Starting the new year off with Dusty Warawa as YOTM! Dusty is very sweet, welcoming and excited; working to make yoga accessible for everyone. As an athlete he has a different entry point to the practice and has made his studio welcoming to everyone. Dusty’s keeping it real with his answers, short and sweet. He would love to have you in his classes or at the studio. He is a new addition to studio owner scene in Kelowna and is rocking it at Karma Yoga and Fitness!!
To me yoga means to control the thoughts in your mind. Doing so allows you to live fully in the moment and be able to make clearer decisions. We learn to do this in the classroom by focusing on our breath when our mind becomes distracted. Eventually we train our minds so that it becomes second nature to practice these techniques in and outside of the classroom.
In 2007, My doctor and physiotherapist forced me to get into yoga as a part of my recovery from a terrible snowboarding accident. A friends snowboard sliced half way through my knee completely severing my patellar tendon. I was put in a full leg cast for a year and was told I would never run again. I could barely sit, was not flexible, and was ambivalent towards yoga.
3 Where and whom did you study with.
My first yoga teachers were Laura Martina and Sheila Chutskoff at Oranj. I then studied at YYoga in Vancouver with Rachel Scott. Since I have been back in Kelowna the yogi I have learned the most from is Pam Rader. Her classes at Shift Yoga and overall aura has taught me about yoga and life.
4 What kept you coming back to the mat and has that changed over time?
At the start it was the aspect of physical exercise that kept me coming back to yoga . I saw amazing results in my body after being told I would never be able to run again. Now, it’s the act of controlling my mind, my life, and sharing this with the community life that brings me to my mat daily.
5 What does yoga bring to your life?
Yoga brings me a sense of clarity and calmness. It has brought purpose back to my life being able to share something that I truly believe people need in there lives.
6 How has your practice evolved?
As an athlete, my practice started with my trying 110% to get into each pose. Eventually I learned that you need a balance of both effort and ease in order to release your full potential.
7 How might you and/or your life be different if you hadn’t found Yoga?
First, I wouldn’t be able to run, play sports, or any of the other numerous physical activities that I love doing. Second, I wouldn’t be making the right decisions that have brought me such renewed energy and appreciation for life.
8 What is your “can’t do without” favorite pose?
My favourite pose has got to be the one I do most often, Uttanasana (forward fold). The feeling of letting my back, head, and neck fully relax while stretching my hamstrings is heavenly. I wish I could stay in this pose forever.
9 Tell us about an asana you struggle with!!
I physically and mentally struggle with some peoples favourite pose, Pigeon. Most times after doing this pose, my patellar tendon feels off track and I’m not able to sit or walk properly for awhile. If you every see me doing this posture, please remind me that yoga isn’t a competition.
10 You inspire so many, who inspires you?
My dad. After beating cancer, he has made mental adjustments that have made him happier today than every before. For years he made me memorize his “lessons of life” with rules like “there’s no good reason for bad behaviour”‘ and “it’s not what happens to you in life, but how you respond that matters”. I feel truly lucky to have such a man as my father.
11 What tips can you offer beginning students for a safe practice?
1. Breathe – focus your attention fully on maintaining a deep inhale and exhale through out your entire practice
2. Try less – give a 50% effort and complete every pose instead of giving a 90% effort and taking breaks
3. Find a teacher that you love
12 How about guidance for beginning teachers?
1. Be confident in yourself
2. Live what you teach
3. Don’t just teach, practice daily
13 What few steps do you think a yogi can take today to tremendously improve their practice?
1. Lay in savasana for an entire class – this will really help you lose the fear of being different in class. If a pose ever doesn’t feel right in your body, don’t do it
3. Chairs suck – chairs are developed for comfort not for healing your body. Instead, try sitting on a block or yoga mat when your watching tv or reading a book.
14 Where are u teaching now?
I teach at Karma Yoga + Fitness located at 1445 Eillis st in downtown Kelowna. You can reach us at 250-717-1227, on our facebook page, or online at kelownahotyogastudio.com.
I grew up in Abbotsford with my mom where everyday I dreamt of becoming a professional athlete. After high school I moved to Kelowna with my dad where I began my long career at Southern Insurance. I played basketball for UBCO as well as football for the Okanagan Sun.
In a life altering moment, a snowboarding accident ended my sports career when I was told I’d never run again. It took years and years of recovery to gain control of my leg and add enough strength, but I was finally able to run again! However, My life still felt incomplete and I found myself moving to vancouver. Here I fell in love with yoga, took my teacher training, and starting teaching.
In a visit back to Kelowna I found a yoga studio for sale called “Kelowna Hot Yoga Studio” and my life clicked. A few months later I moved back to Kelowna, bought the studio, and renamed it “Karma Yoga + Fitness“. I am truly grateful to enjoy each moment of my unique life with my family and friends.