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We are so excited to kick off our TRIBE Member of the Month series by introducing you to one of our most inspirational community members – author Anna Kanianthra!

Anna has been rolling out her mat with us at Five Peaks Power Yoga since day one, and was a regular Bikram Yoga practitioner for many years prior. You can often find her practicing in our 9:30 and 12:00 classes alongside her daughter and granddaughter, inspiring everyone in class to breathe a little deeper.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to flow beside her yet, you may still recognize her name from our recent 12 Days of Giving; We featured Anna’s book, Recipe for Success in WIC: Based on a 35-Year Life Story, which recounts her experiences working as a groundbreaking Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) Program Manager with the Fairfax County Health Department, leading the program to be one of the most successful in the nation under her tenure.

We recently sat down with Anna to find our more about her time with WIC, as well as why she decided to donate 100% of the profits raised from the sales of her book to homeless families in India.

Five Peaks: Anna, thank you so much for agreeing to sit down and chat with us! We are excited to learn more about you and your time at WIC. Tell us a little more about yourself.

Anna: I was born and brought up in a middle class family of ten in the southern part of India. We moved to the US more than fifty years ago. My dream as a teenager was to work with low income families, especially mothers and children. I pursued a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Tennessee, and after graduating, worked initially as a teaching dietitian at the Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. My family moved to Fairfax County, Virginia in 1975, which opened up the door for me to get a position as the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Program Manager with the Fairfax County Health Department. I finally retired on January 1st, 2016, after 35 years of serving our local community and fulfilling my dream of working in public service. My husband and I have been blessed with a wonderful son and a daughter, and four beautiful grandchildren. We are very lucky.

Five Peaks: What a fascinating life story! What made you decide to write your book, and share your story with the world?

Anna: My motivation for writing Recipe for Success in WIC: Based on a 35-Year Life Story, is because I strongly believe that others like myself, involved with Community Programs across the country, may be helped and inspired through my experiences described in the book. I believe that one of the most important rules of happiness in life is to do what you love most, and certainly in my case, my long journey with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program in the state of Virginia helped to reinforce this belief. Looking back over the past 35 years of my journey, I can see how God placed me with the right people by my side when I needed them the most, to make Fairfax County’s WIC Program one of the most successful in the country.

Five Peaks: That’s phenomenal, thank you. It’s wonderful that, through this book, you now have the opportunity to impact so many more lives across the country, far beyond the borders of Fairfax County. Both public servants, and those they serve, will surely benefit greatly from your contributions and wisdom.

Anna: Yes, certainly.

Five Peaks: So, tell us – What made you decide to donate all of the profits from your book sales to the homeless in India?

Anna: Well, growing up, my mother had always worked with the homeless in India through the church. It was her life work, and it inspired me to do the same, and to continue giving back as my mother always did. Once I raise $500, I plan to spend a month back in India, working and cooking for the homeless through the church that my nephew is the Minister of – just like my mother did. I want to honor the memory of my mother, as well as my role as a public servant here in the States and abroad. That is why 100% of the proceeds I receive from each book sale are going back to the homeless people of India. It’s important work – each individual book sale will feed a single child in India 4 days’ worth of healthy, nutritious meals!

Five Peaks: Wow. Anna, that is wonderful. Important work, indeed.

Anna: Yes. There are so many in need. Every contribution makes a difference.

Five Peaks: So what’s next on the horizon? What are you working on now?

Anna: More writing, I think! I’m working on writing a Manual for Healthy Living, with a focus on maintaining a healthy body weight. Yoga, you know, helps greatly with this.

Five Peaks: That we do! We can’t wait to read it. Before we conclude, would you share one of your favorite stories with us, from your time at WIC?

Anna: There are many… reading the book will highlight them. But one – a Caucasian woman came in with her adopted African American son who was on a respirator needing counseling and coupons. I had a feeling I needed to talk with this woman on a personal level, so I asked her what had motivated her to adopt this child who had so many medical challenges, and caused her to be completely selfless with this child. The woman responded that she was volunteering in the hospital when she came across this child, and she instantly felt a pull to him – a need to be with him. It was as if God had put this child in her life, and she simply had to become his mother. I firmly believe that God puts special mothers with very special children.

Five Peaks: Thank you so much for sharing with us, Anna. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better, and we can’t wait to read your book and learn even more!

Please join us in supporting Anna and her mission to help feed homeless children in India, by purchasing her book, Recipe for Success in WIC: Based on a 35-Year Life Story, on Amazon or your local bookstore. Bring in your proof-of-purchase, and we’ll give you or a guest a free class on us! And if you haven’t yet, make sure to hit up one of our 9:30 or 12:00 classes during the week – you might just be lucky enough to practice alongside this inspiring yogi!

Colure is a mostly-vegan yoga teacher, mom, wife, graphic designer, self-proclaimed nerd, and proud Co-Founder of Five Peaks Power Yoga. When she’s not at the studio teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found relaxing in her favorite local coffee shop, or adventuring around the greater DC region with her family.

Did you know that around the world, yogis from every walk of life come together on the Winter Solstice to practice 108 Sun Salutations together?

The tradition of flowing through 108 rounds of Surya Namaskar is typically observed 4 times a year, in conjunction with the changing of the seasons on each solstice and equinox. Each new season brings with it an opportunity to reflect back upon the previous season, and to set new intentions for the season to come.

As we move into winter and look toward the arrival of the New Year, the Winter Solstice presents us with a chance to create ourselves and our lives anew; to flow into the new season with a fresh new outlook and perspective on who we’re being and what we’re up to in our lives. Through the physical practice of 108 Sun Salutations, we have the opportunity to set these renewed intentions into motion – 108 times in a row!

But why the number “108”?

Why not, say… 18? Or 8?? 108 sure seems like an unnecessarily daunting number of Surya Namaskar to practice repeatedly in a row…

Before we dive into all of the amazing and surprising reasons why the number “108” is revered and held special in cultures and disciplines as diverse as religion, science, mathematics, martial arts, ayurveda, and yoga across the globe, let’s take a moment of pause for some real talk here.

In truth, when it comes right down to it, the renewed intentions and elevated ways of being we seek to create when we step onto our yoga mats are nothing more than words – until we put them into action. You may have heard the phrase, “Don’t talk the talk; Walk the walk”; This holds true, especially in the practice of transformation.

By doubting your doubts, setting aside your expectations, facing your fears, and stepping on your yoga mat to flow through 108 rounds of sweaty, stretchy, challenging, meditative Surya Namaskar with breath and focus, you are taking 108 opportunities to come up against your old ways of being, and choose growth instead. 108 opportunities to come up against doubt and fear, and choose growth instead. 108 opportunities to drop to your knees, catch your breath, and choose to get back up and flow forward, again… and again… and again.

That’s transformation in action.

It’s often said that we create our own reality. Let your words, thoughts, and actions align together to propel you forward into the life you’ve always imagined living.

And now, here are some fun & interesting facts about the number 108…

  • There are 108 beads in a mala; These beads are used for counting while repeating a mantra, prayer, or chant – 108 times.
  • In Astronomy, the diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. Also, the average distance between the Sun and the Earth is 108 times the Sun’s diameter. And what’s more, the average distance from the Moon to the Earth is 108 times the Moon’s diameter.
  • In Hinduism, the number 108 holds particular significance; There are 108 Upanishads (spiritual texts), 108 sacred sites throughout India (Pithas), 108 sacred sites on the body (Marma Points), and 108 names for Hindu deities.
  • In Mathematics, the number 108 is a Harshad Number, which means it’s divisible by the sum of it’s digits. The word Harshad in Sanskrit means “Great Joy”.
  • There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, with two sets each – a masculine (Shiva), and feminine (Shakti) – making 108 in total.
  • In Islam, the number 108 is used to refer to God.
  • There are said to be 108 energy lines in the body that converge and meet at the Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra).
  • The numbers 1 + 0 + 8 also have their own significance; It’s been said that “1” represents God or Higher Truth; “0” represents emptiness or completeness in spiritual practice; and “8” represents infinity or eternity.
  • In Buddhism, a Buddha is carved 108 times into a walnut to signify good luck; a bell is rung 108 times to celebrate a new year; and there are said to be 108 virtues to cultivate, and 108 defilements to avoid.
  • In Aerospace History, the first manned space flight lasted 108 minutes.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the fascinating history and traditions behind practicing 108 Sun Salutes at the start of every Solstice or Equinox, and look forward to flowing with you this Thursday, December 21st, 2017 at our Winter Solstice 108 Intention Flow!! Join us and flow with renewed intention into the season and New Year ahead!

Colure is a mostly-vegan yoga teacher, mom, wife, graphic designer, self-proclaimed nerd, and proud Co-Founder of Five Peaks Power Yoga. When she’s not at the studio teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found relaxing in her favorite local coffee shop, or adventuring around the greater DC region with her family.

Kids. Are. Awesome.

December 14, 2017

Kids Yoga is an excellent way for kids to build strength and stamina in both their bodies and minds. Yoga brings an awareness to themselves and others, in a practice of mindful movement both physically and emotionally.  With Treehouse Kids Yoga at Five Peaks, each class will be based on a theme as we take a journey through movement and breath while making it fun with yogi games, songs, books, and age appropriate postures.

Together lets empower kids to build their strength, from the inside out!

Benefits include:

  • Increased strength and flexibility
  • Improved concentration, focus, and attention
  • Improved body awareness and coordination
  • Management of stress through breathing, meditation, and movement
  • Learning to live a healthy lifestyle – physically, mentally, and emotionally
  • Becoming part of a group that is both non-competitive and non-judgmental
  • Increased respect for self and others

Join us THIS Saturday at Five Peaks Power Yoga for our Holiday Kids Yoga Playdate!! We’ll entertain the kiddos from 1:30-3:00 with yoga, mindful coloring, games, books, yoga obstacle course, and snacks, while you get your last-minute holiday shopping done. A win-win for everyone!

*Space is limited!! Register today! $25/child, Ages 4-8.

Colure is a mostly-vegan yoga teacher, mom, wife, graphic designer, self-proclaimed nerd, and proud Co-Founder of Five Peaks Power Yoga. When she’s not at the studio teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found relaxing in her favorite local coffee shop, or adventuring around the greater DC region with her family.

On the 1st Day of Giving, my yoga tribe gave to me… A free gift for expanding our Tribe family!
*Less than 10 spots left for Grand Opening Pricing of Tribe5 memberships; Register now & receive a free gift of your choice (eye pillow, bolster, meditation cushion). This offer is extended to everyone in our Tribe5 membership family!
Heart to heart, hand to hand, we’re held in the holiday spirit here at Five Peaks…
As we step forward into our intention of Seva, we honor the importance of self-care as a primary step along the path toward better serving others.
This week, we begin our countdown of the 12 Days of Giving – with daily offers to help you center, restore, and rejoice. By making time to serve your soul this holiday season, you’ll be better equipped to serve those around you from a place of presence and joy.
Happy Holidays! Take care of yourself, and take care of others. We look forward to seeing you on the mat soon!

Colure is a mostly-vegan yoga teacher, mom, wife, graphic designer, self-proclaimed nerd, and proud Co-Founder of Five Peaks Power Yoga. When she’s not at the studio teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found relaxing in her favorite local coffee shop, or adventuring around the greater DC region with her family.

December: SEVA (Service)

December 13, 2017

Throughout the month of December here at Five Peaks, we are focusing on the theme of SEVA. In Sanskrit, “Seva” means “selfless service”. It is the act of giving; openly, without the need to receive.

But Seva also has two facets – that is, while the primary intention of Seva is to be of service to others, it is important to stay mindful of how we are caring for ourselves as well. Think about it this way – if your tank is empty and you are running on fumes, you won’t have much of anything left to give. When our spiritual tank is empty, we can’t effectively serve others from a present and compassionate space.

This time of year, it’s easy to forget about self-care in the name of serving those we love; And understandably so – this is the season of giving, after all. However, the best way to serve those you love is to take care of yourself first – body, mind, and soul – so that you can more fully give of yourself in every interaction, and flow through this holiday season with presence, clarity, and heart.

As we move through this week, consider how you are prioritizing self-care. How are you nourishing your body, mind, and spirit? By showing up for yourself in a powerful way, you are engaging in the act of “Seva” – for yourself, and by extension, everyone else you’ll meet along the way.

This week, we begin our countdown of the “12 Days of Giving” – with daily offers to help you center, restore, and rejoice. By making time to serve your soul this holiday season, you’ll be better equipped to serve those around you from a place of presence and joy.

Check back here on the blog, or follow along on our social media channels. We look forward to seeing you on the mat soon!

Colure is a mostly-vegan yoga teacher, mom, wife, graphic designer, self-proclaimed nerd, and proud Co-Founder of Five Peaks Power Yoga. When she’s not at the studio teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found relaxing in her favorite local coffee shop, or adventuring around the greater DC region with her family.

Just… WOW.

December 4, 2017

What. A. Weekend. !!!!! 🌟 Our hearts are overflowing with love & gratitude for everyone who has been a part of making our dream of opening Five Peaks Power Yoga & building this beautiful yoga hOMe in Loudoun County a reality.

We are simply blown away by the outpouring of support we’ve had over this, our very first weekend in operation, & have loved meeting & flowing with so many amazing yogis!

We are so excited to finally have our doors open, and for all that lies ahead. This community is up to some pretty big things, and we are beyond grateful to be a part of it.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

#openforbusiness #loudounyoga #Tribe5 

Colure is a mostly-vegan yoga teacher, mom, wife, graphic designer, self-proclaimed nerd, and proud Co-Founder of Five Peaks Power Yoga. When she’s not at the studio teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found relaxing in her favorite local coffee shop, or adventuring around the greater DC region with her family.

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