Real Yogis, Real Stories
March 17, 2017



“Because in the end, you wont remember the time you spent working in an office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac

mount everest

What are you scared to venture on on your own? We all have our share of bucketlists stashed away in some drawer that we will probably never look at but I sincerely hope, that this year, you do.  I hope this year you start ticking those things one after another as if it were the easiest to-do list you’ve made on a bright Sunday morning.

I say all this because that’s what this yogi has been doing for a while now. I’ve known Amyna Santos for a few years from class and I have always admired her strong and quiet practice. She’s there every single day at the exact same time so when she’s not around I know for sure she’s on some other corner of the world, pursuing yet another conquest.

Over the past few years Amyna has been quickly ticking items off of her list, with goals to climb Macchu Picchu in Peru to seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland. No adventure was too far or too difficult for her. This wasn’t such a common occurrence and I’ve seen that she often travels alone when she does these things. When I asked why, she laughed, “I have no friend crazy enough sometimes.”


Her latest conquest late 2015 was to scale one of the most challenging peaks of the world – Mount Everest. Now, Amyna is used to the physical demands of her goals but nothing could have possibly prepared her for this. Growing up a ballet dancer and getting into yoga, she had a pretty good idea of what her body was capable of but this was no ordinary mountain. And it was something she had to come to terms with.

The hike she had to make each day was exhausting. She was climbing the steep sides of the mountain, dealing with the air growing thinner by the day, limited food choices, and no one to constantly talk to. It was a giant leap out of her comfort zone and this was despite the fact that for adventures such as these, you’re never going to be 100% prepared for them. And to tell you truthfully, in climbing Everest, that will be something you’ll constantly be reminded of. As much as you try your best to “be ready” for something, you never truly are. All you know is what you’ve already done before. So what now?


To get through each day, Amyna kept a daily log of her trek, recounting the difficulties she experienced: physical, mental and emotional. It was a struggle she wasn’t going to sugar coat that she knew she wanted to remember. Knowing yourself and what you’ve already accomplished was encouragement enough but it was the figuring out what more you could do that pushes you to put one foot in front of the other.

yakEach day she would eat what she could of her big plate of unfamiliar noodles which was the most recognizable thing on the menu. She would start hiking when her guide said it was time to move. And she would watch as travelers walked behind her, in front of her and past her in the opposite direction with nothing but a friendly grunt or nod here and there. The cautious greetings of encouragement telling her to keep going.


“What am I doing again?” and “Why am I here?” were constant companions in the journey up the mountain but for some reason she found it comforting to know that despite not having an answer she was slowly finding herself a little farther than where she started.


We don’t always know the reasons for our goals but they’re there for a reason. Maybe it’s the universe’s way of pushing your limits and exploring further than you would on your own. It’s that voice inside of you craving for something beyond yourself, an untapped soul you need in this lifetime to get you outside of your comfort zone.

What’s that first thing on your list? Is it a business venture? Is it a mountain? Is it to go skydiving? Whatever it is, if it scares you and you think you’re not ready yet, what exactly will make you ready? Maybe readiness is just “willingness” spelled differently.

Go do it. Prepare what you can and be ready to face things you do not know because whether you like it or not, the unfamiliar can surprise you. You can surprise you.


Andi Bañez teaches in a beautiful surfing province in Philippines called Siargao. She’s an avid reader and enjoys meeting and learning about people. Lately, she’s developed a liking to reading tarot cards. Follow her: @andibanez | –