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Helping Others, One Handstand at a Time

It all started with a handstand. Paige Elenson was on a family trip in Africa when she connected with some fellow inversion junkies in passing. They shared tips and tricks and contact information to keep in touch. Little did they know, this chance encounter was about to turn entire lives upside down.

Paige saw first-hand the power of connection that yoga offers the world. The cross-cultural, knows no boundaries, no age, makes you laugh while upside down kind of connection that empowers and keeps people coming back for more and more and more. Inspired by this connection, Paige returned to Kenya and founded Africa Yoga Project (“AYP”) in 2007.

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What AYP does is nothing short of miraculous. The organization educates, empowers, elevates and expands employability with youth in Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. AYP creates opportunities for youth to step into their greatness and become self-sustaining leaders in their communities. Today, the organization employs more than 100 teachers, offers 300 weekly classes, and reaches 6,000 students weekly.

Wow. Just wow. What’s just as incredible is how much this organization inspires people across the world to show up and contribute to the cause. I found out about AYP at Baptiste trainings in June and October 2016. During these trainings I learned about Baron Baptiste’s own trip to Kenya and met AYP teacher training graduates Patrick, Millie and Walter. Hearing their stories and having their support during my own training really struck me. One of the main teachings in Baptiste yoga is “be up to something bigger than yourself”. Seeing others embodying and living from this idea was extremely powerful and I felt called upon to be a part of this cause, to support other teachers and give back to the practice that has given so much to me.

In between trainings I did my research on the different options to get involved, as there are quite a few! There really is something for everyone, from those looking to travel, mentor, or provide financial support. Ultimately, I decided to assist the 200hr teacher training in April 2017 in Nairobi. As a voluntary assistant, I’m also responsible for fundraising before my trip, which is totally new for me! Although it sounds a little daunting, I’m truly excited to to spread the word about AYP to my local community at studios, gyms, and through community events over the next few months. I think it’s a great way to drive awareness for AYP and connect my students with yoga on a global scale.

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Here are a few ways you too can get involved with this game changing organization:

  • Donate to the cause – Every. Little. Bit. Counts. Contributions make the community outreach efforts of AYP possible, such as scholarships, food programs, building projects, medical assistance, and employment.
  • Be an Ambassador – Have a special skill or expertise? Lead a trip of Seva Safari volunteers to Kenya to share this with the AYP community.
  • Join a Seva Safari – Great for those looking to travel to Kenya and assist an ambassador’s project you’re interested in. Check out your options, connect with the safari leader, and commit to an amazing and unique experience.
  • Assist a teacher training – Note that you must be Baptiste Level 1 and Level 2 certified to be involved on this program.
  • Mentor a yoga teacher – Connect with a newly certified teacher to help them on their teaching journey.
  • Host a fundraising event – Share AYP with your local community through donation based classes, a happy hour or anything in between.
  • Follow @africayogaproject – Stay up to date on all things AYP!
  • Share this post with your friends – You might just inspire someone to get involved too!

If you feel compelled, called, or are ready to be up to something bigger than yourself too, reach out to programs@africayogaproject.org to find out even more. Maybe I’ll even see you in Nairobi in April!

Handstands, hugs and happiness!

 

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Siobhan is a yoga teacher based in Chicago. You can follow her Africa Yoga Project fundraising here and her whole yoga loving life on Instagram. She finds joy in creative and powerful vinyasa, dark chocolate and spending time with family and friends.

5 Soulful Yoga Studios Along the California Coast

I grew up in California. Not on the coast, but in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Maybe this is why I have been so obsessed with the ocean the past 8 years; because it is different, mysterious, alluring. Whatever the case, I have deep gratitude for having the opportunity to explore the ways of the ocean and all of her beauty. In fact, I believe the ocean has been and IS one of my greatest spiritual teachers. Fall is such a special time of year, especially on the California Coast, and inspiration for this article was sparked by my itch to get to the ocean after living at high elevation all summer. An ideal road trip for me includes; visiting friends, surf exploration, day hikes, and taking classes at new and different yoga studios. Some of these towns mentioned below I have lived in, while some I just pass through. All of these studios have touched my heart, have wonderful teachers, and are small studios that are full of SOUL. They are all wonderful places to stop and rejuvenate along or near the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). I highly recommend that next time you are cruising the coast, slow down and make time to take a class at one of these gems.

CALIFORNIA COASTAL STUDIOS…From NORTH to SOUTH:

YOGA TOES, Point Reyes, CA

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This studio is nestled inside of Toby’s Feed Barn in the ridiculously adorable town of Point Reyes Station. It has a warm and welcoming vibe with a great mix of classes. It is the home studio of MC Yogi and his partner Amanda Giacomini. Point Reyes is a glorious town for nature lovers and hip foodies. It has an amazing Farmer’s Market on Saturdays where you can connect with local North Bay Farmers and passionate vendors such as Wild West Ferments. After class, head to the Point Reyes Seashore where you will find an abundance of diverse hikes, beaches, and wildlife.

ENSO, Half Moon Bay, CA

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Enso is a center for yoga and art. Enso is very dear to me as it is the studio that allowed me to really fall in love with yoga. For one year I lived in the area and consistently took classes with amazing teacher, Amy Outman. The studio is located on the coastal trail and has views of the sea. The wood burning stove is magnificent on foggy Half Moon Bay days. The wind and rain are amplified by the tin roof in this 100 year old warehouse structure. It is easy to feel a deep connection with nature while practicing here. They also host an array of community gatherings, art, and music events. Truly a jewel on the coast. After class, visit Raman’s Chai for a cup of goodness.

 

PLEASURE POINT YOGA, Santa Cruz, CA

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Photo: Sawdust Imagery

This is a vibrant, colorful studio on the east side of Santa Cruz. Great local vibes. They have an eclectic mix of classes for all levels. The first word that comes to mind when I think about this studio is: FUN! The studio is walking distance to Pleasure Point surf breaks and many restaurants and shops. Pleasure Point Yoga boasts an amazing lineup of intelligent and compassionate teachers and they frequently feature incredible workshops by international guest teachers. Studio owner, Aimee Joy Nitzberg is a true inspiration.

HARMONY HOUSE YOGA, Pismo Beach, CA

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A heartfelt and cozy studio in downtown Pismo Beach. They offer a variety of classes with a strong emphasis on community. Started by Kelly Metcalf, a traveler, ocean lover, and surfer with strong roots in the area. They also have a really nice boutique with unique yoga and wellness treasures. After class, get a smoothie at Honeymoon Cafe just next door or take a short stroll to the ocean.

YOGA BERGAMOT, Encinitas, CA

(Now GATHER Encinitas)

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Encinitas is known for being a yoga mecca and offers a large variety of yoga studios. This one is a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit! It is a tiny space with a huge heart. One thing that makes this studio so special is their commitment to making yoga accessible to everyone by way of a donation model. Take a class with studio founder Lauren Duke, who is known for her raw disposition and her love of sharing the spirit of yoga. Walking distance to many fun beach breaks, and always amazing weather in sunny San Diego:)

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THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all the committed students, teachers and yoga communities out there. Keep doing what you makes you feel alive and share the love!

NAMASTE.

 

 

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Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

Waves of Experience

I was on the train to Cinque Terre gazing out the window at the gorgeous waters of the Italian Riviera and reflecting on my travels. I realized how traveling is a vast ocean of lessons and helps bring out the essence of who we truly are.

We’re all like rocks along the shore, molded by each wave of experience. Each wave brings new wisdom, new perspective, and new acceptance. It rounds our edges, helps form who we are, and what we bring to this world.

As we experience other cultures and learn from how others live, we gain insight on how we want to live and what we value.

In my travels so far, two things continue to have a profound impact: the ability to be flexible in my plans & the courage to ask.

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Be Flexible

Plan what you can, but also plan for all of that to go out the window. Whether it’s a train you need to catch, a housing situation that turns out to not be at all what you expected, or a change in itinerary, things will happen and it’s so important to be flexible. I’m not saying that it won’t feel frustrating or like your patience is being tested, but that’s all part of the experience. All you can do is make the best of the situation. Be willing to see where the new turn of events take you.

Just Ask

Have the courage to ask. It might feel intimidating to approach someone for help in a different language or for an opportunity to teach a yoga class, but the only thing you can do is ask. Maybe they say no, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone waiting to say yes to you.

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It’s common for people to feel afraid of looking stupid or of rejection, but acknowledge the fear and then do it anyway. Being brave isn’t about being fearless, but not letting that fear paralyze you.

I once heard that life is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth. You have to take action and even your so-called “failures” will propel you forward into success, whatever success means to you.

So take each wave of experience as it comes, be flexible, be courageous, and keep moving forward!

 

 

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Shannon Handa is a Yoga Trade Travel Rep and travels to teach and practice yoga in different countries to explore the similarities and differences in how it’s approached. She writes about her travels on her blog, Yoga Across the Globe, to share her experiences with fellow yogis.

Connect:

http://www.yogaacrosstheglobe.com/

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5 Amazing Places to Practice Yoga in Bali

Living in Bali for 18 months has allowed me to expand my yoga practice and get a variety of teachings you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Attracting some of the best teachers from around the globe as well as a variety of new and upcoming teachers who come here to learn and put their teacher training into practice. The island has an abundance of positive energy flowing and some say Bali will allow you to leave any negativity and unwanted energy with her.

She definitely has something wonderful in the earth, air and water, which is why so many are attracted to holiday, spend short periods of time or move here full time. As a qualified yoga teacher I love to expand my practice and attend classes held by other yoga teachers from around the world. Below are some (new and old) of the best places in Bali to attend yoga classes, teacher trainings or just visit to soak up their beautiful energy and what they have to offer.

1. Desa Seni

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An Eco Village Resort based between Seminyak and Canggu surrounded by tranquil gardens and original Bali style joglos. They offer a range of classes and workshops, offering up to seven classes per day so you’re sure not to miss out. Anything from hatha, kundalini, vinyasa, yin and meditation as well as acro-yoga to meet all your yogic needs. Desa Seni’s yoga program caters to all levels so it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first class or you’re a teacher wanting to expand your practice, everyone feels welcomed and at home in this Balinese oasis. Expect 60 – 90 minute classes with numbers ranging anywhere from 5 up to 20 people.
http://www.desaseni.com/

 

2. The Practice

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The newest yoga centre on the block in Canggu, this brand new facility boasts the most amazing bamboo shala. With views over the rice paddy fields yet close enough to be just 30 seconds off the main street of this hip and happening hub, you will find a variety of classes available for all levels. Expect classes to be approximately 90 minutes long with on average 12 – 20 people. The practice also offers teacher training for those wanting to deepen their practice or kick-start a career of their own as a yoga teacher.
http://www.thepracticebali.com/

 

3. Yoga Barn

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Based in the yoga mecca of Bali, Ubud this is one of the most famous places to practice in Bali, offering the largest variety and hosting classes of up to 50 people it is a popular attraction for both beginners to the advanced and attracts well known yoga teachers from around the world. Everything from hatha, tantra, kundalini, tai chi, meditation, yin, vinyasa, pranayama, the Yoga Barn has a selection of classes to meet any need.
http://www.theyogabarn.com/

 

4. Samadi

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Nestled away in North Canggu is a quiet, tranquil yoga centre with a beautiful organic vegetarian café. This is where you will find all the locals on a Sunday buying their groceries and organic produce. It’s a bustling community of both expats and travellers and offers a selection of yoga classes, workshops and teacher trainings throughout the year. They also have onsite accommodation and grow their own produce.
http://www.samadibali.com/

 

5. On Retreat

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Bali is famous for its amazing island energy and healing powers, that’s why there are so many amazing retreat offerings throughout the island. If your looking for a more intensive practice where you can learn, grow and expand with like-minded people and consistent teachers then a retreat is for you. Bali offers all types of retreats from yoga, detox, adventure, active and healing to cater to your individual style and needs. Research the best retreats in Bali and find one that suits your style but of course please check out IN2U Health & Wellness retreats.
http://www.in2urlife.com/

Bali will welcome you with open arms, and her yoga community will deepen your practice and open your heart to new approaches, teachings and energy that you won’t experience anywhere else in the world. Practice yoga in Bali!

 

 

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Bec Weeden is a qualified Health, Lifestyle, Integrative Nutrition Coach and Yoga Teacher. After working a high-end corporate career in sales and marketing for over 10 years Bec took the leap and changed her life by launching IN2U Health and Wellness.

Connect:

http://in2urlife.com

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Home Free Yogis

After an epic El Niño sunset surf session in Santa Barbara, I decided to wind down with some yoga. Being new to area I ventured to the DiviniTree studio having no expectations. It was there I met the inspiring souls of James and his partner Krista who were in town preparing for Lucidity Festival. James was subbing the class I attended, and in that moment it was just what I needed. Come to find out, we all have a lot in common; enjoying a life of purpose and growth while living nomadically and home free. Grateful for the opportunity to catch up with James as he shares some of his insights, knowledge, and experience as a roaming yoga teacher… 

Cover Photo: Setareh Vatan Photography

What life events led you to become a traveling yogi?

I became a traveling yogi out of a desire to participate in creative opportunities and fun adventures that present themselves, from festivals and snowboarding, to workshops and exploring new places. Instead of spending a lot of time working to pay rent and having to say no to invitations to create and engage with life, I chose to open my world and hit the road. It didn’t make sense to be paying rent somewhere I wouldn’t be at half of the time anyway, and I wanted to experience more freedom and availability for projects, people and spontaneity. Living nomadically means following my path and being in the flow. I’ve realized if you give space, have trust and allow, there is so much potential for life to show up for you, things reveal themselves if you give them time.

What has allowed you to continue to live nomadically?

I am able to be a nomad by needing little, being frugal, having lots of community support and continuously developing relationships and skills. There are great resources already in place to experience the world “outside the box”, such as Craigslist rideshare, couch-surfing, Yoga Trade and mostly having a strong network of others who live alternative life-styles, including yogis, festival goers, earth guardians, and those not seduced by the typical American Dream, of consumption or ownership through acquiring debt. After all, it’s all borrowed anyway, the more things you own, the more your things own you.

 

What are the benefits of being a nomadic yoga teacher?

I am free to follow my intuition and be guided by Spirit because I’m not committed to a job. It’s like having an “open relationship” with employers; we can work together, rather james5than me working for them. I have more opportunities for collaboration and co-creating events; offerings become more a choice than an “obligation”. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing people show up that I wouldn’t connect with if I was just staying at “home”. I don’t have a boss. I am empowered to share the message my way. I get to spread yoga, particularly yin, in different environments, like at studios and transformational festivals, to out-reach yoga through collaborating with organizations, like teaching yoga in prisons and free yoga in the park. Creating different events and offerings stretches my creative and organizations skills.

Another benefit of being a nomadic yoga teacher is my expenses are low, which allows my life-style to be sustainable; I make decisions based on inspiration, creativity and choice rather than finances. I have the opportunity to enjoy fun free activities and experiences, like going to the beach, park or a hike, and being able to say yes to things that arise. People wonder what they’ll do when they don’t have a job, but consider all the things that show up that you have to say no to because you have to go work. I love the freedom to explore and say yes, to connect and share inspiration.


Any hardships you deal with being a nomadic yoga teacher?

It’s more challenging to create certain types of routine, you have to be more innovative, creative and have foresight with things like food, laundry, showers and basic necessities that are easily provided with a home. Also, like in most industries or careers, it is easier to build students (clients/customers) when you are still and consistent. I have been able to build a student population that appreciates my teachings and respects my life-style choices. Everything takes more work when it is a single offer; creating titles and descriptions, negotiating price and percentages, scheduling and marketing. When you are a teacher that has regular classes it is more of a routine to go to work.

There’s a challenge for me with some people because when they know I am transient, they are less inclined to engage with me, be vulnerable or build relationships. Some people have trouble comprehending where you live when you’re a nomad and there can be judgments from that. On the other hand, I meet a lot of folks who are inspired and interested, they share my excitement and love to be connected to what I’m doing. I’ve learned my quality time with people is often better because I’m either coming or going, there is a recognition the time we spend together is valuable, maybe because of it’s rarity.

How does your partnership with a fellow yoga teacher inspire your teachings and life?

My partnership with KristaLove is inspiring because of the level of accountability we hold. We are committed to honesty, transparency, authenticity and clear communication. We support each other to continue to practice this way of being in our partnership and other realms of life. We are in an Open-Relationship; for us this meansjames6 rather than denying our thoughts and feelings to ourselves or hiding them from each other, we openly share what we are thinking and feeling, and openly receive the other’s thoughts and feelings without reaction and with compassion.

Our relationship is uplifting because we share similar aspirations, particularly in spreading the power of yoga. We share values of how we want to live in the world, dietary practices and a commitment to enhancing our individual connections to Spirit.

I enjoy witnessing Krista’s growth in her practice and teachings. I love receiving her teachings because I know she has intelligent sequencing and a deep knowing of the practice that comes from years of experience. Krista reinforces my alignment with myself, in my asana practice and in romantic partnership. We create opportunities to unpack life, to be curious together and to teach each other things we’ve learned before we were in partnership; it’s amazing to be a teacher and a student for each other. A perspective we both share of partnership is the chance to have a mirror, someone to hold a clear reflection to receive and integrate feedback. We love having fun, sharing emotional and physical intimacy, and celebrating personal and collective growth. We choose to see relationship as spiritual practice, a space for true presence, a catalyst for healing and growth. Even if there are moments we need space from each other, we give that space to support the Love that is there.

Implementing partner yoga as part of our practice has been a potent avenue to assist and support each other. Our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage goes beyond yoga for both of us; it incorporates the necessity and benefits of touch and affection. Krista’s interest in conscious sexuality and responsible relationships has allowed me to reflect on how little people get touch, particularly outside of family or romantic relationships. As affection advocates, we are inspired to create a culture of affection and connection. We’ve learned platonic and romantic touch and affection support our health and well being, the neurochemistry of affection is fascinating! Check out our blog “Home Free Yogis” to learn more. I love being a Yoga Ambassador with her, co-facilitating workshops, assisting each other’s classes and educating others on how to teach yoga safely, effectively and creatively.

 

Tell us more about your current projects…

One of my biggest callings and passions is being a Yin Yoga Ambassador, spreading the transformational power of yin yoga, along with teaching many other styles of yoga. I james4have multiple offerings for sharing yin yoga, from specialty seasonal classes, introductory workshops for those new to yin or wanting to learn more, and teacher trainings that concentrate on sequencing, meridians and creating well-balanced classes.

My partner Krista and I are excited to share our offering Connect: Partner Yin Yoga Massage. This practice uses the power of yin yoga to open and balance the body and move chi, while applying elements of Thai Yoga Massage to increase stimulation and enhance the practitioner’s experience by supporting their unique shape. An important element of Yin Yoga Massage is sharing touch through teaching people to assist and massage each other with compassion.

I am also thrilled to be a collaborator with YogiTunes, an affordable online resource for yoga teachers and studio owners to play conscious music, with the profits going directly to artists because the rights are owned by the organization (which is becoming more of an issue as far as legality of rights and playing music in classes). I am a YogiTunes DJ with multiple themed playlists made by incredible producers and musicians I find inspiring.

I am the creator of the Sac-Sierra Yoga Pass, a multi-studio passport good for a single drop-in at over 40 studios from the Sacramento area to Lake Tahoe. This was inspired by my desire to create a bridge for the yoga community to share offerings, rather than being competitive or individually business-minded.

Another major collaborative project I’m a part of is Lucidity Festival, a transformational gathering in its 5th year in the hills of Santa Barbara, CA. The folks who produce the event are raising the bar as far as conscious festival production. I am inspired by their integrated way of working together which is highly effective and forward thinking with the systems in place for alternative conflict resolution to help the community thrive. They are moving towards larger aspirations, including and not limited to, supporting artists and artisans, offering alternative education opportunities, acquiring and creating sustainable community and shared land projects. Festivals are a play-ground for experimentation as we move towards re-establishing a village. Lucidity is an incredible experiment I am grateful to be a part of.

And I am always seeking ways to continue to network the yoga highway as a yoga ambassador, through supporting transformational festivals, conscious artists and continuing to share and teach. I’m excited for upcoming creations, like downloadable yoga classes and Yin DVD’s to reach a broader audience and more!

 

Why do you think we are seeing more wellness events and yoga as an aspect at transformational gatherings?

Transformational gatherings by nature are supporting people’s conscious evolution through personal and collective transformation. This culture is growing because people are acknowledging they want more out of a gathering than just a party. There is a genuine desire to connect and experience community. There are more spaces for elders to come and teach, and for families with children to experience music, art, education and creative expression. This demonstrates a recognition that community means multiple generations and lenses of perspective.

Wellness offerings are increasing at festivals as well as contributions in art, yoga, massage, permaculture & sustainability, do-it-yourself workshops, professional education, and a more holistic understanding of intimacy and relationships through offerings and human relationships. These festivals are a space to re-establish the village, the collective perspective. The stereotypical options we are given by mainstream culture are less attractive to people. We are waking up to the knowing that there are more options than what we’ve been told, rejecting the limited view of ways to be, and awakening to their authentic, unique and creative truths.

 

Who or what have been your greatest teachers?

Reading the Tao Te Ching has been one of my greatest teachers. This simple yet profound text encourages a contemplative way of being, to be a witness and observer of life. It gives examples of the watery, fluid like quality of existence, and I try to use that example in my life by creating fluidity and freedom.

Ram Das is another of my favorite spiritual teachers. He is an incredibly accessible, james1funny, and non-dualistic Western teacher who is a bridge, bringing Eastern philosophy and wisdom to the West.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen monk and international peace activist, revealed to me the Truth behind Buddha’s message on the lack of independent origination, he calls it inter-being, which means nothing arose independently, nothing is isolated. Everything you identify with has been influenced by others or something before you, you are connected to everything in the realm of form: physical, thought energetic, emotion. And we are all one in Spirit.

Finally, my puppy Stitch is one of my favorite teachers because he take nothing personally, is unconditionally loving, is happy to see every living thing he comes into contact with and his natural disposition is to be playful and curious.

Life and its series of trial and error, pitfalls and successes, has taught me that as you move with your own flow, sometimes against the current of “traditional culture”, truth will always support you.

 

If you could share one sentence that the whole world would see, what would it be…

Trust your Intuition.

 

Anything else you would like us to share…

Festival culture, collaborating in the yoga world and learning about sustainability, and conscious relating allow me avenues to be a bridge builder and thread weaver, to create a more supported, connected and authentic world. I invite you to step into your unique expression of life and do what you love and are called to. It is through this that you will offer your best to yourself, humanity and our planet.

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James Kapicka is a yoga ambassador and event producer with a passion for bringing together community in a way that supports acceptance and forgiveness as we learn to evolve as beings. Through sincere and heartfelt expression, he creates an environment that empowers students to stay in their integrity and trust their intuition. James offers sacred ceremonies intended to facilitate personal growth and healing through the unconditionally giving of authentic self in a way that protects innocence and promotes creative play and expression. His classes, workshops, and events center on profound re-evolutionary change both within and in how we exist in society and in our relationship with Mother Earth.

Teacher Tales: Eve In Motion

We met Eve at Veda Mela, downtown LA, last November. Her and one of our Living Yoga Ambassadors, Andrew Sealy were radiating their light through their graceful and intertwining movements of Acro Yoga. When we had a chance to talk to Eve, it turned out she had a very interesting story; she had moved to California from Russia to pursue her dreams of artistic movement, yoga, and travel. Here we catch up with Eve In Motion in one of many “Teacher Tales”.

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How did you find the path of yoga?

Through an injury. I started on this journey as a dancer. Because of developed scoliosis at an early age it was very challenging to continue with training. Especially while constantly getting hurt from the moves that demanded a higher level of athleticism. Growing up, I often had lower back problems so I decided to start taking yoga as physical therapy and as a way of balancing out dance impact on the body. Little did I know, it would take me so much further than just being flexible and pain free.

What were your dreams when you were a child?

When I was a child I had plenty of dreams and ideas of what I wanted to do when I grew up; from working with animals as a veterinarian, to being a journalist, to becoming a professional circus performer. In Russia, people generally go to college by the age of 17. This forces you to decide on a future profession by the time you get out of high school. I went to study Public Relations and Journalism while still training and practicing performing arts.

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How do you practice yoga off the mat?

Practicing kindness and understanding toward others as well as toward myself. I strive to connect with people in real life daily; being less on my phone, looking in the eyes of a person I’m having a conversation with, taking deep breaths in traffic (living in Los Angeles this is a big one :), connecting with nature, reminding myself that we’re here for a higher reason even if we don’t know what it is.

“connecting with nature”

What are you most passionate about?

Living this life to the fullest. Finding a way to enjoy every day while still paying my bills. Inspiring others to go out and see the world outside of their place of birth. Diving into something new, such as another language. Or maybe learning how to play music and sing, just for the joy of it. Not to mention different forms of movement that I’d like to explore. I’m definitely most passionate about the art of many forms.

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What do you do when you feel out of balance?

Meditate. Drink more water. Be near the ocean. Talk to a friend that I can count on. Eat nourishing foods and get rest. Read and write – these are the things that help me the most.

Where do you think you will travel next and why?

At the end of this month I will be traveling to Costa Rica as a part of The Natural Leaders Foundation and will be offering Acro and Yoga workshops for local kids through out the weekend of Envision Festival.

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Eve Modens is a movement artist widely known as Eve In Motion – professional athlete, versatile model, performer and yoga teacher. Born and raised in Russia, Eve started her journey as a dancer. Later on she discovered Yoga as transformational way of living. On the mission to share this passion Eve found home base in Los Angeles, California. After completing a 200-hr teacher training she discovered the practice of Acro Yoga. Combining various styles of training Eve is dedicated full time to movement arts. Her goal is to share this passion while traveling the world. You can often find her teaching at festivals and retreats. With significant following on Instagram @EveInMotion is able to connect with thousands of people worldwide daily.

Yoga Travel: 5 Reasons To Take Your Practice On The Road

If a yoga practice is about growth, there may be some surprising things holding you back. While a dedicated home and studio practice is super important, there is always room for more. Perhaps you’ve ventured into the great outdoors to take a class in the park. Or even gone out on a limb on vacation and enjoyed a practice on the dock at the lake. But while those efforts are great ways to try something new, did you deepen your breath? Further your practice? See change in your life? What if the biggest thing holding you back was your routine?

If you’re really wanting to take your practice to the next level, a yoga retreat or yoga travel may be a great way to expand. Keep reading and you’ll be convinced.

 

Crash Out of Your Comfort Zone

Even if you are busting out stunning birds of paradise poses in your favorite studio, a new space will challenge you to think about your body in a new way. Maybe a mirror Young woman is practicing yogaisn’t available and you must focus on every. Physical. Feeling. Or perhaps the retreat takes place in a mostly open-air pavilion, with wind, bugs and new sounds creating a new environment. You’ll work hard to focus your energy and breath into a new way of practicing; a new perspective will draw you out of your yoga comfort zone and change the way you see your mind, body, breath and practice.

Plus, going on a retreat takes guts. Even if you desperately want to go, actually booking the ticket and making definitive plans takes some huevos. No matter where you are in your practice, a yoga retreat will do you good. Banish the doubts and take the leap!

Small Fish, HUGE Pond

It’s easy to think that our small lives are the most important things in the world. A yoga retreat in another part of the world will open your eyes to the way others live. This new view on how you fit into the world is a good reminder of how interconnected we all are, while allowing you to express yourself in the most unique way possible. Some yoga retreats have a service component, and this can give you yet another chance to learn more about yourself as you learn more about the world.

Appreciate Everything

Anytime you’re away from home, it’s easy to miss your favorite things. Sometimes the simple conveniences of living in our modern society become so ingrained in us that wegroup of young females practicing yoga on the seaside during the sunris can feel out of touch when removed from them. A yoga retreat will not only allow you to grow and realize that those conveniences are luxuries, but you’ll learn to appreciate them even more. Bringing awareness to the things you have and enjoy is not meant to make you feel guilty, but to allow you to experience profound gratitude.

 

Inspiration – For Yoga, For Life

When you visit a new place, especially if you’re on your own, you’ll meet all kinds of amazing people sprinkled throughout your journey. These people and their stories will teach you things you never even knew you didn’t know. You’ll be inspired by their lives and their yoga practices. As you’re challenged on your own mat, you’ll forge friendships that challenge your personal life to grow as well. Plus, when your new friend busts out a killer dragonfly pose, don’t you want them to help you get there, too?

Purpose

After such a life-changing experience, you’ll return with a renewed sense of who you are and what you want to do with your life. If you went to the retreat to discern whether you wanted to complete yoga teacher training, the answer will appear. If you attended to find more clarity in your life, you’ll find it. No matter what your intentions, the retreat will help you find what you were looking for – and some things you didn’t know were missing!

 

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Sara Sherman is a freelance writer, yogi and accidental island girl living on the island of St. Thomas. Learn more and contact Sara via her website at www.SaraMSherman.com, and read more about her island adventures at www.IslandersFromIowa.com.