We sat down with Hana Elleithy to discuss her yoga journey. Read on for some inspiration.
Tell us about who you are and tell us about your background.
I am primarily a yoga and meditation teacher. I am also a fitness coach, a personal trainer, a sports nutritionist, and a reiki energy healer. I have always been athletic as a child growing up. My background while being young was rooted in gymnastics and swimming, but as a I grew up, I explored many other sports. I studied art at university and I majored in painting and printmaking.
So what did your journey look like?
At the age of 19, I was introduced to CrossFit and started really loving the sport. However, it was the first time I experience tightness and deep muscle soreness, so I sought out a way to stretch and release this tension. Like many yoga practitioners, I entered the world of yoga seeking its physical benefits, but that quickly grew into a deeper passion for mental wellness and spiritual growth.
The moment I realized the depth of the yoga practice was on a day I attended a yin yoga class. The teacher set us up in a reclined butterfly position which is a great hip opener. She then started talking about the emotions and memories stored in the hips. At that instance, I connected to her words through my own experience and it blew my mind that there is a link between the physical and emotional body. As curious as I was, I started researching the science behind it and eventually decided to pursue my first Yoga-teacher training. Through my first 200hr training, I learned so much about the anatomy of the body, the philosophy of the practice, and of course the methods of teaching. However, as passionate and driven as I was, I learned that there is an ocean of knowledge that I still haven’t even tapped into yet. I started teaching in multiple studios in Doha, Qatar, where I was living at the time.
Shortly after, I decided to pursue my second training: 300hr YTT in Bali. Through this training, I gained a whole new level of insight on the science of yoga and meditation. I become a much more proficient teacher and I developed a deeper meditation practice. At this point, yoga became more of a mental and spiritual practice for me.
As an athletic person, I leaned on other modalities of movement such as functional training, weightlifting, and gymnastics to develop my physical performance.
“Asana” (the physical yoga practice) is an incredible way for me to develop a mind-body connection, gain proprioception and control, develop stability, and increase breath capacity, all of which resonate into my endurance and strength training and unlock new skills.
I also provide my clients with online programming, as well as PT sessions, and I host group fitness classes at multiple gyms and studios.
What is your future goal?
I am constantly striving to learn more about different ways for optimizing health and well-being. My goal is to share this knowledge with others and to deliver to people the methods they are ready for and compatible with. Whether it is Yoga for recovery or yoga for spirituality, movement for weight loss or for strength gain, nutrition for performance goals or for hormone regulation, or reiki healing for energy balance or toxin release. For me, all of these are valid ways to get to the same goal which is to improve your current health state and achieve a lifestyle that supports longevity. I also like to remind myself and my clients that the journey is more important than the goal!
You mentioned Reiki healing…could you explain what is that?
It’s a kind of ancient Japanese practice. It is energetic healing; I would say that’s more about cleansing, de-stressing, and healing in general, so it’s more of a spiritual practice.
What are the challenges that faced you and the advice you would give to people?
As a curious learner and a professional coach, I am constantly reading, learning, and applying the information I absorb. However, in today’s world we are quite literally surrounded by vast amounts of information, often they contradict one another or don’t necessarily add up scientifically and practically. I fell in this trap too many times early on in my career and implemented every learning from research and revel to studies, but the truth is, there is so much being produced today that you can literally get the answer you want to hear. If you want to believe that coffee is good for you, you will find the research that supports it, and if you want to believe it’s a toxin, you will also find the evidence for that. The moral of the story is to take things with a grain of salt, to understand the context in which the person is at, and to create a framework that suits them and their lifestyle. There are no black-and-white answers and there is no one size fits all. Thankfully I have lived these experiments firsthand – the diets, the training programs, and the lifestyle changes so that my clients don’t have to. My advice is not to follow black-and-white advice! There is always a shade of grey that suits you the best and would help you reach your goals more sustainably. We all have our unique needs and lifestyle, so find a coach that encourages you to figure out how to best meet your needs rather than follow an all-set manual.