Welcome to Black Yoga Society’s Meet The Community! Every Monday and Thursday, we feature a member sharing their spiritual journey and discussing all their wins and losses along the way. If you’d like to be featured, contact us.
My name is Nya Patrinos. I was born in Philadelphia, but live in Southern California since 1993.
I was a competitive swimmer from the age of 6. I was much more into sports and studies than spirituality. At 18, I started meditating and was initiated into Nichiren Buddhism. I was inspired by a woman I admired, who was a meditator in this tradition. I’m no longer a Buddhist, but I very much enjoy mantra meditation.
“If yoga means union, I hope for more classes where I feel united.”
I started practicing regularly yoga because of chronic knee pain. The chronic knee pain began in the late 90s, but it wasn’t until after I had knee surgery in 2000 that my pain became unbearable. My orthopedic surgeon told me that recovery would be difficult because of the amount of scraping that was done under my kneecap during surgery to put it in proper alignment. Post-surgery, I went to many sessions of physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture. Everything I did felt helpful, but nothing alleviated the pain. I had dabbled in yoga for years, but in 2004 I took a Hatha Yoga class in the Ghosh style. The morning after that class, I felt like something was better in my knees. I was so elated that I decided to go again—and again.
Now that I am a yoga therapist, I believe that my knees responded to the integrative approach of stretching, strengthening, mindfulness, breath awareness, and deep relaxation that Hatha Yoga provides. The other modalities I had tried were singular in focus, whereas yoga was holistic. I also thank my knees for leading me toward a life in yoga, something much more profound than just rehabilitating a structural issue. To paraphrase Nischala Joy Devi, what keeps me coming back to yoga is not fear of knee pain, but the special feeling that occurs when I’m on the mat and experience something magical inside that touches a mysterious part of myself.
As an African-American woman, I’ve encountered racism throughout my entire life. At various times, these experiences of racism have left me feeling angry, scared, disoriented, hopeless, and/or depressed. Whenever I feel imbalanced, I ask myself: How can I use my yoga tools for healing and transformation? My yogic practice has been the balm to help alleviate the stress and trauma I feel from being African-American.
As a Black person in the wellness space, I’m saddened that many yoga studios feel so exclusive. The prices are astronomical and I have the impression at times that all body types and ethnicities are not welcome. I want to see more teachers of color, more donation-based classes, and classes offered in black and brown communities. I want to see more emphasis on all 8 limbs of yoga. I want more kindness and connection in yoga. Let’s introduce ourselves to each other, smile, and say hello. Let’s find out who we are and discover the blessing of practicing with each other. If yoga means union, I hope for more classes where I feel united.
Many organizations and institutions have been very warm and generous to me. Last year, I received a scholarship to study Brain Longevity. I’m a mentor in Kripalu’s School of Integrative Yoga Therapy. I’ve had wonderful teachers like Francesca Asumah, Dr. Ananda Balayogi, Muktamala Mitra, Swami Sivashankarianda, Amy Weintraub, Maria Mendola, and Nischala Joy Devi. I believe, as a yoga therapist, I’m making a difference in people’s lives. I know through yoga I’ve made a difference in my own life.
I’m a certified yoga therapist specializing in asana, pranayama, and Yoga Nidra for pain management and emotional well-being. I teach 200 and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training with a therapeutic approach to Yoga. I’m fascinated with the moon and have been studying it for years. I’m especially interested in the moon phase goddess and I have made an oracle deck to work with them, as well as, an eCourse on Teachable
My “Art of Yoga: Therapeutic Essentials 300-hour Teacher Training” is at-your-own-pace and you can start anytime. I’m co-teaching many of these workshops with amazing yogis/yoginis. On Fridays, I teach a free African-American Centered Yoga Therapy Tools and Conversations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention Class with Zee Cruise. I want everyone to take this class because we, as African-Americans, have double the risk of getting Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia.
Please join me and learn yogic techniques to keep your brain healthy. I’m the organizer of the meetup POC Yoga for All Bodies. There’s so much benefit to practicing yoga with other people of color where we can work on healing trauma in our community. I’m also the co-founder of Yoga Jubilee. We have so many events going on to amplify BIPOC/POC voices including training on Decolonizing Yoga and Dismantling Yoga.
To find out more about me, you can visit:
Yoga Therapy Talk (Facebook)
People of Color Yoga For All Bodies
Yoga Art Moon Exploration Black Owned by ArtYogaFusion on Etsy
If you want to see more “Meet The Community”, click here.