By Melinda Mattos
When former WWE personality Trish Stratus retired from wrestling last year, she left the squared circle behind for a different kind of mat. Now a certified Ashtanga yoga instructor, Stratus is putting the finishing touches on her new yoga studio, Stratusphere, which opens in Vaughan at the end of April. EYE WEEKLY chatted with her about how she went from dishing out signature moves like the Stratusfaction to perfecting her downward dog.
Most of us know you as a wrestler. How long have you been practising yoga?
I've been doing yoga for about almost four years. I had an injury from wrestling; I had a herniated disc in my back and going to traditional physiotherapy just wasn't helping me. After two months of that, I did yoga for the first time at a class up here in North York. Two and a half months later, my back was completely back to normal..., I went back to wrestling and finished off my career for a few more years with no back pain.
Not only did yoga give me rehabilitation, but it centred me. I had this crazy lifestyle of being on the road for 250 days a year [and yoga] really allowed me to go back and handle everything. It was a great addition to my repertoire.
What was your motivation for starting a yoga studio of your own?
I found that to do yoga, I had to go downtown or I had to do one type of yoga at one studio. We're trying to do something like your one-stop yoga shop. We have three different studios, so one day you feel really stressed, you can go do a restorative class. One day you feel like you need a challenge, so you go do a power class.... Sometimes I kinda go, "I think I opened the studio just to give myself a place to practise every day." That's part of the reason. I'm a certified Ashtanga instructor as well, so I'm going to teach classes eventually but we've hired the top instructors in Toronto, so I'm going to let them handle that. But I'll be doing my daily practice there.
Many of us have been in hibernation all winter. Why should we get off our asses and get active this spring?
It just feels so good when you're active, on so many levels. I always say, "Get your endorphins going and you're sure to feel good." And as soon as you're active and your body starts responding, you feel great because you look great.
Why is yoga a good choice?
Because it's so versatile. It's very safe and you can tailor your practice to suit your needs, so if you've been in hibernation for a while, you can get back in with the beginner class, then move up to the advanced class or a different type of yoga.
Got any other tips for folks looking to get fit?
Listen to your body. It'll tell you if you're pushing too hard. And if you listen close enough, it'll tell you to get off your butt and get your workout in — it's a quiet voice but it'll tell you. And give it time. So many people start for a week, then think it's not working and get unmotivated. I've been physically active for pretty much my whole career, but when I did a show called Armed and Famous for CBS, I was a cop and I was working the late shift and didn't work out for six weeks, and ate a lot of donuts —? I know that's a clich', but I did. When I started to work out again, I got really frustrated and for the first time, I understood. But it was just a matter of time. You put on the pounds and you have to take the time to lose the pounds.
How much time do you need to give a new routine before you feel the impact?
Give yourself a 30-day challenge and of course you're going to see results. By keeping with it for at least four weeks, you're going to see not only the physical results but mental results and the way your head's clearer and you're more stress-free.