I started practicing at Juice Box Yoga in 2006; I was 12-years-old.
I hardly remember my first class; I remember it was something I could do with my mom.
Going to yoga felt like a chore to me; it was like doing homework.
My relationship with yoga has changed as I’ve matured.
I stopped practicing [when] I was 16 or 17.
I stopped practicing because my mom died.
I just couldn’t keep up with it.
I was still in high school.
I was just trying to survive.
I was trying to get through my days and graduate high school and go to college.
I went to college on Long Island at this little college called Adelphi University. I went for theatre; they gave me a scholarship.
It was right on the train to New York City. I would go to New York City every weekend. I had so much fun, but it wasn’t my home.
It had been less than a year since my mom died.
My community was in Reno, my friends were in Reno, everything that I felt really connected to was in Reno.
I finally moved back to Reno [in 2013] because college just wasn’t working out for me.
There was nothing in school that particularly interested me.
I started [taking classes again at UNR] in 2013.
I would take a class and then I would take a semester off and then I would take two classes and then take a semester off. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.
I liked the subject matters because I liked learning, but I just I didn’t care to do the homework. It all felt very pointless to me.
I was like yeah, knowledge is cool, but jumping through hoops to please these professors just seems so… like… why am I doing this?
I didn’t have an end goal.
I think if you have an end goal, [if] you know what you want to do, it’s easier to jump through those hoops.
I didn’t have that.
I just felt like I’m going to finish college when I’m 60.
It felt impossible.
People who go to school and are taking 15 credits and are there every single semester and are doing all their homework and are getting good grades… that’s amazing.
Those people are super heroes.
My Mom’s Legacy
I had a lot of things I was passionate about that I wanted to do, but school was always just this big thing in the way. A lot of the things I wanted to do were very academic so you had to have a bachelor’s degree.
I’m really passionate about sex ed; I would love to be a sex educator.
I love animals; I would love to do almost any job where I get to work with animals.
Ever since I was a kid, I thought I was going to go off and live in the wilderness and be a wildlife biologist.
If I ever decide to go back to school it’s going to be for biology.
[The Bikram Method Teacher Training] was such a spur of the moment decision for me.
It was a way to keep my mom’s legacy alive.
It was inevitable.
It really changed my entire relationship with yoga.
It no longer was this juvenile thing where I was like, ugh, it’s homework, I’ve just got to suck it up and do it.
It was more like I [wanted] to be there.
I’m really passionate about [yoga]; it changes people’s lives.
It was so interesting to me when I was younger because I wasn’t necessarily enjoying being there every day, but I still believed in it. My friends would have aches and pains and I was like, ‘You should do yoga,’ but I was hardly doing yoga because I didn’t want to do it.
I’ve always had this [mentality that yoga] is something I truly believe in, something I know works.
Suddenly, it just sort of clicked: this is important. What I’m doing is important.
This Teacher Training allowed me to be connected to my mom.
It’s for me, but it’s also for her.
[My mom] was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 2008.
I think the yoga gave her hope.
I think the thing that kept her going, the thing that helped her the most, was she had [a] community at Juice Box Yoga.
It was something consistent she did, something she loved.
It kept her going mentally.
It was just me and my mom.
She was a single mom; she raised me.
We were very close.
I would say my mom was more of a friend than a mom.
Have you ever seen Gilmore Girls? My mom and I both love Gilmore Girls; we liked it because we saw ourselves.
She was not close in age to me like Lorelai and Rory are, but we had that kind of friendship.
It didn’t even really feel like she was my mom; she was my best friend more than anything.
My dad does live in Reno, but he and I are not that close.
I don’t feel like it’s a father child relationship; I feel like [he’s] more like someone I have breakfast with once a month.
Ever since I was maybe 5 or 6 we would go see plays at the Pioneer Center.
My mom would get season passes and we would go see all the plays.
I was raised around theatre; my mom had an appreciation for theatre.
I remember the first [play I saw].
It’s such an odd choice, but you know the play Rent?
It’s kind of edgy; it’s not super child appropriate.
It centers around the AIDS epidemic. It’s about all these people who are dying from AIDS, but there’s a line in the play that says they’re living with, not dying from, the disease.
To you, and you, and you, you, and you! To people living with, living with, living with- not dying from disease!
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer that’s the mentality we had.
She’s living with the disease.
She’s still doing yoga.
She’s not dying from it.
She’s living with it.
I think the biggest thing [I dealt with after my mom died] was depression and suicidal thoughts.
Mostly just depression and feeling like I just didn’t have a purpose or that I mattered at all, that my life… that I was doing anything important or that anyone needed me or cared about me.
Just feeling worthless.
Self-esteem is your own sense of self-worth. Am I worthy of this? Do I deserve this?
Self-confidence is how you are outwardly to people. I could be a very confident person and be very sure of myself on the outside, to other people, but inside I don’t really think that I’m worthy of those things.
Looking back, [when I was 12] I had no self-confidence.
I didn’t know how to talk to people; I was so quiet.
I was selectively mute.
My mom did all the talking and I’d hide behind her.
I had no confidence.
People [would] talk to me and if people [asked] me anything beyond the basics [I was] like, oh no, I don’t know how to handle this.
I just don’t have those social tools.
I’d just smile and nod until the interaction [was] over.
I’m a lot happier now.
I was not a very happy kid.
I didn’t understand how human relationships worked; I didn’t really have a lot of friends.
I’m on the autism spectrum; that makes it hard to connect with people.
I had my mom. [She] was the one constant thing.
When I was a kid, my mom was a part of the [Juice Box] community, but I wasn’t; I was just there because she was there.
Now it’s not just my mom’s thing, it’s also my thing.
Everyone is super supportive and super accepting.
When I first started getting back into yoga, especially after my surgery, I was really nervous that people would say things.
A lot of people I’ve been practicing with have known me since I was 12, so it was like, what’s going to happen? What are they going to say?
I clearly look different.
People see me and I’m not necessarily like everyone else, but I don’t feel any discrimination.
Everyone is just so nice; I never leave in a bad mood.
Everyone is happy to be there.
I get to work with people who aren’t doing something against their will; they’re doing something they want to do.
It would have been so easy to just bully me or not be very nice to me.
I found a lot of really good people who believed in me and wanted me to succeed.
Finding the right people, who [were] just there to support me, is what changed everything.
I had my little group of friends. We were all trans and queer.
That was [the] community I was from.
I was a queer person and that was my identity.
If you venture outside that community you get a lot of issues with people not getting your pronouns right, people misgendering you and people just not getting it.
So, I was like, you know what, this is MY community. I’m going to stay here.
When I started my Teacher Training at Juice Box I had this mentality, it was like, okay, I’m going to have to deal with this. I’m going to have to deal with the real world… with people who are not queer… most of them are straight.
I’m going to have to explain things to a lot of people and justify why I am the way I am.
I was not looking forward to it, but I really cared about the yoga, so I made that sacrifice.
I ventured out of my little queer circle, which I didn’t think I would ever do.
I remember, I met up with Tanya the week before [the] Teacher Training started.
I was like, okay, well, I’m going to ask to see if the gender thing is going to be an issue.
I [had] already had my surgery at that point.
It was going to be very obvious.
I asked her, ‘Would it be possible for you to use different pronouns? My pronouns are they/ them, but I will accept he/ him if you absolutely can’t do that.’
Tanya was like, ‘Yeah, totally!’
I was so shocked.
Tanya and Brandon advocated for me in a way that I was not expecting. [That’s] really what has given me the self-confidence to be myself at Juice Box.
I thought people [were] going to just assume that I’m a woman. I’m just going to have to live in this space where I’m not comfortable because I’m not being treated like the gender I feel I am.
That was my mentality back then: I didn’t feel like I belonged because I didn’t belong in spaces that were not queer spaces.
I had a very cynical view of the world.
I didn’t think that people were ready for a trans person.
People who are non-binary usually don’t have this kind of luck.
If I worked somewhere else I don’t think I would have had this kind of luck; I think Juice Box is special.
At a different yoga studio, I don’t think I would have gotten the same respect.
I am so unbelievably grateful.
It makes me so emotional.
I never thought I would find this outside of the queer community.
I was coming [to yoga] before I had my surgery and that was really hard to do because I felt like my body was just wrong.
It’s really hard to stare at yourself in the mirror for 90 minutes when you have gender dysphoria.
I’ve always felt this way; I just didn’t have words for it when I was a kid.
The only choice they give you is boy or girl and I didn’t feel like I could say I was a boy because I was taught that boys have this type of body and I didn’t have that.
I [was] like, I guess I’m a girl… because what else is there.
When I was 19 or 20, I was on the internet and I started reading about gender and reading about trans things and I realized that there are trans people who are not binary, they’re non-binary.
The idea [that] there’s only 2 genders just seems unrealistic to me.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s as many genders as there are people.
I’m not a binary trans person.
Gender binary is the idea that there is man and woman and they’re opposites of each other.
That’s not what I am; I am trans, but I am non-binary.
I don’t identify as either a man or a woman; I’m neither of those things.
I’m a demiboy; I lean to the masculine side.
Demiboy is my label.
Gender queer is a more general label I use.
I have a sense that my mom is the one who orchestrates everything in my life.
That might sound weird to say, but… the house that I bought…
I love my house so much.
I found the most perfect house and it was on her birthday.
I felt like, this is my mom’s gift to me; she’s giving me a house.
It was everything I was looking for.
Then, Tanya offered [the Bikram Method Teacher Training] and I was like, this is the next thing.
My mom is making sure… my mom made sure that I have a place to live and [now] my mom’s making sure that I have a job.
Not just any job, a good job.
A job where people will respect me.
I wish my mom could know who I [am] now.
It’s really disappointing to me that I don’t get to have that relationship with her.
My mom didn’t know I was trans. She also didn’t know I was gay.
She didn’t [know] because I didn’t know those things [when she was alive]. It wasn’t like I was keeping it from her; I don’t think I would have kept it from her.
This week we have a guest chef: The Roasted Root!! To get the inside scoop on this delicious stir fry click here!!
Low FOD-MAP Veggie Stir Fry with Wasabi-Ginger Sauce
2 T olive oil or coconut oil
2 mediumcarrots,peeled and chopped
1 largeparsnip,peeled and chopped
1largecrown broccoli, chopped into florets
1mediumred bell pepper, cored and chopped
2tfresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 T coconut aminos
sea salt to taste
1/4cgrapeseed or olive oil
1 T rice vinegar
2 T liquid aminos
2t pure maple syrup
1 t fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1to 2 twasabi paste
1/4t sea salt
For the Wasabi-Ginger Sauce, add the grapeseed or olive oil, tahini, rice vinegar, liquid aminos, pure maple syrup, fresh ginger, wasabi paste and sea salt to a small blender and blend until creamy and well-combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat the 2 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the chopped carrots and parsnip. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Add broccoli and bell pepper and stir well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and begin turning golden-brown, about 8 minutes.
Add the ginger and coconut aminos and stir well. Continue cooking until ginger is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Serve veggie stir fry over cooked brown rice with a drizzle of wasabi-ginger sauce.
Do you want to be a guest chef? Email email@example.com if you do! xoxo
[A] former boxer that just wanted to get a good workout in.
I’d been working at a restaurant in a casino for so long; I didn’t even know the rest of the world actually existed.
I was definitely close minded.
[I] didn’t understand yoga.
[I was] kind of naive to it.
I was fit.
My core had never been so strong… My six pack…
I worked out! That was my shit! I worked out just to have a six pack.
I did millions and millions of sit ups and crunchies and medicine balls to the stomach.
So, to come into that workout for 45 minutes and [for] my core to just be done after the first set of freaking tabata, I was like what is this!
To walk out of there and be like damn, that made me feel out of shape, it was crazy.
I could go to the gym and lift and come in and do Tanya’s class at 10 on Sundays and feel like, holy shit; that is the ultimate workout.
That kept me coming back.
Everything Happens For A Reason
My ex-wife and I have been divorced for about 14 years, since [our daughter] Haley was 3. I had some relationships in between there, but I’m single, been single for 4-5 years now, just trying to find me I guess… Trying to figure me out.
When I lost my job a couple years ago it really rocked my world.
I didn’t even come to the studio for 2 or 3 months for whatever reason, I guess because I couldn’t afford it.
Tanya [lent] her hand out and she kept me in there.
To tell you the truth, it saved my life. I was pretty much going to go crazy.
Listening to those words and knowing that they had a meaning to what I was going through really meant a lot.
“You did the best that you could, with the best that you’ve got and your best is always good enough. No matter who you are, no matter where you come from and no matter what you do, it’s enough. It’s always enough.”
[There’s] so much energy [in that room] it just refueled me to learn that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand it at the beginning and maybe even if we don’t understand it at the end.
There’s always a reason.
I was blown away when that moment came.
Last September when I became an instructor, I was just like, holy crap, damn. This is why I was fired from my job. Okay, I’ll take it.
For [Tanya] to need somebody to step in and for me to be that person… Then for it to just take off like that… I owe her the world.
That’s why I’m in it now; I’m in it to win it for her.
I [had] worked there [for] 19 years when I was let go.
I was physically abused [at] my job.
During a shift, I was injured and I lost my job because of certain [company policies] that came with that injury.
Because I was injured as he put his hands on me, company policy [said] that I must be drug tested. I failed the drug test so I was let go.
It was amazing to me to think that people can put their hands on you in the work place and get away with it.
It’s all because it comes down to finances.
I have an ex-wife and kids; I’ve got to pay bills.
I was so used to living my life a certain way for T-W-E-N-T-Y years.
When your world is turned upside down you’re just like, what the hell.
December 2016, I cancelled my membership.
They didn’t see me for 2 months.
I started working at Feast and a friend of mine had been going to the Sierra Rose [studio] and I told her, ‘Oh, well next time you go in there tell Tanya I say what’s up.’
Kristina told her my story.
She was all like, ‘Yeah, yeah he had a little f*** up at work and so he…’ and Tanya was like, ‘Well tell his ass to get back in here because we need him in here because where the hell has he been!’
Man, I mean, I felt embarrassed, but definitely grateful… Thankful.
I never would of expected that from her.
Sugar Coat It
I left it on the mat.
Each drop of sweat [meant] something.
It was ugly.
I cried many times, you know, just why? How did I let him get away with that?
I’m not going to sugar coat it; the feelings are still there, they’re not going to go away.
I’m never going to forget that moment in my life.
Yoga is what kept me grounded.
Bikram and Pilates were the only things that would calm me down [and] make me feel like I [had] to make peace with it or I [was] going to go crazy.
It was that room.
It was that room that would just make it go away.
When a former coworker from the Silver Legacy walked into class…
Carlos looked the past dead in the eye.
He confronted the tears.
Oh my god, my mind just went crazy.
I was like, oh my god, not only did I get fired from there, but I come [to Juice Box Yoga] for peace and then I’m reminded of it… it’s not his fault or anything, I don’t even know if he knew what had happened, but just the fact that something would remind me of that…
That day when [he] came in, I totally just cried in that corner [of the room].
What. The. Heck. Man.
It was a tough road.
It really took Tanya’s love and strength… I don’t know… I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but that’s who she is.
Fat Little Six-Year-Old
I’ve always wanted my life to go [in this direction I] just wasn’t sure how and when.
Since I was a young teenager, since I was like 18 [and] boxing for the Boys and Girls Club, I’d always have little kids I would help [teach] from the beginning, you know, boom, boom.
One of [those little kids] is one of the best fighters in Reno right now, he fights for the Mighty Mites.
I’ve known him since he was 6-years-old. He’s 20 now, he’s a grown man and he is a great fighter.
I’ll never forget [when] my manager said, ‘You see that fat little six-year-old kid over there, he’s going to make it.’
14 years later he’s one of the best fighters in Reno.
I never [had] time to be a fitness instructor.
Working in the food industry, it would just take my time.
I didn’t want to do it during the day because that would mean going to work for the gym.
Every time I would go to the gym, I’d see a personal trainer, one on one, [and they] definitely never looked like they were the happiest people in the world.
I knew a personal trainer like that wasn’t me.
I didn’t know what my calling was.
I knew I wanted to teach boxing but the restaurant industry was there. It’s a casino, I made consistent money, I’d worked there forever, I had regulars.
My money was always the same.
I don’t like change. I hate change.
It’s taught me how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The Six Pack
I’m in a perfect spot right now when it comes to my employment.
Helping other people get healthier is a big goal of mine.
I tell my kids, ‘You don’t want to wait too long to start exercising because then it’s too late.’
I use Juice Box as a way to get people to start coming in so then they keep coming back and they find their happiness within being healthy.
I’m a teacher; I love to teach.
We can all learn something new, it doesn’t matter who you are, you can always learn something new.
I can teach you something new.
My thing [is] to teach you to want it more than the next person. That’s going to make him want it more so you’re going to have to keep pushing more and more. That’s what it’s about.
It’s pushing ‘til your six pack gets like [this].
I keep telling them, ‘Suck it in a little bit more.’
‘You guys got it.’
When Tanya hired me, I looked at every single student as one of my fighters.
I treat them the same way.
They’ve already been training with me for 5 months.
They all feel their strength; they all see the difference in their body.
The challenge is to challenge them to challenge a little bit harder.
That’s what fighters do.
I am this happy, high spirited, super motivated person that is not going to be held back because I don’t want none of them to be held back.
I’m super motivated to motivate everybody.
I’m super happy to motivate everybody.
I definitely take it back to when I was 12-years-old and I started boxing. Those 12 years of fighting, if it wasn’t for those 12 years of discipline, it would be different.
I wouldn’t be the same person that I am right now.
5 days a week Carlos wakes up at 3:45 a.m.
3:45… 10-15 students, 10-15 students that have told me, ‘I wish we had more 5 a.m. classes.’
That was all the motivation I needed.
10-15 people, 5-15 people, that are like, ‘Hey man, if you can be here, we’ll be here.’
They have not disappointed.
That’s my motivation to get up every day.
I didn’t believe in myself in a lot of things because I never really challenged myself outside of the restaurant business, outside of boxing.
When the opportunity came it was super nerve racking.
I’m a shy person, I hate being in the spotlight, I do not like being in front of people, I dislike talking in front of people and that was all of it.
I was really nervous but I did believe at that moment when I taught you guys in that private class, that I could do this, that I could motivate people to be better people.
One of the best things that ever happened to me… I get to teach.
Tanya has done a great job of developing me.
She came [to] me and was like, ‘Uh… maybe just a little too much upper body still for the ladies…’ and it was funny because as soon as she said that, this older lady comes out of the room to get a kettle bell and she’s just got these guns and Tanya looks at her, gives her the kettle bell, turns around, and says, ‘X that. I want arms like that!’
She’s done a great job of keeping me centered, keeping me level, keeping me grounded and not letting me get too crazy, [enabling me] to get the best out of all of [the students].
“I love this recipe! Green Bean Casserole is a staple at our Thanksgiving Dinner. But… it’s just WAY TOO GOOD to only eat once a year! So… being thankful AF was a good enough reason to make this yummy dish this weekend! IT. IS. SO. GOOD. It’s super easy and of course VEGAN! Please share your pictures and RECIPES with us! We want to see what you’re making in your kitchen and hear about the meals that you cook!” ~Tanya Rose
Green Bean Casserole
1 c of soaked raw cashews, soak for one hour or longer
1 small cauliflower head, chopped into small florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 small mushrooms, chopped
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 boxes of fried onions
2 c almond milk (or your favorite non dairy milk)
1 T of Braggs Amino Acids or your choice of soy sauce
1/2 c nutritional yeast (more or less to taste)
Himalayan Sea Salt
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and sauté garlic, the onion, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste. Once fragrant, add the milk and cauliflower.
When cauliflower is soft, add the sauté mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. If you like chunkier mushrooms blend less or add them last. Add the strained cashews and the nutritional yeast. Add Bragg’s or soy sauce to taste.
In a large bowl, mix the contents of the blender, MOST of the fried onions (save some to sprinkle on top) and the green beans.
Pour mixture into a baking dish and top with remaining fried onions. Bake until bubbly and brown on top.