After moving from New York City, back to Bellingham... one of the first places I visited was Sawaya Fitness. A few friends and former clients told me that I would really like the owner, Alaina Sawaya. So I popped in there to see if she was there, and her husband Brandon Sawaya (photographer/designer) gave me her card. A bit nervous to meet this athletic woman who looked stunning in all of her fitness modeling photos, I went to our first meeting (workout). She was my first new friend in Bellingham, after being gone for over two years. I felt right at home in her studio, she was someone to collaborate with on projects, workouts and enjoy mama life with. Now almost three years later, we have created two awesome RMAX products together, Primal 12 and now the Clubbell Yoga Prenatal DVD, with a few more in the works for the coming years. Check out this special interview with the extremely talented Alaina Sawaya.
Me: Alaina, you are very athletic ... what types of sports/activities have you been involved in?
Alaina: Competitive swimming, rugby, mountain biking & trail running are the sports Ive specifically trained for, but I feel most alive on the open water or in the alpine wilderness. Sea kayaking, paddle boarding, and volunteering as a mountaineering guide in BC are a few ways I make that happen.
Me: Would you consider yourself a yoga type person? A yogi? Why or why not?
Alaina: A Yogi? I wouldn't use that language, no. Americanized yoga has often felt elitist and exclusive to me, and inaccessible to strength & endurance athletes. I consider myself more of a movement specialist. I do however resonate with the the simplicity of yoga philosophy, as I understand it, that : mind, body and spirit are all interconnected and cannot be compartmentalized.
A "yogi" is a practitioner of yoga, which I suppose I am, in my own way, as a strength coach who integrates continuous breath-movement connection while teaches mobility & stability through dynamic ranges of motion.
But the term "yogi" is also used to refer specifically to "one who is accomplished" in "exercise or training" for the purpose of pursuing a spiritual goal. My faith journey does inspire my physical and mental discipline, however I am far from accomplished in this process. I value meditation through movement and prayer for the purpose of cultivating generosity and service to others.
Me:Tell us about your family/work life? How do you balance family and owning a training business?
Alaina: I believe balance is a dynamic process rather than a static state. By definition balance is a state of equilibrium in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts of importance to prevent falling... But in life this is an ever evolving and very active process that rarely feels easy. To be honest, I often feel like I'm falling. Being married to a talented sports & lifestyle photographer, and together wrangling two very active little girls, i aim to keep my life both play-ful & organized. In order to do this I simplify; Allowing large margins for error and the unexpected, Planning less to be more present in my relationships, and saying no to opportunities that distract from my core values and goals.
I am passionate about my roles as a movement educator, an involved mother and supportive partner. For this reason, my work is integrated into the fabric of my life so that I do not feel fragmented. My professional success hinges on maintaining a consistent family rhythm and a thriving relationship with my three most important people.
Me: What would you want a prenatal client to know about this program?
Alaina: This program can, and should, be used to prepare for, train through, and recover from an active pregnancy. It is for athletic women, having a consistent history of training and movement, who want to enjoy an active pregnancy. It allows women to remain challenged athletically in the early stages of gestation, while safely regressing through each trimester.
Me: How often did you do Clubbell Yoga during pregnancy?
Alaina: Depending on how I felt, sometimes every-other day, sometimes only once or twice a week. Having trained with primal 12 & Tacfit, i was conditioned to keep the intensity a little higher going into my second pregnancy. Early in pregnancy I craved a lot more of the resisted yoga flows and strength circuits, but as the months progressed I naturally backed off and adjusted to a gentler weekly routine. I often used just the warmup & cool down movements on days when I needed to recover and facilitate circulation. I would also take time for quiet meditative prayer & savasana daily as a way to check in with my body and mindfully approach the day. Cultivating a relationship with baby begins before birth, so I made daily space for gratitude and patience... Which I found becomes a lot more challenging the second time when you have a toddler sprinting around you!
The program can be used as a continuous follow along workout, or customized by accessing individual chapters to create your own routine according to your needs. It's comprehensive to enable each woman the tools she needs to care for her body well.
Me: Any favorite inspiring quotes for new moms?
"Comparison is the thief of joy."
- Theodore Roosevelt
"Let go of what you think you are supposed to be (as a woman, a partner, a mother) and embrace who you truly are."
- Brené Brown
"You cannot give your children that which you do not have; begin by offering yourself the encouragement and compassion you desire to give them. You can learn together how to love each other well."
- Alaina sawaya
Hope you enjoy! Checkout the youtube video for Clubbell Yoga Prenatal below!
Engaged in the movement toward more functional fitness. Mama, entrepreneur, leader, mentor, and co-creator of Clubbell Yoga.
Co-Creator of Clubbell Yoga, Movement & Performance Specialist, Head Coach at RMAX International