Finding Inspiration Together with... Eileen Larios, RYT Black Swan Yoga
Updated: Jan 23
I’ve always had a sort of love/hate with yoga. I’m just too loud, too hyper, too fidgety, too too too….. And while I’ve always longed to be one of those top-knot wearin’, green juice sippin’ , mat carryin’, midriff-barin’ zen girls, the fact is, it’s just not me. But then I took Eileen Larios’s yoga class at Black Swan Yoga, and I realized that truly is a yoga for everyone. This girl’s personality is BIG—and she has a heart to match. From holding free community classes for the elderly to working towards her dream of bringing free yoga to the homeless population Eileen leads her life with good intentions, both on and off the mat.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I got my RYT (registered yoga teacher) certification 3 years ago at the age of 20, but I’ve been practicing since I was 13. I teach at Black Swan Yoga as well as Yoga on Bulverde.
What is about yoga that drew you to the practice?
I came to yoga from a different angle—I was depressed and not very self-accepting. I felt I was “lacking” in so many aspects of my life. Yoga gave me confidence and an acceptance of myself because it is one of those practices that allows you to be exactly who you are---whether that’s bouncy and loud or still and quiet. It’s not about changing who you are—it’s about enhancing it. It helped me learn to manage frustration and anger, and gain contentment with life as it is, as well as what it can and should be if you put in the effort. It’s a good reminder to me that the only thing I can control is my reactions.
You have a special place in your heart for the elderly population and donate your time to give them yoga instruction. How did that start?
I was working as a caregiver for some elderly clients, and I realized I wanted to help them find more movement in their lives. When I became a RYT, I began offering free classes at a senior community center. This population has special needs so I like to guide them through chair yoga, which allows them to focus on balance, alignment and flexibility while the chair supports most of the weight. We also practice guided meditation, which has been proven to be highly effective in helping seniors strengthen both their short and long term memory. Helping people is my passion and it’s such a blessing to work with seniors and get to know them. You form some special bonds.
Your passion for helping people extends to the homeless population. Explain your “Project Lighthouse” program:
As a teacher, I feel it is my duty to offer my services to those in need, so I decided to create a non-profit program that would take literally take yoga to the streets so that the homeless population could experience the restorative benefits of the practice. I call it “Project Lighthouse,” and my goal is for it become a global movement. Breathing techniques and meditations can do so much to help people with anxiety, depression, and other mental issues. I believe that offering people services to check in with themselves both physically and mentally is so important—especially among the homeless who don’t have easy access to these resources and tools.
What advice would someone who's intimidated by yoga?
Have fun! It doesn’t have to be so serious! Yoga is about exploring and finding what works for you in your body and discovering where you want to take it. Breathe through it, knowing that every time you take a rest, you rise up stronger—in yoga and in life.