Student Feature: Gifford Kasen
Gifford has been attending classes here since 2015 and his dedication to his yoga practice is admirable. Even when we don’t see him for a few weeks here and there, he always returns with a renewed energy. I have enjoyed getting to know Gifford better and as a fellow small business owner (even in a totally different industry) I find that we have a lot of the same challenges (and wins!) He recently tattooed a beautiful wildflower piece on my arm - if you haven’t seen it, ask me! Besides the beautiful work, he was extremely easy to work with and chat with for 6 hours! I highly recommend him……
I’m so happy that Gifford is a part of our community and if you see him around the studio, maybe ask him (nicely) to play the sax for us sometime :)
Here’s some more about Gifford……
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Favorite Color: ummm, I guess I'm more into color combinations. That being said, warm and cool green combinations.
Favorite Movie: The Lobster
What would your last meal be? My Dads Kung Pao Tofu
What brought you to yoga? Life. Stress. Back Injuries. A decade plus of tattooing.
What brought you to TULA?
At first, accessibility, it being a block away from work. After regularly attending for several years I'd say I really enjoy the diversity of classes and the sense of community I get. It's also nice to get feedback from teachers I've been going to for a longer period of time. Even in the "easier" classes I think they find ways to try to challenge me (sometimes the challenge is trying to take it easy, ha!).
What is your favorite yoga pose (and why)? Right now, standing balance poses, because I have a really hard time with them. They humble me every single time.
What are the benefits you have experienced from a regular yoga practice? I feel great! All of my old injuries don't bother me. My neck and hands don't feel cramped up all the time anymore, and long hours working don't seem to bother me. Mentally, I generally feel much better focused and my anxiety levels are pretty low. I don't want to get too much into my personal life, but I'll say that I started yoga six months into opening a business, and If I hadn't started a yoga practice I don't know that I would have had the skills needed to deal with the stress of it.
What is your Least favorite pose (and why)?
Half splits/splits. Just can't do it. Haven't made any progress on it. An old injury makes it hurt if I try to push it.... I don't hate it, I like to keep trying it, but it is like a brick wall that shows me my limitations.
What advice you would give someone just starting yoga?
Try a handful of different teachers/classes and see what works for you. And of course, enjoy yourself!
What is your favorite after-yoga activity? Usually grabbing some lunch at the Chicago Diner before I start my appointments for the day.
List 3 fun facts we don’t know about you:
1. Gifford is in fact my first name, It was my Grandmother's maiden name.
2. I own Logan Square Tattoo and am a full time artist there.
3. Before I was a tattooer, I played the saxophone in some jazz and blues combos. I probably won't play the saxophone for you, even if you ask nice.