by Tracy (Intern)
Hi, I’m Tracy, an intern here at Faces Apparel. I’m writing about the Faces Behind our Community, the people we interact with around town in our everyday activities. Who are they? Ever wonder about the cashiers at the store, the trainers at the gym, or the mail carrier on your street? There are countless people who impact us every day, including the people who make the clothes we wear. Do we know who they are, their name, and their hopes? Faces Apparel wants to connect consumers to the people who make our clothing, but I wanted to first start here in our own community to practice what we preach. So through our Faces Behind the Label series, we’ll get to know a few people who have occupations similar to those in your own neighborhood.
My first interview is with Dray Gardner, a yoga instructor. Since yoga is popular and so many of my friends practice it, I thought it was a good place to start. Here’s what I learned about Dray:
How did you become a yoga instructor?
When I was 35, I hurt my back. I grew up throwing my body around like how the kids where I grew up did. I did a lot of boxing and fighting, such as UFC (before it existed). Then, I was told I had to get surgery, which I didn’t want to do. Most people I know who have back surgery are still on pain medication or therapy now, so I picked up a mat and tried a different way of treatment.
What is your passion?
I want to bring yoga to the poor and the disenfranchised. Yoga is traditionally free. You are supposed to be able to put a mat anywhere. Now it is a million dollar industry. That’s fine, but people are out to make money, which isn’t karma based. Yoga is my outlet for doing something good in the world. I want to change people’s perspective on yoga. I’m looking to bring yoga to the penal system as well. Yoga can change lives, if you are receptive.
Are there any other goals you have?
I want to travel the world and bring yoga to all. I travel a little, about once a month, but I can’t drop my life here. Being able to meet people everywhere would better myself. I always say, “Every student is my teacher.” I get to teach them yoga and in return they teach me as well.
Do people make assumptions about you based on your job?
I try to tell people, “Don’t take my kindness for a weakness.” I paint my toes to send a positive message to all, that your feet are part of your body so take care of them as well! I am also a non-traditional yogi. You don’t have to look how the stereotype is; you don’t need a beard and long hair to enjoy yoga.
Is there anything you want to tell our audience?
1. Love yourself enough to struggle, but most importantly love yourself. Tough times don’t last, tough people do!
2. Make a living…Living everyday.
3. Live everyday: wake up in gratitude, never taking any day for granted.
4. Make it a point to smile to a stranger because it might be the only sunshine they see all day.
5. Allow kindness and compassion to be a currency.
6. Allow no person to steal your peace, if that occurs you lose and they win!
I was inspired by hearing about Dray’s outlook on life, and his back story and journey. There is so much history that goes into a person’s life, and even though we may only meet them at one point, it is important to remember that they have a whole story.
Dray Gardner currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where he is a Yogi and a Yoga Instructor. He works with private clients in a studio and is a volunteer teacher at at-risk schools.