?

It’s making me want to show up in a different way for myself so that I can teach from an authentic self. I’m not trying to cover my problems up by looking pretty. I’m dropping my mask. My life is centered around my teaching. It makes me constantly want to improve myself as a person.

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