By: Joe Cardoso
As we adjust to the “new normal” and wait for the all-clear to return to going out, we all have to be looking for ways to stay active and not just laps to get snacks. Not that those steps don’t count, but you get the idea. Home workouts and also joining the craze, which is IG LIVE is all the rage, and if it gets you up and moving, why not? One thing to know is that we are all in this together and when we are able to a lot of people, who have not been into fitness are ready to go all in. The spotlight on fitness series keeps rolling and this month, we return to the world of Yoga. Born in Brazil and now calling the DMV home with a passion for animals and teaching, and a PhD & Clinical Pathologist Specialist we introduce you to Marina Monobe.
Joe Cardoso: Let’s start with animals! You are an animal lover at heart when did that start, and at what point did you know being a vet was what you wanted to do?
Nina Monobe: Becoming a veterinarian was the most logical path, because, ever since I can remember, I’ve always been helping animals. From helping abandoned pets to feeding horses in the park, my connection with animals was strong. As a result, I am sure my childhood was not easy on my parents with me frequently finding random animals to bring home.
JC: How did you discover yoga?
NM: Back in high school I became addicted to running. It would be my go-to exercise and the most effective stress relief. Unfortunately, my minimal knowledge, coupled with a lack of concern with total body conditioning and balanced muscle strength, lead me to suffer a knee injury. That injury drove the need for low impact exercise, which in turn took me to my first yoga class and I haven’t stopped since then.
JC: We got to know, that first yoga class how was it?
NM: It was challenging, humiliating, and not even close to what I was expecting. First of all, I had this misconception that yoga would be a stretching routine, mostly performed by seniors, or people with injuries. I remember being afraid of trying a class and it is super boring, with long meditations. I was totally wrong and I immediately discovered Yoga has many different styles and most of them aim to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance. My first yoga class was Power Yoga. I remember taking breaks and being ashamed for not being able to touch my toes in a “simple” fold, while people twice my age were so much more flexible and stronger. The shame, combined with the physical challenge made me a regular in Power Yoga. Lately, I left behind all my misconceptions and tried more traditional styles such as Ashtanga and Yin Yoga.
JC: For people who haven’t tried yoga, can you explain its benefits and how it is much more than just an exercise?
NM: Yoga is body-mind work. I often tell people that yo,ga makes you flexible and strong from the inside out. It all starts on the “outside” or the physical part. Your flexibility, range of motion, endurance, and muscle strength improve as well as proprioception. As you perform asanas or poses, you become aware of your body limitations and learn how to mindfully progress your practice. As you repeat the sequence of movements matching your breathing, you center your mind, bringing yourself into the present finding what I call meditation in movement. So, on the mental aspect yoga improves will power, while decreasing anxiety and stress.
JC: What steps do you take to keep your positive attitude towards life?
NM: There are 3 key elements to keep a positive mind: practicing gratitude, living in the moment, and avoiding expectations. As you stop expecting certain results you let go from the future. You learn to trust the process and at some point, you believe that everything happens for a reason. Taking a few minutes of your day to think about things that you are thankful for – people in your life, memories, accomplishments – is a way to live in the present and find happiness. A positive mind struggles as any other, but just like a physical workout, the more you practice being positive toward situations, the better you overcome dark moments in your life.
JC: You are from the beautiful country of Brazil, what do you miss the most about home?
NM: The weather would be my number 1! I love my outdoor practice, no heavy winter clothes, moving freely. Additionally, the tropical weather allows more variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available all year long!
JC: Washington DC is a place that has people from all over the world. What are somethings you love about the DMV and some things you don’t?
NM: I love almost everything except the traffic! I love the variety of food from all over the world, the beautiful parks and green areas, availability of public bikes & bike trails, great public transportation to all outdoor events. I adore its cultural diversity as it brings together a more open-minded community. However, traffic can be brutal if you don’t live close to your workplace and housing is expensive, but for someone like me who lived in San Francisco (CA), it is not that costly!
JC: What do you get out of teaching classes?
NM: Teaching brings me a sense of community. Helping people reach their goals is priceless for me. Their journey becomes my journey and together we feel accomplished. It is truly a joy.
JC: Before the end of 2020, you want to accomplish_______?
NM: Specialization in Yoga Therapy.
JC: Social media is a big part of the brand you are building, what part has it played?
NM: Social Media is part of my yoga & fitness journey. From the physical aspects to my thoughts and beliefs, you can find it all there. It did not start as a brand purpose, it started as a way to keep myself motivated by looking at my progress and how my body & mind changed over time with practice. Now it is my voice to spread the benefits of yoga, breaking down misconceptions that I once had.
JC: When not in the studio we can find you______?
NM: Office or home. Weekends, mostly outdoors!
JC: Who is Nina Monobe?
NM: Nina (Marina) Monobe expresses her love to help others through her veterinary and yoga practice. She graduated as a Veterinary Doctor in Brazil and moved to the USA to work as a researcher and teaching assistant while finishing her Ph.D. During her cultural transition time, she found herself practicing yoga as a therapeutic exercise to fight anxiety and depression. Nowadays, she is an Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor and AFAA Fitness Instructor. Nina teaches a wide variety of yoga styles, from traditional Vinyasa Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga with mediation music to Power Yoga and yoga with weights with pop music. Her mission is to bring awareness to people that yoga can be fun and make you flexible, balanced, and strong from the inside out!
In the house bored why not try yoga? Thanks to Nina for the time and letting us peek into what has been a fun journey and still going. Where will the spotlight shine next is anyone guess, maybe on you feel free to shoot us an email. Stay healthy and safe! Find more about Nina and her classes at: