Day in and day out we here at Modo Yoga Seattle get to meet some amazing people. We’d love to share all of their stories with you…and maybe one day we will…but for now we’ll share one of them; meet Austin Fravel. This kind and quiet soul is a steadfast member of our Energy Exchange program and a dedicated student of his practice. He warms our hearts every time he enters the space as he leads by good example, always happy to help in anyway he can! We think he is pretty swell and would love to share a bit of his story with you. Then once you know him like we do, be sure to say hello next time you see him around the studio!
So Austin, what brought you to Modo for the first time back in August 2018?
I was looking for something to help get me in better shape while focusing on flexibility. Then I made friends with Naomi Lindsey and she suggested I come try a class. I did, and I loved it.
Friends are the best – especially when they suggest yoga! Could you tell me what you remember about the first time you tried yoga?
The first time I attempted to do yoga was in the hot room at Modo. The class was a Modo flow taught by Jen. I didn’t have a mat towel with me, which made it really slippery and nearly impossible to focus on my practice. Jen noticed my struggles and brought one over to me. After that class I couldn’t stop thinking about how it made my mind and body feel, and I have been drawn to it ever since.
How has your practice influenced your life?
Before Modo I had never even been aware of what yoga could do for you, not just physically, but mentally also. My yoga practice has transformed my life. If I keep it, a constant practice, it helps me be able to perform my job better and more efficiently all while still being able to push myself in my free time doing the activities I love. Yoga has taught me that you are able to strengthen mental capabilities, which allows me to better define myself and I am able to integrate that into every interaction I have with people. Lastly, yoga has brought some amazing people into my life just by teaching me to be more present and aware of my own intuition and having the faith to act on that feeling.
Could you share some words of wisdom that you have gained from your practice?
Since I started practicing I have learned to make it my own practice and to go easy on myself. I know the teachers say it all the time, but it took some time for me to actually be able to do that. When I started I wanted to be able to do everything I saw everyone else doing, but I was far from that, and when I couldn’t mimic what I thought was the right way, I would transfer focus away from my practice to judge myself. It taught me everyone is unique in their own way, especially myself which means that sometimes what your body needs most is modifications to poses, blocks, and straps to really get the most out of the practice and to keep the body healthy.
It’s clear that your practice has made a substantial impact on your life. Could you share an experience from your life that you feel yoga helped support?
I can’t really share just one goal that yoga has helped me achieve. The experience that I believe yoga has had the most influence in would probably be my performance at my job. I’m the youngest person on a 6 man varnishing crew. I don’t have the least amount of experience, but am treated and looked at as such. I have been able to compose myself differently in the sense that I am able to be more present with my thoughts and feelings which allows me to better articulate those feelings – therefore have better communication about what I see and how I can help. I have been able to find my place here and they look at me differently because of that. I have found a way to use my experience to build infrastructure, introduce new protocols, write a training manual, change old traditional habits, and really make a difference that the whole crew can appreciate. The fact that I am able to do that makes me really happy because I have always had a hard time articulating my thoughts/feelings and communicating them with people.
Yoga has also helped me reach many other short terms goals in all things i have set my mind to; whether it be climbing, slack lining, snowboarding/skiing, relationships, etc.
Svadyaya is the yoga practice of self-study and present in the Modo Pillar Live to Learn. We flex our curiosity to learn about ourselves and learn about our world. What is your favorite book or documentary that you think everyone should read? Why?
The topic of my choice for things I read/listen to is about our past as humans and where we are headed next and how we can achieve peace with nature and humanity. The Celestine Prophecy is a book about how presence and appreciation can affect your flow of energy with fellow humans and nature, how to be aware of that flow of energy, and how love directly affects everything we see and understand.