Meet Rawad. If you’ve been with the MLPC for awhile or are on our community WhatsApp group, you’ve probably seen him, heard or read one of his witty and clever jokes. On and off, he is one of the first members to join this community. Rawad started flowing, or aligning as he would prefer to do, with the MLPC since Zoom screenshots was a thing back in March 2020 when the lockdown happened due to COVID-19.
Alex and Rawad met at one of her previous yoga gigs and reconnected at a Yoga for Trauma retreat. They stayed connected through Instagram and he witnessed the start of the MLPC.
With his always on bright smile and a determined mind, he decided to finally join the 3rd 30 Day Challenge in June. We were interested to learn more about his experience and of course badge him with the All-Star title. So, let’s dive into it...
Hi Rawad! Tell us a little bit about yourself! Who is Rawad?
Rawad: Like I don't think about that every day! In fact, figuring out who I am is my full-time pre-occupation. Who am I outside of work, or if I don't work? Who am I outside of my degree(s)?
All that aside I am a Lebanese thirty-something (I will use that as long as I can) living in Abu Dhabi. I've done an engineering bachelor and graduate degree in sustainability. I enjoy writing spoken word and prose poetry. I have a wide appetite for facilitation & creativity. If you like going to art galleries and talking about it, we will be friends.
Have you ever had any experience with yoga before joining the MLPC? What inspired you to start practicing yoga?
Rawad: I started three years ago with the courage one can only have when they have no idea what's going on. Luckily Abu Dhabi (and Dubai) offered me the opportunity to stumble on strong teacher-practitioners that started adding to my vocabulary of awareness. But the circumstances that lead me there had to do with crawling away from a relationship where my level of self-care was practically non-existent.
What’s your connection to the MLPC?
Rawad: I had met and practiced with Alex around Abu Dhabi in places like The Room and Yogaone. The yoga community in Abu Dhabi is still small enough that I eventually (and happily) met many active teachers here. We also have a mutual friend, Kat Owens, who was recently featured on the Chat(uranga) podcast.
How did you end up being so committed to yoga?
Rawad: I once coined the phrase, "practice makes different" as opposed to the more common adage of "practice makes perfect". But I am one of those people that believe in other people's capacity to change more than my own. One thing yoga showed me-- and my inner narrative on this-- is that I can change. I can practice. And practice makes different.
Did you face any challenges during the month of July?
Rawad: The best thing about doing a 30 day yoga challenge is not the benefit of daily yoga, community support, a clearly measured and time-limited target. That's the second best thing. The best thing for me was understanding my relationship toward commitments. What's the chaos factor that often derails my intentions? How do I deal with it? To have a regular practice I need to overcome these things.
What are the biggest benefits you’ve reaped from your yoga practice?
Rawad: My posture is better (my awareness of it at least). And awareness of breath.
You know how they say "don't believe everything you think"? Everytime I feel like I can't do a yoga class, or "not now", and I do it anyway, I am always pleasantly surprised. We should listen to our body. When we listen to our mind though, we should check back with our body and ask, "what do you think?"
What’s your favorite posture?
Rawad: Triangle pose. Over time, I have found a lot of space in the basic triangle pose. I am slightly surprised by my answer, but that's what coming up now.
What’s your most difficult posture?
Rawad: Oh how much time do you have! Anything with twists or has 'revolved' in the name. Frog pose, that side-crow one, Dolphin pose, Puppy pose, anything where the leg goes over the shoulder. Are you writing this down?
“One thing yoga showed me-- and my inner narrative on this-- is that I can change. I can practice. And practice makes different.”
What is your favorite type(s) of yoga? And why?
Rawad: I am quite agnostic when it comes to the type of yoga class. I prefer alignment over flow or power.
Any words of wisdom to those just starting out?
Rawad: The only thing to understand from doing yoga is your own body. As someone who has been starting out at yoga for three years, I've learned that everything I think about my body, my ability, do I fit in, can stop for a moment if I stand at the top of the mat, inhale my arms up, exhale fold. Whatever's going on for you, know that you can stand on your feet (such as they are), and take a breath.
Thank you Rawad for the answers, appreciate you for being part of this community. Big thanks for checking out this interview! Leave a comment below if you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for more All-Stars interviews coming your way.
Until next time, may you all be safe, happy, healthy, and free.