We had the good fortune of connecting with Hannah Rae Block and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hannah, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I used to think of myself as risk averse yet as I reflect, much of my adult life has been grounded in decisions that require close your eyes and jump moments. I was talking to a friend about this the other day. I put a lot of energy into the “ascent” to action. I run through all the scenarios, weigh the pros and cons, write out lists, journal, and talk it out with people close to me. I create a build up within myself leading to the risky decision and then there comes a point where I just go for it. I used to get stuck, almost frozen in the processing stage, I didn’t have a lot of trust and wanted to feel in control. The pivotal risky decision I made was in 2012, ten days after my sister died, I moved from the North East to San Diego to go to treatment for my eating disorder. It was this decision that shifted my perspective on risk taking, being so broken down, I figured I could continue going the way I was or try something different. I reminded myself that I could always go back to my old ways, but I can’t see what opportunities there may be out there unless I try. “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” This quote by Patrick Overton is what I repeated in my head as I made the decision to go to treatment, when I decided to open up Union Yoga, and most recently when I chose to step away from my role as owner and teacher at Union to pursue other aspects of my career. Taking risks allows me to repeatedly remember how temporary everything truly is, without risk I will find myself frozen in the illusion of safety while the world around me continues to progress.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What sets me apart is my mission to bring affordable yoga to my community with a focus on working with people recovering from eating disorders and other mental health issues. It is my own personal recovery and the support I received from my community that motivates me to continue to share these practices and further my studies. What I am really excited about right now are two things. First is my studies at The Soul Of Yoga where I am completing my yoga therapy certification. Second, I have been developing a coaching program for working with those recovering from eating disorders. I believe there is a gap in treatment for people once they leave treatment centers and for those who choose to take an outpatient approach to recovery. There are not enough resources to support the deep transitions that occur when moving from a high level of care such as inpatient treatment as well as the high level of isolation that can occur from engaging in addictive behaviors. I offer different levels of support while clients are still holding their everyday responsibilities such as school, work, and family. It has been integral in my own recovery to build new positive associations around food, exercise, and community. In combination with seeing a therapist and nutritionist I had close friends who would grocery shop, cook, and eat with me, no judgement, no pressure. It was this open and playful environment to re-explore aspects of life I had shut myself down to that allowed me to more fully integrate back into everyday life. I work individually with clients to meet their goals in a way that feels comfortable to them. The program combines yoga, pranayama, meditation, massage, meal support, grocery shopping support, mindful movement and exercise. Together we will use these tools to reform the way we interact with triggers and become more liberated to engage in life.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting for a week these would be snippets of our itinerary: Brunch at Farmers Bottega, head over to Balboa Park to walk through the gardens of roses, trees, and cacti. Explore the botanical gardens and check out some museums. Have dinner at Hiro Niro on Fifth Ave in Hillcrest. Grab a morning coffee or tea at Newbreak Cafe and walk the OB pier. Head over to dog beach and play with my dog Raptor, relax, read a book, and hop in the ocean. Head over to Hillcrest and eat at Poke Chop. Enjoy Salt & Straw ice cream while walking around Waterfront Park and the bay. Morning yoga at Soul of Yoga in Encinitas. Go to the meditation gardens. Grab lunch at Passage To India in Encinitas. Check out some of the awesome trails hidden around Rancho Santa Fe. Head back to southern SD and grab a burrito at Sayulitas, eat on Coronado watching the sunset and go for a walk around Coronado checking out the night view of downtown. Take a drive out to Mt Laguna for a day of hiking and a picnic. On our way back into the city stop at Yokohama Yakitori Koubou for dinner. Pack a lunch and head to sunset cliffs, climb down the rope at the southern end to get to the beach and spend the day there. Climb back up and watch the sunset on the cliffs. Make our way over to Trust in Hillcrest for dinner. If music venues are open head to Soda Bar and listen to some live music.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My dad definitely deserves some recognition in my story. If we go back to when I was little he was finishing his masters degree while staying home and taking care of me and my siblings. When I was learning to add in elementary school we would go in the backyard with my bike, he would give me a math equation and I would bike as far as 2+5 = 7. Our soundtrack was Yellow Submarine by The Beatles, every time we drove to swim meets, where he would sit on a pool deck for hours to watch me swim for a few minutes. When I was struggling with anxiety and depression and could not sleep he would take walks with me around New Haven, where we lived at the time, at 12am. His apartment is basically floor to ceiling covered with my sister and I’s art. He is a tough one for sure, his actions are soft and caring, and through all this love he definitely pushes me to get over myself, he lets me know when to wrap up my lamenting and take action. He moved to California right as we opened up Union Yoga and it would have been impossible to run the studio without him. He never practiced yoga before moving and he is coming up on two years of practicing every day! In my most recent transition of exiting my role at Union Yoga he stood by my side and lit the fire under my bum when needed. He has never stopped playing, he knows when to be serious, he harnesses his inner Grumpy (the dwarf from Snow White) when he has to break habits, but he breaks habits over and over again. I have seen him take steps to change and progress in ways others thought impossible. I am beyond grateful for his love and support and am really happy this is one of the questions in the interview.

Website: hannahraeyoga.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theflying_dakini/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannah.block.54

Other: Email: hannahraeyoga@gmail.com

Image Credits
Brian Figueroa

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