Featured Instructor: Santiago Hernandez
Santiago Hernandez has been practicing yoga since 2009, when he moved to the U.S. from Argentina to start a new life chapter with his partner. He began to find himself drawn to the study of movement and started to develop a passion for yoga while working in the restaurant industry in Charlottesville, Va.
As an avid swimmer, hiker and seasonal runner, Santiago says he enjoys the different approach that yoga brings to fitness.
“I always like to open students’ minds that yoga is not a workout class, but rather it brings purpose and focus into your movements. Yoga integrates more than just the physical aspect, it will bring awareness into all aspects of your life if you allow it to,” he says.
Although he was already actively practicing yoga, Santiago credits the Charlottesville yoga community for really kick-starting his passion for teaching.
“I was surrounded by so many knowledgeable yoga teachers. They really had a great mindfulness of the practice and made me want to develop my practice more,” he says.
Santiago is currently in school for massage therapy at the Potomac Massage Therapy Institute and expects to receive his certification in the next six months (we hope to see him at Aura spa in the future!)
Massage and yoga, as it turn outs, complement each other pretty nicely.
“My knowledge of massage has definitely improved my yoga practice and vice versa. They are both healing arts and are closely tied into each other. They both build proprioceptive awareness (being aware of how your body is positioned in space) and how it moves and functions,” he explains.
Santiago has been teaching alignment yoga at City Vista for eight months and says that teaching in a gym rather than a yoga studio has been a new and exciting experience for him. He enjoys having new people in his classes that are trying yoga for the first time, and loves giving those who have been practicing for awhile a new approach to try.
Since starting to teach at VIDA, Santiago has started to add weight lifting into his own fitness routine three times a week, and feels that it is only making his yoga practice stronger.
“It’s nice to have yoga in the gym because then you get a number of disciplines all in one place. It’s good to integrate them all and try a hybrid of different things,” he says.
So what’s Santiago’s favorite yoga pose?
“Definitely downward dog – I call that my ‘Island pose’ because if I could only take one pose to an island with me it would be that one. You have the inversion, the forward fold, the back bend, and your feet are planted in a standing position so it covers a lot of bases. It’s very expansive and integrated,” he says.
When Santiago isn’t teaching or in school, he enjoys spending time with friends, reading a good book or trying new restaurants in the city! Asian and Italian foods are his weakness, he adds.
Santiago teaches alignment yoga at 6pm on Wednesdays at City Vista, and is always looking for new faces to join his class!
“No matter where you are in your yoga practice, it’s my pleasure to have them in class,” says Santiago.