Student Spotlight

JJ: Deana Agil (pronounced Dee-nah) tell us a little bit about your life outside Wilmington Yoga Center.

I was born and raised here in Wilmington, but my family is originally from the Middle East. My father is from Palestine and my mother is from Syria. I have three younger brothers, who are 11, 13, and 15 years old. I graduated last year from UNC-Chapel Hill, where I majored in biochemistry. Because I graduated a year early, I decided to take a gap year to figure out my future academic endeavors, and take a (much-needed) break to spend time with my family and explore other interests I have, such as yoga. I also like to bake, cook, and subsequently eat. I love cats, the Zen masters of the world, and hope to adopt another cat soon.

JJ: Tell us about your yoga journey.

I took my first yoga class almost 2 ½ years ago with Jess Bichler; it was a Hot Detox and Hold class. I wasn’t a stranger to the Wilmington Yoga Center though, because I had already been taking Pilates classes on and off for about 6 years. My preconceived notions of yoga being a room full of chanting people with their legs behind their heads kept me away at first, but once I got to college I found out what yoga actually was and was instantly drawn to it. Originally, the physicality of the practice was what encouraged me to continue taking classes, but now I see yoga as much more than a physical asana practice; it’s truly a lifestyle. I recently completed the Kunga Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training this past February, and I’m looking forward to teaching children at the elementary school that I attended soon! I hope to share what I’ve learned in training, and of course, to continue to learn.

JJ: Why Wilmington Yoga Center?

The real question is why not WYC!? The Wilmington Yoga Center is the first place I ever took a yoga class, and the only place I have practiced in Wilmington. The teachers at WYC are the best of the best! They are all incredibly inspiring, encouraging, and have helped me grow in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

JJ: What is your favorite and least favorite pose?

Hmmm… I don’t have an absolute favorite, but I really like Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend). It’s a great stretch, and it also is my cue that Savasana is coming soon. My least favorite would probably be balancing postures. They’re very humbling; I never know what is going to happen with those until I come into one. I either find my balance and can balance for a while, or I can’t even hold it for a millisecond!

JJ: What is your favorite class at Wilmington Yoga Center?

Power Flow would have to be my favorite class. I like a challenge, and I can always find that in a power flow, regardless of the sequence.

JJ: What or who inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me, but I am always in awe of people that can take a situation that is perceived to be negative, and turn it into something positive. At UNC-CH I was involved with organizing our university’s Relay for Life, which is an event that raises funds for cancer patient services, education, advocacy, and research. Many of the students I worked with had lost siblings, parents, and other loved ones to cancer, but they didn’t let that stop them from giving back. I found their strength and dedication truly inspiring.

These are the same qualities that I admire in the girls at Homes of Hope Orphanage, and the people who have helped support them. The stories I hear from people who have visited Kerala paint a picture of girls that have an insurmountable amount of love, compassion, and joy, despite the adversity they have faced. The founders of Homes of Hope saw a situation that could be improved, and made their efforts part of the solution. These sorts of things inspire me: the passion to help others by becoming an agent of change.

JJ: What is possible in your life as a result of yoga?

As a result of yoga, I feel more empowered, and have a newfound clarity in my life to realize that ANYTHING is possible.

JJ: How does yoga play a part in your daily life?

Yoga plays a role in many facets of my life. It has taught me to take an extra breath and stay calm in traffic (even when someone cuts me off)! It has allowed me to empathize more with people, and that everyone, regardless of my perception, has something they struggle with. It has empowered me and has helped to physically strengthen my body. It has allowed me to be more mindful throughout my everyday activities, whether that be of the food I choose to eat or the language and tone I use when I speak with others. I really could go on and on, but those are just a few!

 

Want to be a WYC member like Deana? Find out how here!