I first met Kristina when we both were working at a museum exhibit design firm soon out of college. She was a graphic designer; I was a writer. Kristina’s sweet nature and ray-of-sunshine smile are the first things you notice about her. Kristina is the kind of person who, when you’re around her, makes you feel like everything in the world is amazing, as it should be, and anything is possible. (Which it is.)
Kristina has been teaching yoga for 10 years, and just recently helped open a new yoga studio, Hatha Yoga & Fitness, in Champaign, Illinois. She is an amazing dog mom already, and she and her husband, Todd, are having their first child — a boy! — in August.
“At this time in my life, my light-filled mornings are committed to helping others with theirs,” Kristina says. “When I was in college, I would roll out of bed directly onto my yoga mat and start my day with intentional movement. It’s so, so important to get your day going the way you want it to. And so I wanted to help facilitate that for others.”
Kristina wakes up at 4:40 each morning. She takes her two small dogs, Franny and Opi, on a walk, then has a smoothie, and comes to the studio to lead 6 a.m. yoga.
“My mornings are very streamlined, and my focus is on others. After that yoga class I say, ok, I can relax into my morning now… so I don’t often meditate before I come to the studio, but to be honest, walking the dogs at that time of day is pretty meditative.”
Hatha Yoga and Fitness is a gorgeous space that just feels like a breath of fresh air. Kristina and other teachers offer yoga, meditation, sculpt, and barre classes, as well as one-on-one and small group yoga, personal training, and coaching. Also, (coming soon!) Lululemon retail up front.
“We’ve only been open for a month,” Kristina tells me as she finishes giving the tour of her gorgeous new space. “And we moved to a new home last week! And the baby is due in August. So, I kind of put it all out there, all at once,” she laughs.
With the baby coming soon, Kristina says she knows her new routine will be very different. “I’m giving as much as I can to my students in the mornings now, and I’m excited to see what it will be like when he gets here.”
With the new home, Kristina says it’s been the “opposite” of nesting, but she feels very settled already in the new studio. “It’s been amazing to cultivate a dream into fruition… I used to have this laundry list of what I’d do when I had a yoga studio, and now it’s here.”
“It seems like the yoga studio went quickly from getting involved in the process in February… but really, I’ve been working toward this my whole life.”
Kristina has been cultivating an attitude of joyful action for years, and it shows in everything she does. “I’m really excited we’re having a boy,” she shares. “I grew up with all brothers, and so it’s easy to envision this little one as an older brother one day.” Her husband said they should count all the yoga classes their son has already attended, still in the womb. “We’re going to have this little guru baby,” Kristina jokes. “For the most part, I feel really at home in my body with the pregnancy, but then I’ll see photos and be like omg, that’s me? It’s new and natural, all the same.”
Every morning, Kristina does an Ayurvedic breathing practice, where she will cover her left nostril with her thumb and breathe 20 deep breaths out of her right nostril. Breathing through the right nostril gives her energy — it’s the sun side, for brightness, masculine energy, and awakening. “I love waking up at 4:40 and teaching, but it’s still hard sometimes! Those breaths help! On the weekend, I still do it — but then I just cuddle a dog instead of teaching class,” she says. “Every morning, when the alarm goes off, I breathe — with intention.”
“I heard this quote that went something along the lines of ‘I always feel lucky when I work really hard,’ and I definitely feel that… I always feel lucky when I put in the work, because to always be taking that next step towards fulfilling your dreams is what’s going to get you there.”