Please allow me to introduce this month’s Featured Human of MYS: Sholeh Sharif! This compassionate yogini has a practice as deep as her smile is wide. For Sholeh, yoga is a family affair so she already had an intentional practice before coming to Modo. We first met Sholeh in 2016 at our karma and community classes since they were most accessible for a student over at UW. Since diving into her unlimited practice in summer 2018, we’ve had the honor of watching both the woman and the her practice evolve. Check out of bit of her story below and say hello next time you see her about the studio!
So Sholeh, how has your practice influenced or changed your life?
This practice has changed my life so much! When I first started practicing at MYS, I realized how much I really love yoga. It’s so much more than just a physical practice. The mindfulness and mind/body awareness is so strong, and as I started practicing more and more this became evident. Doing a mix of the modo/modo flow/power flow classes has allowed me to have a mind & body connection that I never realized was possible. Being present in the moment is so important and that’s what allows you to get in touch with your breath and, especially in the flow classes that are one breath-one movement, getting that mind+body+breath connection is just… incredible. I had to take a break from Modo for a few weeks in September when traveling to Panama with Global Medical Brigades. But soon after I got back, I found out I had won a free entrance into the 30 day challenge, so I started it right away! Since then, it has been almost a daily practice for me. Of course life and school schedules (and snow!) will get in the way, but I’ve found myself at Modo on average 5 days per week (and sometimes twice a day, if I get lucky). The work I’ve done in the hot room has found its way into my everyday actions, decisions, and general way of living. My appreciation for my body and all of the amazing things it can do has grown immensely. Mental clarity, focus in school, being honest with myself, body + physical awareness, presence. I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey goes and learning more about what this practice has to offer. I am so grateful to have found Modo. I love all of the instructors, the studio space, this practice, and all of the LOVE that I am surrounded by!!!
Could you share some words of wisdom that you have gained from your practice?
Yoga is so much more than the physical practice itself. It’s about learning to be present, paying close attention to your breath, trying to slow the mind, and more. Through this, though it can be so hard for all of us, your mind + body + breath connection will help you get to know and accept yourself for who you are – because you’re perfect. One of my favorite yoga inspired quotes is, “It’s not about being good at something, it’s about being good to yourself.”
Can you share an achievement from your life that you feel yoga helped make possible?
Yoga has brought balance to my life, and has allowed me to take on so many different roles that I don’t think I could have done otherwise. Being actively involved in the University of Washington community is very important to me, especially since I commute to campus and this takes away from my ability to meet and get to know the other students. The mindfulness + mental clarity I’ve been able to gain from yoga has helped me achieve this goal. For example…besides being a full time pre-med student, I’m very active in my aikido practice (I’m a black belt at Tenzan Aikido), I’m the recruitment & donations/outreach manager for Global Medical Brigades, the president of the Hiking Club at UW, working for the Yoga & Mindfulness program and member of the student employee leadership board (at UW), and other things like this! With yoga as a big part of my life, my mental (and physical) strength has increased so much, along with my ability to focus. But most importantly, it has helped me better understand myself and be present for the world around me.
What is your favorite book or documentary that you think everyone should read?
As a physiology major and an undergrad student going the pre-med route, most of the “free time” that I spend reading is of my neurobiology lectures (people are SO cool!), reviewing organic chemistry notes (I don’t really care which molecule is the nucleophile or which benzene derivative is more reactive, but apparently med schools do), or trying to understand the basis of different animal physiological processes. I can honestly say that I don’t have a favorite book right now! But, when I have time I would love to read Michelle Obama’s new book, Becoming.
Thank you for taking the time away from your studies to let us see into your busy world, Sholeh! May we all learn from your inspiring practice with balance on and off the mat.