Very Active, Stories that Inspire (Part 2)

Related Categories: Health & Wellness | Recreation

Ignite Yoga yogi Eva ShawIn part 2 of our series focusing on our local athletes who turned their healthy lifestyles into successful careers helping other achieve their goals, we meet Eva Shaw. 

Eva Shaw, Ignite Yoga
Growing up as a dancer in California, Eva Shaw was used to a very active lifestyle. As a competitive jazz, ballet, tap and hip hop dancer, she even had the honor of dancing in the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Atlanta.

During college, Eva taught dance; and was weighing what a career in dance could look like. Earning her degree in Recreation Administration with a minor in Special Events and Non Profits, she used her skills as the director of Nipomo recreation center in California overseeing grants, kids’ activities and lots of after school programs.

Eva met her husband Jason when he was in the Navy, and his orders took them to the East Coast. There, Eva became the Assistant to the Executive Director of the Salvation Army Toys for Tots program. And after a couple years, Eva ascended to a position as the Executive Director for Mee Memorial Hospital’s Foundation and Director of Volunteer Services. A desk job added more than just responsibility. Over the years, Eva had gained about 20 pounds while sitting at a desk and being less active.

Finding New Connections
A new position for husband Jason at the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant moved them to Arizona. Craving connections to neighbors and the community, a friend recommended the couple look at Verrado and it changed everything. The Shaws fell in love with the community and its friendly, unique, small town feel. When Shelly Hornback pulled up smiling in her golf cart to welcome her, Eva immediately felt at home and their friendship remains strong still five years later.

Verrado’s gym served as a social hub and Eva took advantage of the opportunity to try every class they offered. The yoga class spoke to her; she loved that there was always something further to reach for in her yoga practice, “and not just a lot of monotonous jumping around.”

Finding a Calling in Yoga
As her practice grew so did her strength and confidence, so she heeded the advice of her favorite instructor and got training to become an instructor herself. This training opened her whole world. She was challenged physically and emotionally, and was forced to listen to the internal voice that regularly got in the way. “No matter what happens in life, I can let go on the mat, and truly accept myself.” For Eva, shedding those extra twenty pounds then came with staying focused on being healthy, paying attention to her body in her practice, and making sure to do a little more every day.

Feeling inspired to give back to the community that welcomed her in so graciously, Eva knew she wanted to keep teaching and open her own studio. Ignite Yoga has grown from a few people practicing in a residential studio, to hundreds of students doing down dogs in two locations in Verrado and one in Surprise. Also a Best of Yoga “luxurious studio” is launching at the end of September 2014 in Litchfield Park. Eva credits her supportive community for her ability to grow, “I could not have had this same success anywhere else. It’s the people here; they know one another and really rally to support each other.”

Kids Love Yoga Too!
Eva believes that yoga is not just for adults, recognizing the importance of early childhood development. She’s created and launched curriculum for children as young as two years old. Camps and classes for kids at Ignite Yoga are far more than just a daycare. Imagine the benefits of children growing up with confidence and appropriate physical coping skills to help them manage their anger and frustration.

What’s up next for Eva? In addition to expanding Ignite Yoga Studio locations, she is producing the 3rd annual Art of Movement event in Verrado, scheduled for November 15th. The event is designed to showcase many forms of exercise and nutrition, and inspire people to find a style of movement that works for them. Some of her students want to really sweat, while others just want to work on flexibility and wellness.

Eva’s Advice
Wherever you are, it’s all good. Just get started. Practice makes progress, not perfect. If you are stagnant in progress, you may be stagnant in spirit.

Even if Yoga’s not your thing, find that thing that works for you and start making progress.

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