A Stroke of Greatness: Channing

Leanne Yenush

What does #AStrokeOfGreatness mean to you? 

A “Stroke Of Greatness” to me isn’t one singular act of greatness... but rather the constant and consistent striving for it. Each stroke, step, and breath that we take in our lives should be propelling us towards progress and achievement on both large and small scales. 

How did you choose yoga and Hydrow?

I like to think that yoga chose me. I’ve gotten asked several times before why I chose yoga over other forms of fitness and mind-body connections. My answer is that yoga offered me a positive awareness of self that I didn’t feel with anything else. 

The physical practice of yoga opened up a new world of exploration of my body, while yoga philosophy paved a new path for an expansion of my mind and emotions. Because of yoga I left my comfort zone and explored other forms of physical and mental fitness that I was averse to before.

Before this awareness, I used to think the sport of rowing wasn’t for someone like me, a black girl from the south with no real access to water sports. However, the practice of rowing and the practice of yoga are aligned in more ways than I would’ve previously thought. So much so, that I was extremely eager to continue exploring the relationship between the two when Hydrow invited me to the team. 

What is your proudest athletic achievement? 

Of course, I want to respond that my proudest athletic achievement (in my yoga practice) is when I finally was able to transition from being on my head in a headstand to the arm balance of crow pose. I swear my head felt like it weighed a ton. However, every day I choose to come to my mat or to move my body is a very proud moment for me. As cliche as that might sound coming from a yoga teacher, it is my truth. 

I’m a big believer in appreciating all the little things because they make the most significant difference, rather than focusing on one large moment. Every little moment I spent training contributed to the big achievement happening. So every day my body performs no matter how it looks or feels because every day is different, is an achievement I am proud of. 

What type of work went into where you are today?

At first, I was going to separate the type of work that went into where I was physically and mentally, but then I realized it's the same work. I had to first work on being compassionate to myself and not put myself down for any “failures” or negative comparisons when working on my physical fitness. 

The more I worked on self-compassion, the less convincing I had to do to get myself to stay consistent with my workout. Pushing myself from a place of kindness was a struggle (and sometimes still is) but it’s the best habit I could’ve developed for the progression of my body and mind. 

What sets Hydrow apart from other teams that you have been on?

Hydrow is constantly aspiring to unite different backgrounds, races, cultures, classes of people and provide them with the tools to offer them a grand human experience; as well as facilitating that each and every one of us deserves to let our authentic selves radiate. 

 What’s your personal motto? 

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” - Laozi, Chinese Philosopher

I love this quote. I always come back to it whenever I have placed limitations like labels, beliefs, or ideals on myself that keep me from expanding my physical, mental, and emotional capabilities. I’m more capable than I give myself credit for, so I need to let all those things go and be in a place of constant discovery. 

-- Learn more about Channing here, follow her on Instagram here, and learn a bit more about her workout style here.