This week’s Yogi Spotlight has us hanging out with Stephanie Birch also known to the Instagram world as @stephynow. This bright spirit tugs on all our heartstrings with her heartfelt writings and sweet mommy moments that she shares. She also wows us with her amazing photography and beautiful asana practice. We were fortunate enough to catch Stephanie between momming it up and teaching yoga to learn a little bit more about this amazing super mom yogi!
Evolve: Stephanie, we would love to hear about your “yoga love story”! How did you fall in love with the practice? What inspired your to become a teacher?
Stephanie: My yoga love story started in 2008. I had recently moved back to Sacramento and was looking for a workout (without a gym) to complement my running. I grew up a tomboy and loved sports, I actually di
dn’t think yoga would be a fit for me at all. I remember dragging my feet to that first class with the assumption that it would not be a challenge. I was completely humbled by the practice from day one, spending most of the class in child’s pose. I have to laugh looking back at myself in assumptions and judgment.
It wasn’t until after my son was born that I began thinking about teaching. When my son was a few months old, I fell into some dark times as a mother. My partner, my son, and yoga were my constant support during a time I could barely peel myself together to care for our home life. In class, on a cold January later afternoon, one of my teacher’s asked me when I would start teaching yoga and from that day, in 2013, a seed was planted. I wanted to connect, to heal, and have a light of hope to teach and help others to do the same.
Evolve: Switching from a personal practice to becoming a teacher can be a bit nerve-wracking. What was this transition like for you?
Stephanie: I think I will always feel new to the practice as a student and teacher. I feel as though I’ve only brushed the surface of yoga, as I finished my first 200hr TT in February. Tomorrow I am taking a leap into 200 RYT program which fills me with nerves, excitement, and humility all over again. It feels like I am pregnant and will be giving birth again.
Evolve: We absolutely love reading your posts about self-love and empowerment. What inspires you to find such beautiful words to touch the lives of others?
Stephanie: Whenever I write posts, I write them to remind myself to love and empower – it all starts within before it can connect with others. I used to search for others to love/give me love instead of loving myself. With love, comes life. I write what comes to me in that moment, sparked by my own thoughts, actions, people in my life or not, and I just tap away on my iphone; poor grammar, misspellings, and all.
Evolve: You have a beautiful family! Your posts about your son absolutely melt our hearts. How do you think your yoga practice helps you to be a better mother?
Stephanie: Thank you! I just whispered, “phew,” with this question. I think yoga saved my soul, one that is very much a work in progress. Not so much about saving, per se, but learning how to breathe. If I could teach one thing to my son, it would be to breathe. Our breath has the capacity to change our outcomes, in every situation. Even the hardest of days as a mother, I check-in with my breath.
Evolve: Speaking of your kiddo, you two are always playing and doing fun activities. What do you do to give you the energy to keep up with such a bright little spirit?
Stephanie: Oh my gosh! Having a kid is so much fun! I feel like a kid again, most days! I love arts and crafts, making things and it’s fun to “do it all over again.” The secret is coffee! And a beer when the sky turns to nightfall and little man is off to bed. My son doesn’t take naps (and hasn’t since the day he turned 2, gasp!) but he does sleep 12-14 hours straight at night, thankfully. >
Evolve: You are an amazing photographer, but we also see that you’ve done some modeling and have a great eye for fashion! Can you tell us a little about your background as a model and photographer?
Stephanie: I’ve done some modeling, mostly before my son was born. It was very small scale stuff. I do love fashion, not that I dress myself very well. I’m more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of gal who enjoys getting cleaned up for date night from time to time. I’ve always loved photography, been taking photos since I can remember. I love challenging myself to creating photos or capturing light, people, and places the way I see them. I have been so fortunate to work on some projects through word of mouth, friends, and family to create beautiful moments.
Evolve: You are a frequent shopper with us here at Evolve Fit Wear, we adore seeing you rocking your gear in your IG posts! Can you tell us what are some of your favorite brands and why you love them?
Stephanie: You guys carry some great stuff! Without any particular order…
Alo Yoga is awesome. Their leggings and tops fit and move with my practice beautifully. LVR is another favorite. Love their soft, organic cottons and their tie-dyed prints (I’m a sucker for tie dye). Also a big fan of Iam Vibes, I love what they represent as a brand with spirituality and alignment. I have a bright-green pair of KiraGrace crops that are fun to wear, the Warrior Tough Cut. I like to wear pieces in support of small businesses, or their philosophies, how they fit, and most importantly – versatility. I am finding myself wearing items that can be worn to class as well as to brunch, without looking like I just came from yoga. Always looking to dress up a pair of leggings or yoga top into a fun outfit.
Evolve: We would love to hear more about what you are up to and how our readers can connect with you! Will you take a moment to tell us about some of the stuff you are up to?
Stephanie: I am diving into another teacher training so that is exciting! I am currently teaching at Solfire Yoga in Sacramento, CA. The studio just opened this week and we are so grateful for the support and love from this community. Focusing on family, yoga, soul love, playful photo-taking, and living each day in the present.
A huge thank you for the always inspirational @stephynow! Keep up the wonderful work and give that little guy a huge squeeze from all of us here at Evolve!!