We’re back in the spotlight!  We sat down with ballet dancer, teacher and Refresh Yoga Center  Owner, LeeAnne Peña to learn a little more about her journey to the mat.

Hi LeeAnne! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

First, you come from a dance background. What drew you to yoga?

I’ve been performing my whole life whether through ballet, film or theater. I love yoga because it is internal. It has taught me stillness which I desperately need!

Is there an important difference between calling someone a ballerina vs a ballet dancer? Can you explain?

It’s more of a gender thing. Ballerina is only a girl, but ballet dancer is gender neutral and a less “intense” term.
I like ballet dancer because it’s truer to my journey of not strictly tutus and tiaras.

Describe your first yoga class at a local yoga studio and tell us why you went to a second class.

I started with prenatal yoga classes during my first pregnancy. It was such a great experience and they really emphasized the mind body connection between you and baby. It was such a peaceful place to be I loved it. Then I continue to go wherever Lindsey went! Luckily she’s an amazing instructor.

What made you decide to become a teacher?

It’s in my blood. More than half my family are teachers including my mom. I love seeing the “ah ha” moment when students understand what their bodies can do. I find great joy in their strengths. I cannot wait to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training to deepen my understanding and to grow my repertoire.

 What is your favorite asana (pose)/movement? Why?

Right now I’m working my strength back up for planks. I’m 3 months postpartum so I’m taking time to listen to my body.

Do you have a least favorite asana? Describe.

I find cobra pose very hard. I have a flexible back but my strength doesn’t always meet my flexibility.

Describe Core Strength & Length. Why is it important for students to incorporate this class into their routine?

“Build core strength with focus on all the abdominal muscles, hips, glutes and back. We will incorporate stretching to relieve muscular tension, improve joint range of motion, reduce muscle soreness and maintain normal functional muscular strength.”

My classes always focus on posture. Students usually tell me they can feel a difference in just a week. It’s not always something we give time and attention to but if you do you will feel the difference. It’s a great addition to your practice.

What do you do when you’re not teaching and running a successful yoga studio?

I’m with my family, husband, 3 year old daughter and 3 month old son. We love exploring the D.C. area and going on adventures. My husband and I also love to go dancing. He’s a better salsa dancer than I am!

What do you love about Refresh Yoga Center?

I love our community. We care about educating students and building a place that people love to be.

Thank you LeeAnne! Look for LeeAnne around the local Alexandria yoga studio managing the child minding program and teaching us to be strong in our core!

Refresh Yoga Center serves the community of Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia; Ft. Belvoir, National Harbor, Arlington, Del Ray, Annandale, Belle Haven and Oxon Hill. Offerings include beginner yoga, stretch classes, bootcamp (Sweat and Refresh),  prenatal yoga,  senior yoga, and Baby & Me. Child minding is offered as an answer to child care several times a week.  Find us on the 2nd floor at 110 King Street near the waterfront.