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Meet Di Cannone — baker & beginner yogi.

Sunday, May 11, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

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One of the greatest rewards of my work as a yoga teacher is getting to know, learn from and be inspired by the people who take my courses. As we’re gearing up for the next round of 30 Days of Yoga, we wanted to stop and put the stoplight on a few of the students who have inspired us over the years.

Today we’re featuring Di Cannone, an alumna of the Beginner version of the course. She inspires us — and we think she’ll inspire you too.

-1From an early age, Di loved to bake. She went to college and studied chemistry, which really isn’t so different from baking—cooking up things in the lab instead of the kitchen. But by the time she finished her degree, she wasn’t sure if she actually wanted a job as a chemist, and ended up becoming an accidental banker. She still loved to bake and did lots of it in her spare time, sharing cakes, brownies, breads, and much more with friends and coworkers. Over time, she finally believed all the people who told her that she should sell her baked goods, and opened a home bakery business in addition to her banking career. Just recently, after 20 years in the financial services industry, Di finally ditched the “n” for good and left banking to focus on being a baker and business owner.

Di lives near Austin, Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband Jamie and daughters Brianna and Gillian, who seem to think that all baked goods should include chocolate. You can check out her business, To Di For Bakery, at todiforbakery.com.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m 43, and am married with two daughters who are in elementary school. That has its challenges, since my older daughter is at the pre-teen stage. But I have three younger sisters, so I have some idea of what to expect. I’ve lived all over the US—I was born in New York and grew up mostly in northeastern Pennsylvania. I went to school in Pasadena, CA and lived in Seattle, WA and Boulder, CO before moving to the Austin, TX area where I’ve lived for the past 15 years. I like living here except for during July and August, when I try not to go outside more than I have to. As mentioned in my bio, I love to bake, and am turning that passion into a way to support myself and my family. I’m also an avid reader.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

I’ve been practicing yoga since March 2013, when I took the 30 Days of Yoga course.

You took the Beginner’s Version of the course. What made you decide to take the course?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken several online courses. A good friend of mine introduced me to Andrea Scher’s courses, including Mondo Beyondo. I was part of Andrea’s first Cultivating Courage course in the fall of 2012, and got to know a number of people through that.

One of them recommended taking 30 Days of Yoga and other people also recommended Marianne as a teacher. I started down this whole path because I was pretty unhappy, especially with my work-life balance. I was overworked and stressed out, and I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. Yoga sounded interesting—I wanted to find some sort of physical activity that I would enjoy and stick with, and I really wanted to reduce my stress level.

I’m curious about whether your yoga practice has birthed any clarity in your life — big or small.

I’ve gotten a lot of clarity through my yoga practice. Yoga has taught me to listen to what my body is telling me, and trust myself. I needed to take better care of myself. It got to the point where I just couldn’t stand to be so miserable in my life anymore.

A couple months ago I decided that it was time to make some serious changes, and gave notice at my job. My last day was March 31st. Right after I turned in my notice, an opportunity came up that I couldn’t pass up—my local yoga studio lost one of their staff members and the owner asked if I’d be interested in working with them. So now I’m working part- time there while I work to grow my home bakery business.

Tell me about your yoga practice now, post-course. What’s still working for you and what challenges come up?

Toward the end of my 30 Days of Yoga course, I found a great local studio, The Yoga Room. (I actually found it because at the time, one of the teachers had gotten certified through Anna Guest-Jelley’s Curvy Yoga program.) It’s a fantastic community. I also did Marianne’s 90 Days of Yoga course to solidify my home practice. I’ve taken a number of workshops through my local studio, including two series that were designed to help me reinforce and expand my home practice.

Currently I practice at the studio a couple days a week and practice at home a couple days. Even on the days I don’t roll out my mat, I find myself taking time to do a few poses in between my other activities. That being said, I still struggle with resistance to my practice at times. I had a hard time during the holidays, for instance. And I’m having some trouble right now because I’ve spent the past month trying to figure out the new routine for
my life. I’m still experimenting to see where my practice best fits into that.

What words of encouragement do you have for fellow beginner yogis — or those wanting to get started?

I admit, when I watched the first couple videos in the Beginners course, I had a lot of doubts about my ability to do the poses. But it’s like anything else—it gets easier as you practice more. Just don’t get discouraged if it feels harder before it gets easier.

It takes time to build stamina and retrain your body to do something different from what it’s always done. It may not work for everyone, but for me, being part of a community, whether online or in person, helps immensely. And don’t be afraid to try different things until you find what works for you.

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Do you have questions about the 30 Days of Yoga Course? Find more here.

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