yogi

Student Spotlight : Margherita Feldman

PYS: When did you complete the program?

Margherita: July 2015

PYS: Tell us about how you're now living your yoga practice.

Margherita: I live my yoga practice by constantly striving to be the best version of myself. I strive to help others reach their own self-realization of greatness and wholeness.  I am always looking to expand and grow toward love and light. I share my passion for personal development with my students, friends, and family.

PYS: What was the biggest change you saw in your being after the experience?

Margherita: I feel like I have an elevated and expanded consciousness and awareness with myself and others. I am seeking growth in all areas of my life. I used to let myself feel small and feel defeated by situations that would arise. Since attending PYS, I feel more aware of myself, and I know the tools I can use to conquer any  challenges.

PYS: Please share with us your social media links and / or promotional material that we can share with the post.

http://www.facebook.com/yogamargherita
instagram: @yoga_margherita
web: http://www.margheritayoga.com/

Goddess Rising: Jade Alectra

Getting to connect and share with so many amazing women from around the world is such a joy in this day and age. Cultivating collaboration and honesty is something that brings people together and we are so blessed to get to do so every Wednesday as part of the Goddess Rising series, and this week, Jade Alectra joined our series to share with us!

Jade Alectra is 28 years old and was born on October 1st 1987 in the middle of the Whittier Earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 and has been making waves ever since. With a background of basketball and pole vaulting, Jade was taught by coaches to work the body until failure or she wasn't actually working. Jade carried this into her relationships and workouts after the sports stopped and was not able to listen to her body when her knee dislocated. A year of depression and overeating and 35 pounds later, forced her to find a way to save herself. Yoga found her right at the moment of giving up and she has continued down its beautiful path for the past 4 years, leading her accidentally to Teacher Training. She now teaches at Equinox, as well as privately and her passion lies in leading yoga retreats to Mexico and Kauai. She is excited for her next retreat this August 1-5th which she is co-teaching with Stephanie Birch.

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Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Jade Alectra: When I give Savasana adjustments, I get 'messages' for some of the people that I work on. One lady I was drawn to give a adjustment to and her whole face tensed up and she seemed to be very uncomfortable and in pain. I kept going regardless. I left her while her face was still twisted and contorted in pain and finished the other students adjustments. After class I asked to speak to her and I asked what she felt while I was working on her. She said that she felt all of her pain building up into wherever my hands were, and when I finally left her, she said she "felt the smile come back over her face." We both cried. I was in Kauai on my last yoga retreat 7 months ago, and I was adjusting a beautiful girl whose mother had committed suicide 2 years before, and on this particular morning, it was cloudy at sunrise for the one and only time. The other mornings it was bright and sunny. At the moment that I pressed my hands onto her shoulders, the sun suddenly pierced through the clouds and fell across her face. I heard almost a whisper and repeated the line instantly to her "The sun is your mom." Its a very odd thing but when the words climb into my throat I have to give them to whoever they are for without letting my own judgements or thoughts get in the way. Just simply gifting them as they come. I don't quite understand it but I am beginning to trust it more and more and trust myself more and more and it magnifies in intensity. 

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Jade: It took me a very long time (sometimes I am still remembering) to understand that the heart was not meant to resemble this perfectly intact formation. It was meant to be broken into a thousand tiny cracks that represented the times that we felt the most. That we were most alive. If you focus too closely on each individual piece, it just looks like a shattered mess, but the further back you pull and gain perspective over sight, the more you realize what you are is this beautiful mosaic of loving and heartbreaking. I suffered a very devastating and surprising break up this past June, and I will never forget a moment when my belly and cheek was crumpled on the wooden floor of my room and I was sobbing. Someone commented on my post on instagram that "Pain brings you to the present moment like nothing else." And I realized right then and there that I had never felt more alive than that moment when I was completely broken wide open. This is the very basis of every yoga class I teach and every interaction I share with another, as well as and most importantly beginning with myself. I want people and myself firstly, to keep stripping down the layers we have pressed against our skins comprised of the words and opinions of others and our reactions to these thoughts. My mind also went through a crazy change through this break up because it was the first time I sobbed and didn't wipe the tears or hide them. I remember crying to the server at Coco's and just letting the tears gush down my face and never once wiped them. We are here to feel and breathe and love and leave and just experience it all. So I try to bring my most authentic self whether thats a Jade that is standing tall, or a Jade that keeps a hand pressed against her heart to keep it together, and allow people to see me grow though what I go through. To know that we are never alone no matter how much our minds try and convince us of it. To always seek the truth in every moment, no matter how it makes us feel. As Caroline Myss says, "We thrive in truth," and I have out this to the absolute test over the past 3 years and it is life changingly true. 

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Jade: My worst habit is the way I love what ever decides to notice me first. I am often times catching myself feeling so pathetically wanting love. This year of my life is the first time I am finally taking the hard path back to myself. It feels like I am unraveling 28 years of bad behaviors of loving men that were unavailable emotionally, or were not loving to me. I realized that I am craving a love that is in my very own palms, I just keep handing it out to others before taking care of myself. Its like holding water while you are trying to find people to drink yours all the while being severely dehydrated and legitimately feeling confusion of why you feel sick when you are giving out water. It has to start with you. I am getting a tattoo that says, 'I am mine. Before I am every anyone else's.' I want to feel those words get etched into my skin so that I may never forget myself again. It is a tough thing to correct a pattern that is decades old but it is the most romantic thing I've ever felt; falling in love with myself. For both the flaws and the perfect stitches that make up who and what I am. I also read a ton of amazing authors, and I carry a journal with me always. I speak the truth, even if my voice shakes. Even if it is silently admitted only in my journal. The words need to come out somehow. 

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Jade: The first step to recognizing your power is to lighten your load of all the bullshit that isn't who you are. That takes the form of people and family and things, possessions you've had for years, and sometimes 'best' friends. I have a simple rule that dictates if you are going to be and stay in my life or not: Does it shrink you or expand you? If your lover or best friend is in any way holding you back, you are not walking your authentic path. Because the soul of who you are knows truly what is real and what is not and this costs you dearly to keep up this facade from yourself when you know deep down the simple truth. They are no longer compatible with your path. Let go of any of the things you cling to if they are weighing you down. Start to step more surely into who you are and banish those that no longer understand you out from your present. One of my favorite pieces by Jeanette Leblanc says "And that, my dear, is bound to make some people crazy uncomfortable. It will make them pull back and push away. Because the way you dance with your shadows and your steadfast commitment to your light will push them into spaces that are fascinating and compelling and utterly terrifying." This piece is about the 'Too Much girl' and how we need the ones that feel 'too much'. I have felt like an alien for so many years because I love so intensely and it has been liberating to throw away the desire to be understood by everyone. I am not meant to be easy. To be understood at first glance. I am layers and waves and all kinds of colors and lights and darks. And I am taking my time to understand myself while I am single and at the most concentrated dose of myself, and I urge other goddess and babes and warriors to explore themselves alone. To know truly who they are through the beauty AND the pain but not to make it a hitching post. To feel the weather but not get stuck in it by choice and convince yourself its romantic to feel so broken. This is not your one story; your one identity. Do not concentrate on a piece and convince yourself it is the whole. 

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

My spiritual practice actually starts with not answering text messages when I dont want to. It pisses quite a bit of people off but it keeps me feeling like I belong to myself, and that I run on my own time. I respect my energy. I voice memo my amazing sister and friend Stephanie Birch (@StephyNow) about all of the classes I teach and we discuss life and love and all of the darks and lights and whatever we are going through we share with the other and its such an empowering friendship like no other I have ever experienced. I feel like I am supposed to be a good 'yogi' and respond with meditation or breath work or even flowing alone, but at the moment that is not where I am focusing my inwardness. It happens in the food I choose to eat which includes pizza of course, and the drives I take late into the night where I drive a loop and sometimes through an intense canyon in the hills behind my house. It can be going to my favorite beach and just losing myself in being alone with the waves. I am at a very non-traditional place in my life at the moment.  

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Jade: This is the first time I am writing these words publicly and they are not easy to say. Even this sentence and the one before it are my stalling to not have to write them publicly but I am here to be real so here goes nothing. When I turned 25, I had a world of hope inside of me. I felt like I had finally 'found myself' and felt very strong for the first time in my entire life. This year ended up being the hardest of my life as I had the shit beat out of me one night while leaving a club because I was trying to leave and some guy started asking me in very lewd ways to hook up with him. I had never seen him in my life and he was being insanely aggressive. I tried to leave and it turned into a full on brawl in which I was ripped to the ground by my hair and soccer kicked as hard as they could as well as stepped on, on my head and back. I was down there for so long getting completely mauled that I had time to think about the fact that I was probably going to die this way because there was no one there to help me. No one to make it stop, and I could barely cover my face. I have nerve damage on my lower back and can't feel too much in that area, as if I need a physical reminder of that attack. Later that same year, I was raped. It was the year of my body being trespassed and invaded. I am still working to recover her. She is strong and soft but hurt and sometimes confused at the why. But as Caroline Myss says, to ask why me is to give up your power because that question has no real answer, and definitely none that will take the pain away just by hearing it. For a while I would flirt with the brief thought of not wanting to be here anymore. But I fought for myself and I am here today standing taller and running my fingers over my scars with fondness and love because I have been able to relate to so many more people because I had the courage to feel myself in such an honest way. I hope people see a little bit of themselves in both my darkness and lights and have the courage to pursue their own truths.  

PYS: Who inspires you?

JadeStephanie Birch is my every day inspiration, and love but you have thankfully already interview her so I would say her teacher Diana Vitantonio, who is now my teacher as well. She's a woman who knows the true beauty of her soul and is so much love to be felt. 

Goddess Rising: Meagan Ruppert

Every week, we get to share this space with an incredible woman from the health, wellness and personal development community. This is our chance to connect and collaborate with some amazing ladies from around the world as they follow their passion. This Wednesday, we got Meagan Ruppert, founder of Return to Roots Gathering and Ascending Circles, to share with us.

I am a visionary business coach and the founder of Return to Roots Gathering, a hoop dance, yoga, flow arts, and music festival that creates a space for conscious, spiritual, and community transformation.

My awakening happened when I discovered hoop dance in 2008. The empowerment and self-love that came out of my hoop practice inspired me to start Return to Roots Gathering in 2011. While I had no production experience, nor any professional connections that did either, I took action in faith – knowing that this project was much bigger than myself and that I would be divinely guided through the process. Now in it’s 5th year, this event was one of the first East Coast Transformational Festival, drawing people from around the world.

In addition to producing Return to Roots Gathering, I am a business coach for conscious entrepreneurs in my business, Ascending Circles. My purpose on this planet is to inspire awakened beings to take bold action in their lives and in the world through entrepreneurship and to be ambassadors of the evolving consciousness on planet earth, so that they can create their ultimate reality.

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Meagan Ruppert: For me, my work is simply an extension of my spirit. The work I do is me fulfilling soul purpose. Building a successful business requires FAITH and so each time I take a giant leap forward, I am trusting that all will fall into place, which it almost always does. :)

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Meagan: Oh gosh. Haha - every time a crack happens my business grows leaps and bounds as a result. I've been transitioning through one the last 6-8 weeks, so I'm excited to see how it develops. ;)

The biggest wound I have healed through my work was when I began Return to Roots Gathering. I was on the mend from drug and alcohol dependencies. It was a challenging time for me because I had to admit some pretty intense stuff to myself. Things I'd been pushing deep down with substance. In order to support my transition away from dependency, I began hoop dancing every single day as a means for meditation. I began eating right, connecting deeper with people who lifted me up and inspired me, and taking care of myself on a level I'd never experienced. About 4 months into this process, the idea for creating a space for healing, connection and awakening through hoop dance and movement came through me during my hoop practice. That night Return to Roots Gathering was born. No experience, no connection, nothing. Just a vision. 4 months later, the first event went off beautifully and the event is now going into it's 6th year, maintaining the integrity of healing, connection and awakening. 

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Meagan: My worst habit is consistency. This hinders me because I'll build up momentum and then the momentum falls off because I get sidetracked or move my attention elsewhere. I've improved hugely around this in the last two years to a point where I am able to follow through much longer so I can see thing through to completion. What's worked really well for me is 1) Forgiving myself. Rather than beating myself up for it, which can result in a pity party and not getting back on track for even longer, I now take notice and recommit. I'll do this as many times as I need to in order to see the task or project through to completion. 2) I started training for half marathons. My business coach has a program that has clients on a training plan for running 13.1 miles. I was never a runner but I saw how following through on a plan could help. What I learned was that I could see my patterns through my training. Finishing the daily assigned work outs helped me to get better at getting my work done and staying on it. When I would run 8 miles, I couldn't just stop at mile 7 and go do something else. I had to run that last mile so I could get home! So this mindset did translate over to my business. 

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Meagan: Don't try to do it alone. Get a mentor or find a mastermind group to support you through it. Until I hired a mentor, my success was mediocre. My stuff was sticking but it wasn't paying the bills - literally and figuratively. I spent many years DIY'ing my business, so I experienced a lot of trial and error. It was REALLY hard and I definitely wasted a lot of time stuck because of my mindset. Invest in yourself and don't let your self-doubt keep you from showing up. Your works is SO IMPORTANT in this world but it won't make a difference if you don't step into your power and potential. 

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Meagan: On a good day my practice is meditation first thing upon waking then an hour of yoga, hooping and dance. On other days, it's just a short meditation in the morning, 15 minutes of stretching. Every day I try to take random 1 minute breaks to breathe and reconnect with my heart so I can stay in alignment with my WHY. And also, I'll throw on some music and shake it out so my energy doesn't get stagnant. Movement is my medicine. :)

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Meagan: Definitely. The story I shared about the beginning of Return to Roots was definitely the opening up to the shadows I'd been keeping deep down below. I stifled my uniqueness to fit into a mold and "be normal". I hid the truth of who I was because I wanted to be accepted by people. Even the realization of drug and alcohol addiction alone was dark. But bringing this stuff to the surface, though hard, was a process of lightening my load. Today, I am moving through fears around intimacy. This goes deeper than just sex. It's intimacy with self, with work, with friends and so on. I am opening up to getting closer. I am a Pisces and so I tend to hang out in the ethers and not let a lot of people in because I don't want to be judged by them, be accountable to them, . I see how this hinders me and I see how this was a defense mechanism to protect me in the past when people did judge me for being different. Getting vulnerable and allowing people to see the WHOLE me has been scary and liberating at the same time. I'm enjoying the process!

PYS: Who inspires you?

Meagan: SO MANY PEOPLE. I love watching women step into power more an more as the days progress. But if you are looking for your next interviewee, I would say Prema Lee Gureri. She's an amazing woman! She's a Vedic Astrologer and coach. She's my soul mentor and I think she'd be a great fit!

Goddess Rising: Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank

Every week, we are so incredibly blessed to able to share space with an incredible woman from the health, wellness and personal development community. This is our chance to connect and collaborate with some amazing ladies from around the world, and this week, we were able to share with Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank.

I used to be miserable without any direction in my life. I was self-destructive with drugs, alcohol and loveless relationships, which led me to understand that I honestly hated myself. When I discovered how to become fiercely optimistic my life completely turned around allowing me to become truly happy. Now, I help facilitate the discovery of self-love with individuals pursuing positive change & inner growth, which allows them to find direction in their lives.

Hello! I’m Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank (pronounced har-a-lish-in frank). I am a life coach, Reiki Master, yoga instructor, intuitive healer and writer.

When I was nineteen years old I almost lost my life due to liver failure brought on by a drug overdose. This experience gave me the strength to leave the gorgeous state of Michigan to find adventure (and myself). I landed in NYC where I resided for over a decade while simultaneously traveling the world for months at a time. Today, I live between San Diego, California & New York City in complete bliss.

My life from the outside looking in may have looked picture perfect back in the day - life of the party at all the trendiest spots (without ever waiting in a line). But I was really just part of a vicious cycle where being self-destructive & unhappy was thought to be cool and I was seriously doleful.

I needed to make changes in my life but everything seemed so intertwined and complex. I had no idea where to start! I began to read books and speak to professionals but I quickly realized that these steps were keeping me in the past and not pushing me forward into the future. So, this is where I started to trust myself. I put together what I needed in order for me to thrive & be happy. Today, I am proud to say that I love myself and I share this love with every single person I meet.

These days I am dedicated to empowering people and showing them how to become fiercely optimistic. I use a combination of techniques I have developed along the way as well as knowledge I picked-up through obtaining a NYU coaching certificate, an Indigenous Studies degree and years of education under the discipline of Swami Omkarananda.

I love all beings (especially bunnies), being near the water, cruising in my VW Beetle with the music turned up, taking photographs and giving thanks each & every day for all my blessings.

Website | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank: As a healer my work is very spiritual. I am constantly giving thanks to the Divine and keeping my communication flowing. Throughout my day I connect to the Universal Life Energy through Reiki to share the energy of the Universe with those that I come in contact with.

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Alisha: I have suffered through much in this lifetime, which I talk about through my Instagram account and blog. I now have the ability to find compassion for everyone I come in contact with because I see that things aren't always as they seem. We put on a lot of different faces because our society has yet to create a supportive and loving environment for people to be honest. This is where we all come in! It's important for us not to be judgmental because one's journey may require a different route.

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Alisha: My worst habit at the moment is making sure to eat well. I am a very busy person so I eat a lot on the go, which doesn't always leave room for healthy food. I am now incorporating more green juices and teas to keep up my health. Health is wealth!

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Alisha: Believe in yourself and trust your intuition. You are amazing and magical. Now is the time to share your gifts with others.

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Alisha: I wake up between 3-5am to meditate for at least 20-minutes. This starts my day off right and connects me to the Self.

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Alisha: I am very open about my experiences, which has liberated my soul. I post openly on social media and my blog so that others know that they are not alone. 

PYS: Who inspires you?

Alisha: Honestly, every single being inspires me from the happy-go-lucky dog walking down the street to the upset clerk at the super market. We are so blessed to be able to observes one another and share our gifts with the world.

Goddess Rising: Stephanie Birch

Every week, we are so blessed to share this space here on the Passion Yoga School blog with some of the incredible ladies of the health, wellness and personal development community. This is our chance to connect and collaborate with these incredible movers and shakers, as they do great things, follow their passions and make the world a better place. This week, Stephanie Birch took the time to share her thoughts with us!

"I came for the sweat and found a way of life." I was hooked from my very first yoga class. As a longtime athlete, yoga was the perfect dose of physical exertion I longed for after a lifetime of sports and playing tough. It wasn’t until after I had my son that I truly began to connect with yoga as a way of life. Yoga became my breath on and off the mat, it has strengthened my mind and body, soften my shell, teaches me to live in the present, and it serves as a conduit to my Soul's purpose.

In my everyday life, I am a play-at-home mom, yoga teacher, life photographer, writer, fire-starter, online contributor, Soul Activist, Tahoe-lover, a sucker for dark chocolate, dark beer, coffee, cartwheels, boardgames, and a life well-lived barefoot and pants-less. “No pants are the best pants,” is the norm in our household. You can practice online with me at www.oneOeight.tv or in Sacramento, California. You can find me writing wide-open heart as a wanna-be comedian and squealing on my best days at www.stephynow.com.
 

Instagram | Twitter | Website

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Stephanie Birch: My work is really doing the work, no bypassing or excusing my own self-devotion. It is about showing up to the very lessons and themes I teach in a yoga class. I don't fall back on traditional texts, regurgitated cues, or lessons from another. That wouldn't be real for me. It is important for me to actively participate in this practice than cover my tracks or basis with longitude of experience.

My job, as a teacher, is to coach people to feel in a yoga class. To get absolutely in touch with themselves by challenging the physical, mental, and emotional bodies. I refuse to teach people from a place of fear or that there is only way to practice yoga. We do a disservice to teach that yoga (especially, asana) is a one-way system, as if all bodies are built the same, they are not. Alignment brings awareness, it does not keep you safe. It's important to empower people to be responsible for their practice, it's that dedication and self-awareness that keeps them encouraged. I am passionate about getting people to really fuck up the insides and get to know themselves deeply, discovering that they are their greatest teacher. It is not my job to make their time on the mat "good or bad" or that they're doing it "right or wrong." As if practicing one or two limbs of the "yoga path" is not enough, it's more than enough. It's a personal practice and the system is designed to connect you to your highest self.

It's about empowering my students, evolving the practice, and always teaching from a place of fierce love. That means getting downright uncomfortable to understand the deepest depths of ourselves, our relationships, and our lives. 

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Stephanie: My wounds have brought me here. They have given birth to a life of getting fucking real. I used to be such a pretender, people-pleaser, and not say too much or make a stink and it furthered a career of self-doubt and staying small. My pain has been useful in my survival, overcoming the very things I thought would drown me. Going through depression, as a new mom, put our family in a tail-spin. It is not something that just goes away, it's often resting on shoulder, waiting, plotting, and planning to take it's grip again. It's taken a lot of work to get here and I'm grateful for it. My world changed when I began to understand that the Soul is both light and dark and that love is the inclusion of every emotion, it unlocks the part of you that tethered herself to traumas, abuse, and victim-hood that, although painful, gave me purpose to understanding myself. Pain is a beautiful motivator. We can sink or rise with it.

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Stephanie: I challenge others and myself to get out of the box of labeling things as "good" or bad" - we need to change our relationship to a gradient scale of "goodness" factor. I used to believe I was a "bad yogi" because I ate meat, drink alcohol, and don't perfectly align with the traditional teachings of the yoga path. There's a lot of shaming that goes on the yoga world and I say, "fuck that noise." It's taken years to understand myself and trust myself in this process and it certainly required me to knock down the "guru" and pedestal complexes. My worst habit, if you will, is second-guessing my intuition or not following my gut-checks with people, relationships, and teachings. Every time, I allow my intellectual to step in above my intuition, it takes the wind out of me. My practice is truly is trust and love myself deeply -- and say "no" a hell of a lot more. 

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Stephanie: Trust yourself. Know yourself. Love yourself. I follow along the lines of not asking for advice or giving advice. If there is someone that is coming to me for advice, I lead with questions, understanding, and charge the conversation to bring forth answers he/she already has within. We are such an advice-giving and seeking culture. We already know deep down what we need to do and most of the time, if not all, it means we need to listen to ourselves. Trust ourselves. Tune-in to this inner-knowing and guidance. We are always being guided and that means we must tune out the external to uncover our greatest potential.

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Stephanie: My spiritual practice is to have a human experience in this life. To live out life's ups and downs, trials and errors, and everything between. I believe that we are put on this earth to have a human experience, we are already spiritual Beings. 

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Stephanie: I think one that comes to mind, that isn't necessarily secretive, is growing up with the belief I wasn't ever going to amount to much more than a full-time job, paying bills, and calling it a life. I grew up in a low-middle class family, it's the average American story. My dad worked himself to the bone and my mom stayed home to raise 5 kids. Without being taught, per se, many of us mimic our parents and the "should-do" life. Working yourself to the bone in a job you hate because you have mouths to feed is a scary place to be, it's a trap. I openly talk about this trap and use it to encourage my path to grow and make my contribution to the world by not falling back into generational patterns and belief systems. It's how we change the world, moving away from the tribe and into your own way of life. Taking charge of my life is not easy, by any means, but it's absolutely necessary.

PYS: Who inspires you?

Stephanie: I am inspired by fire-starters and fire-breathers. Women who roar and rage. The ones in-touch with their primal, animalistic selves, speak in truths, and dance in flames. This woman, who is my sister, coach and friend, Diana Vitantonio. Belly to belly.

Goddess Rising: Margherita Feldman

Every week, we are so blessed to share this space with an amazing woman from the health, wellness and personal development community. This is our chance to connect and collaborate and this week, we are thrilled to have our very own Passion Yoga School graduate, Margherita Feldman!

I was introduced to yoga at a young age in Montessori School and was continually drawn back for the peace, joy, and light it brought to my life. I began a regular practice in 2012 as a way to exercise and relax. I stayed with yoga because of the physical, emotional, and spiritual healing it brought. After graduating college with a degree in Hospitality and Event Administration, I went into the Caribbean jungle of Costa Rica to Passion Yoga School with Adi Shakti for my ryt200. This completely transformed my practice and my life. In Costa Rica, I also received reiki initiation. I have had additional training in anatomy, nutrition, and alignment. I immediately began teaching children’s yoga, hot yoga, and all levels vinyasa flow. I now live in on the beach in California, where I teach yoga to the community. I also enjoy any flow therapy such as hula hoop, dance, and trapeze. Using Yoga, meditation, and reiki, I have found incredible healing!

Website | Graffiti Seed | Instagram | Twitter

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Margherita Feldman: Yoga, reiki, and meditation have become a great spiritual tool for me. I am finding deeper connection to my highest potential every day. I have begun unraveling the layers of conditioning from society. I was brought up to believe I needed society's approval. Through my work, I realize all that is important to me is to be is a happy, healthy, and connected to my source. I grow closer everyday. I love when my work helps others to connect with their spiritual centers as they discover a light burning inside.

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Margherita: Without my core wounds, I would not be the beaming light I am today. I suffered much childhood pain: death of a parent, child abuse, unstable living environments, etc. This led me to trouble in my teenage years with drugs and unhealthy relationships. I was lost and in so much pain. I wanted healing. I craved the light.
Through this, I started to move towards the light and promote self healing. I realized how yoga was healing me inside and out. I wanted to continue to heal myself so I could share this magic with others. I am so proud to be healthy, happy, healing, growing, and evolving everyday! 

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Margherita: Currently my worst habit is being worried, confused, and feeling uncertain. I have noticed myself getting clouded by other's opinions or not being fully confident in my own. I know that my intuition knows all the right answers for my journey. If I can sit with myself and really listen to my soul, the answers will become clear. Recently I have let my mind race with worried or anxious thoughts.

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Margherita: You can do and be anything in this world! Whatever your heart desires: talk about it, write about it, post about it, and move your life around it! Ask yourself at the honest core of your being: What is it that is most important to you in life? Once you have found this answer, you must be brave enough to build your life around it. Find the tapas, or discipline, to keep you on the path that creates the life you want to live! You truly can be the best version of yourself with dedication to your practice.

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Margherita: My daily spiritual practice is crucial for me to have a "full" day. I feel incomplete if I have not done one of the following: Spend at least 30 minutes in nature- hiking, beach walking, etc. One hour yoga practice. Journaling or writing letters to friends. Meditating/ chanting/ both. Reading spiritual articles and books is also good to my soul.

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Margherita: I have often hidden from guilt and insecurities. I have approached monstrous feelings of guilt and shame from my childhood. I felt like I was not good enough to be loved as child. This carried over in to my adult life as I accepted many relationships that were unhealthy for me. I did not believe I was deserving of love, because I did not fully love myself. Through yoga and many other healing practices, I have begun a practice of self-love. It takes daily work, but I am committed to facing my demons to promote healing!

PYS: Who inspires you?

Margherita: Melanie Coons inspires me! She is an amazing health-foods chef, gymnastics coach, and yogi! She is always radiating positivity!

Goddess Rising: Loren Lotus

Every week, we get to feature an incredible woman from around the world who is part of the health, wellness or personal development community. This is our opportunity to reach out and connect with some of the amazing women who are out there doing great things. This week, we got Loren Lotus to answer our questions.

Loren Lotus is an international, Los Angeles based, passionate Yoga instructor inspired by the spiritual traditions and Yogic teachings of India. She received her certification deep in the Caribbean jungle of Costa Rica where she studied under a teacher of Akandha affiliate and was provided with a well-rounded and holistic approach to traditional Hatha Yoga.

Her teachings incorporate the spiritual traditions of India and biomechanical alignment of Kinesiology to create styles suitable for every yoga practitioner. Loren began her own Yoga practice in college where she studied Kinesiology and her fascination of the human body first stemmed. Throughout her journey of self-study and self-realization she’s found her true passion through the teachings of Yoga and creating a space of healing and compassion for the mind, body and spirit of others. She believes Yoga is a practice not only on the mat, but also off the mat, in the kitchen, in our relationships and in everyday life. As a yoga teacher and student of life, Loren strives to share her teachings and awareness of Yoga by guiding and supporting her students through their own personal practice.

Loren currently teaches private, group and special event classes in Los Angeles, California. She travels frequently for teaching opportunities around the world and hopes to expand her practice and teaching worldwide.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Loren: My work is a spiritual tool because it's also a part of the bigger practice of life!

Whether you're practicing Yoga, practicing the piano, or practicing other job-related functions, all of these items take dedicated time and expenditure of energy that require your attention. I use my work as a spiritual tool because I believe it's truly what I'm supposed to be doing here on earth, in this life, for this temporary amount of time. Just as you practice while you're taking a Yoga class, I've begun to find a practice each time I teach. Teaching and facilitating a class alone takes plenty of practice, piecing together poses, music, intentions, etc. and with each class I create, it's a representation of my being. With that, the most important part of this line of work is trusting.

Trusting that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Trusting that I'm capable of creating and manifesting whatever it is that I want and truly need to in order to be successful. And of course, defining "successful" to myself and not others. My idea of success may vary from someone else's in Los Angeles, but it terms of happiness, gratitude, and growth, I feel like the work I do is a huge contributing factor to my spiritual growth. 

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Loren: Everyone has their cracks, weaknesses and wounds. It's getting through those times of challenge that create a more matured mind and soul. Whether I was a child living with my parents, in college living in a sorority, or in my 20's living on my own in a big city, each aspect of my life has come with it's own cup of tea. Most of my friends and family will probably laugh and agree that I've been (still may be) difficult, stubborn, selfish or hard to get along with at times. I realize it now looking back on some experiences and believe a lot of my past attitudes and behaviors were caused by a lack of self-awareness or respect for myself. They say how you treat others is a reflection of how you treat yourself so coming to terms with self-love, respect, awareness of myself and loved ones around me has truly expanded the purpose in the work I do now. 

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Loren: My honest and absolute worst habit is spreading myself thin and not honoring my boundaries. Our world and culture has so much to offer that it's hard for the mind not to wander in all places wanting this and wanting that. I often find myself thinking "what if" or "what about that." Of course, this is a blessing and a curse because having this mentality has kept me driven and on the go in various aspects of my life. But to really hammer down on improving myself to be consistent and committed, I try to tune in to what my higher consciousness really needs.

It's tempting to say "Yes!" to every opportunity that arrises (and don't get me wrong, you absolutely should say Yes!) but there comes a time when you need to honor the energy and health of your body to find stillness and simplicity in your life. I really aim to be consistent by creating a schedule, sticking to it and trusting that where I am, right here, right now, is exactly where I am supposed to be. 

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Loren: "Be your authentic self" because that's who you were meant to be in this lifetime. If you try to reach your potential by following in other people's footsteps, you'll certainly learn a lot from them along the way as they are resources, but the most crucial learning is what you learn from yourself. And when you learn new things, share that with others around you so they too can use you as a resource and learn things on their own! All we're really doing here is moving puzzle pieces around to find out our true purposes and maximize that potential in doing so. Also, wake up with the sun ;)

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Loren: Currently, my spiritual practice varies from day to day. While I do prefer routine, I've found that just went I start to build a routine, something will change and I need to reset my schedule all over again. I aim to commit my spiritual practice to sadhana first thing in the morning. Before I even walk into the kitchen for tea or breakfast, I roll out of bed and onto my mat on the floor. The first 15-45 minutes of my day consist of meditation, asana, pranayama and setting a conscious intention for the day. From there I'm off to teach at various studios, each studio offering a different class experience and varying encounters with people. Depending on how many classes I'm teaching that day, I've began to consider teaching as part of my spiritual practice as well. It's an opportune time for me to look inside of myself and share that with my students. Aside from my own personal asana practice on the mat, I try to remain tuned in throughout my entire day. Whether I'm eating vegetarian meals, humming mantras in Los Angeles traffic or going on a quiet hike by myself...again, I trust, what I'm doing is all apart of a higher practice. 

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Loren: I certainly have released several secrets through my practice in order to live fully in my truth. I love the concept of Satya, truthfulness, in not only your words but your actions and thoughts. Through this, I've found the most important part of being truthful to be with myself. I've fought through my fair share of jealously, betrayal, hatred and anger in an attempt to release negative past experiences and make room for new positive ones. I've let go of childhood traumas, past relationships and hardships, and taken on a more understanding, truthful, and grateful attitude. 

PYS: Who inspires you?

Loren: I'm inspired by so many people! I feel like each person I meet along their path has something incredible to share with me and I hope to give that back to them as well. I've surprisingly found a wonderful community of Yogis via Instagram with whom I've connected with. Kelly Pender, from Colorado is also a Yoga teacher, workshop facilitator, and lover of life upon her path!

Namaste <3

Goddess Rising: Suzanne Heyn

Every week, we are so lucky to share this space with an incredible woman from the health, wellness and personal development community. This is our opportunity to connect with some amazing ladies, and this week, we are so pleased to have Suzanne Heyn sharing with us!

Suzanne Heyn is a spiritual teacher and mentor, self-love writer, and creator of transformational online courses. By age 28, she experienced the deaths of her father and sister and survived cancer. These traumatic experiences and post-cancer healing forced her to express long-repressed emotions. In a society that fears emotion, Suzanne's message is simple: Feel your feelings. Love who you are. She believes unconditional self-love unlocks the door to a richly meaningful and abundant life. By feeling our feelings, we begin the most exciting adventure of our lives: witnessing the unfolding of our authentic self.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Suzanne Heyn: One of the things I most value is authenticity. I spent many years of my life massively depressed, and feeling like my sadness made me flawed. I felt like everyone else had it together and I spent all my energy resisting my feelings and pasting a fake smile on my face.

Over time, I grew to see that my pain didn't make me flawed, it made me human. I've healed a lot, but even now, when I see perfect images on social media, it makes me compare myself to others.

By expressing my authentic truth — my ups and downs — through social media and my blog, I hope to communicate to others that it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to be human. I continually remind myself and others that the illusions we compare ourselves too are just that, illusions. 

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Suzanne: One of my core wounds was that it's not okay to feel. After my father and sister died, I felt I had to create the illusion that I was strong and cold and never hurt. After cancer, the rage was all consuming and I had no choice but to face it.

That initiated the most divinely healing journey ever — the journey of feeling my feelings. I was guided towards a meditation practice that helped me dissolve my painful feelings and connect with my core truth underneath it all.

Today, my work is all about feeling your feelings because so much of people's problems arise from repression. This work developed from growing up in a household where emotions were denied. My sister killed herself, and that's one reason why I'm so passionate. Nobody should ever feel that alone. 

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Suzanne: I work too much. I used to be a hardcore slacker, and now I'm obsessed with success. I'm working to become conscious of my behavior and really ask myself which projects have to be done now and which can wait.

Sometimes, I'll talk with my old self, even if that old self existed an hour ago. For example, if I work too late on a project, before going to bed, I'll visualize myself hunched over my keyboard and tell myself, "You don't need to work so hard. You're worthy no matter what."

That seems to be really helpful. I find most bad habits develop from energy and not mindset issues. If you work to heal the energy, you can change your habits. So I work to become conscious of things I'd like to change and then find out the real reason I'm engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

Too often, we focus on surface problems. I like going deep.

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Suzanne: Be patient. We often work really hard to uncover our life's purpose because we believe in the universe and its divine potential and our unique gifts. But then we feel like we need to work really hard to actualize that potential. We remove the sacredness from it and believe it's all up to us.

What we really need to do is prioritize our spiritual evolution above all else. Because our spiritual growth is tied to our life purpose. We often think of life purpose or potential in terms of career, but its more about energy. We might get paid for it, but it's ultimately not about that. So I create online courses and I earn money from that, but what I'm really doing is creating space for people to feel and heal. That's my life purpose. I turned it into my career, but it doesn't have to be that.

So, in short, if you want to actualize your potential, meditate.

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Suzanne: I meditate every morning and do yoga as often as possible. Feeling my feelings and loving myself no matter what is a sacred practice. Loving myself even when I mess up or work too much or don't eat as healthy as I'd like.

There are a couple key areas of my life where I've been hoping for change that's really slow in coming. So everyday I practice acceptance while trusting that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. 

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Suzanne: If I have any secrets, I'm not aware of them. I work really hard to shine light in all of my shadows. 

PYS: Who inspires you?

Suzanne: @jadealectra on Instagram

Goddess Rising: January Newland

Every Wednesday, we are so lucky to feature an incredible woman from somewhere in the world who is doing great things to inspire and empower within the health, wellness and personal development community. This week, we are featuring January Newland who is a fitness trainer and nutrition coach! In her own words: 

I am a personal trainer, yoga teacher, nutrition educator, health coach, ocean aficionado, & Hawaii-born island-lover. I live in San Diego, with my boyfriend, our three dogs, and five chickens. Ours is a life of adventure, fun, and as much time at the beach as we can manage. My passion is helping people discover their healthiest, most radiant self through nourishing food, FUN fitness, and travel! My goal is to help you find balance in healthy living!

My Manifesto:
I believe in learning to love yourself exactly as is, here and now, before beginning a new journey. 
I believe in yoga sessions, AND Mai-Tais. I believe the single best exercise for you is the one that makes you feel ALIVE and POWERFUL. I believe sweat is beautiful. I believe in nourishing your body through intuition rather than counting calories. I believe traditional, whole, organic foods, and that how we eat can change our bodies and have a positive effect on the world around us.I believe your best life involves feeding your soul as well as your body. I believe in less cell-phone, and more beach!


Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

January Newland: People often start their journey of self-improvement with exercise and diet; but many times there's deeper work to be done with self-esteem, confidence, letting go of outside ideals, finding and trusting our own instincts. To me, this is where the good stuff happens, on the more spiritual path. You can follow any diet or exercise program, but if you learn to truly nourish and take care of your whole being, you'll find a new level of happiness and freedom. This is the work that I love to do!

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

January: Well, I was that person who was eating "all the right things" and working out several times a day, basically grinding away at trying to get into this skinnier body that I thought would somehow make me happy once I had it. But really, I had a lot of inner work to do on myself. Once I sought help with wounds from the past through energetic cord cutting, and good old fashioned therapy, it made all the difference. Getting to a better place in my head helped me get to the better place in my relationship with food, workouts, and my body.

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

January: Comparing myself to others. It's a dirty one - I know that we are all truly INCOMPARABLE to each other; we're extremely beautifully unique beings. Yet still, I fall into the habit of looking at the details of other people similar to me and comparing. I'm working on it just through the awareness of doing it, and meditating on self-love and appreciation of my own beautiful path!

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

January: Patience, and trusting your own journey. It ties into not comparing yourself or your journey to anyone else's. I think we hinder our own growth by freaking out that we need to be more or faster or better or... something that we aren't already right now.

We have so many things in the world now that measure us by numbers - number of followers, weight on the scale, website ranking, body fat percentage, grade point average, income earned. And those things can be helpful, but I find more and more in my experience that the really delicious, juicy stuff in life has no numbers, but instead, feelings... It's the relationships with those you love, the qualities that define you like kindness & compassion, the experiences you have, that can't be measured by numbers. 

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

January: My spiritual practice is usually about conscious movement... whether through a long morning walk with my pups, a home yoga practice, or a workout on my own to listen in to my own body's needs for the day. I am focusing on practicing more stillness as well, with a few sitting meditation sessions per week. I think another important part of my spiritual practice is simply focusing on gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life, small to big. And working through the monkey-mind chatter that's always there in my head to get back to those gratitude thoughts, all throughout the day.

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

January: That I teach this radical self love and nourishment to women because I'm great at coaching it; but I'm only good at coaching it because it comes from a place of knowing the lack of self-love and nourishment all-to-well. 

PYS: Who inspires you?

January: Stephanie Birch, a yoga teacher in Sacramento, my mom, Melanie Granfors, who is a trainer of therapy dogs and rescuer of old dogs from shelters.

Goddess Rising: Phoebe Lapine

Every week, we are blessed to feature a woman from the health, wellness and personal development community as they do awesome things around the world. This week, we are happy to feature Phoebe Lapine!

Phoebe Lapine is a cookbook author, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, blogger, recipe developer and wellness personality, born and raised in New York City, where she continues to live and eat. On her blog, Feed Me Phoebe, she shares her recipes for healthy comfort food, gluten-free finds and insights about balanced lifestyle choices beyond food.

In 2013, Food & Wine magazine named Feed Me Phoebe as one of the top food blogs in their first ever Digital Awards and have featured over 100 of Phoebe’s recipes on their website and in print. In 2015, Saveur nominated the site in the category of Best Special Interest Blog in their annual Food Blog Awards.

In 2015, Phoebe launched The Wellness Project, a yearlong blog series and forthcoming memoir (Pam Krauss Books / Penguin Random House, 2017) about how to find the balance between health and hedonism through a series of monthly wellness challenges.

Phoebe is also a featured Tastemaker on one of the most successful recipe aggregating sites, Foodily, and works with the meal delivery service Plated as part of their culinary council. She is a frequent contributor to Mind Body Green, Yahoo Health, Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post Taste. Her healthy recipes, writing, and cookbook have also been featured in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, SELF, Shape, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, O! Magazine, and Glamour Magazine, and online by Time Out New York, Saveur, Brides, Paper, Tasting Table, Serious Eats, and Design*Sponge. She is also a regular host of wellness programming for Healthination.

Website | The Wellness Project | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Phoebe Lapine: Like many people, I grew up knowing the value of good food. My mom was an early adopter of the organic movement. Long before Whole Foods popularized it, she was feeding me bowls of quinoa instead of Easy Mac. But what really compelled me to quit my day job to focus on cooking full time, and what drives me now, even when a long day over the stove feels like a chore, is the power of a meal to feed the body and soul. Everyone is nourished in different ways, and cooking gives you the power to put your own special brand of love on the plate to share with others and, more importantly, to give to yourself. Plus, caramelizing onions slowly over a low flame is a form of meditation in my book. 

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Phoebe: My food journey, and now the work I'm doing in other areas of the wellness world, was heavily influenced by my own health struggles.

The year after I graduated from college, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. My doctor told me not to worry--it was totally treatable, but I would probably have to be on medication for the rest of my life. That last part didn't sit well with me. So I did what any super mature 22 year old would do in my situation: I pretended like the conversation never happened and went on living my life.

I've been trying to undue the damage of that decision for years. But I'm grateful for the initial denial. Without it, I would have probably made an equally blind decision and just followed the path that my doctor laid out for me. Instead, my health bottomed out and I had to learn how to rebuild the hard way. The experience inspired my latest book, The Wellness Project. And I hope that my experiments help others who are looking for ways to do right by their body without giving up their life.  

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Phoebe: I don't know if it's my worst habit--so many to choose from!--but this year I'm trying to focus on hitting the pavement more. Writing is a very isolating occupation, especially when it's cold out. I've come to realize that exercise classes are not necessarily what I need on a daily basis--it's really walking that energizes me. So I'm trying to prioritize 30 minutes of movement everyday and trying to have that translate to more time out in the open air away from my desk. 

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Phoebe: Sometimes you have to embrace selfishness. Honoring my energies often means saying no to a lot of other people in my life who I love dearly. Not to mention my significant other, who's much more of a night owl than I am.

I realize though that when I’m feeling my best, everything else falls into place. The people around me become more alive; the positive glow is contagious. And allowing yourself to get to that place often takes many selfish steps in between.

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Phoebe: I'm an inconsistent meditator, but I try to do at least 20 minutes every morning. On weekends, it's harder. My morning routine is more solid during the week, when I can work around my partner's schedule in order to get some peaceful time to myself. We have been cohabitating in a small studio apartment for five months, so carving out "me time" is a spiritual practice in and of itself!

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Phoebe: I often don't do a good enough job "living my message." There are many evenings after a long day of cooking for others when I will order a big vat of sugar-laden Thai takeout. There's nothing like carrying twenty pounds of groceries around New York City to make your biceps want to pick up the phone instead of a frying pan to get dinner on the table! But in the last year, since starting The Wellness Project, I've come clean with some of my own struggles on the cooking front. And I hope that it actually makes me a more trusted source for doable recipes and wellness advice. I'm a busy flawed person just like everyone else, and I don't have time to become a slave to the stove after working hours! 

PYS: Who inspires you?

Phoebe: Candice Kumai, Anna Watson Carl, Amie Valpone, Andie Mitchell

Goddess Rising: Giovanna Silvestre From Confused Girl In The City

Goddess Rising is our opportunity to connect with some of the amazing women from around the world who are working in the health, wellness and personal development community to empower and inspire. This week, we are happy to have Giovanna Silvestre from Confused Girl In The City!

Hi Everyone,

My name is Giovanna Silvestre and I am the founder of the brand “Confused Girl in the City”. “Confused Girl” started out as a blog 2 years ago. I was a bit lost at the time and wanted to share my feelings with others. I figured, I can’t be the only confused one out there. It’s funny how we feel we’re the only ones when every human being has either been there, is still there or is going to be there again! My blog took a life of it’s own and put me on a spiritual journey to find my true nature. Along this journey I met a healer who had a profound effect on me. He had a collection of crystals and told me to pick two to take home. I had these crystals in my room and felt so much joy when I walked past them. One day I was meditating and I had a vision of creating a line of women’s active-wear that are inspired by these crystals. So with no money and an idea, I started the journey. I had no idea how I was going to make it happen but I knew I had to do it. Now, a year later, I have a full collection, of women’s leggings, we are in select stores in LA, we were featured on VH1 and in Yoga Digest magazine. We are currently working on creating many more exciting products.

THE CRYSTALS:

How do we create the designs? I take high resolution photos of crystals that inspire me and work with an art team to print them onto fabric. Each pair of leggings represents a different stone. The healing crystals balance yin/yang energy and cultivate courage, creativity and healing. Our leggings are 4 way stretch, breathable and made in L.A. We pride ourselves in using the best quality fabric on the market. The leggings are great for working out or going out.

Why “Confused Girl”?

People ask me, “Why the name “Confused Girl”?”. My answer is simple, “It is really easy to accept yourself when you are feeling good and your life is the way you want it. But it isn’t so easy to accept yourself when things are tough and you are confused. We shame ourselves in times we need to be embracing ourselves.” Confused Girl is about accepting yourself just as you are at this moment. This acceptance will lead you to your TRUE NATURE.

For more information on Giovanna, you can visit her website, confusedgirlinthecity.com, and follow her on InstagramYouTube, and Facebook.


Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Giovanna Silvestre: I created my job! I brought the brand "Confused Girl" to life. So everyday I have to remember the intention behind my creation. The intention is to help myself and other find their true nature. A transformed person can transform the world. If enough people accept and love themselves, they can accept and love others. 

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Giovanna: My idea for my business came at a rock bottom point in my life. I was as low as I could be. So low that my ego left me and I no longer cared what anyone else thought. It was in that space I was able to create from the core of who I was. The ego has no place in creation.

Sometimes life has to crack you open. I am so grateful for that time in my life. 

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Giovanna: For me it's more of a feeling. The feeling of anxiety. I struggle with this. I wake up with a great sense of anxiety sometimes and do things carrying this anxiety. Now when I feel this, I embrace it but don't allow it to dictate my behavior. Yoga, meditation and an hour of physical activity everyday really helps with this. 

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Giovanna: Face yourself. Embrace not just the light in you but also embrace the darkness in you. We all have shadow sides to our personality. If you never face it, you will never truly move forward in life. Try to look at pain as an opportunity instead of a big scary monster. Face it, feel it and then let it go!

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Giovanna: 10 minutes of meditation in the morning. I write down 5 things I'm grateful for. I either do yoga or take a walk on the beach. When I do this activity I hold an intention with me. I also try to say a prayer before I fall asleep at night. Somedays I do all this and other days I only do a couple of things. It's like exercise the more you do the healthier you look. 

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Giovanna: I tend to be very judgmental of myself and others. This has recently come up in my consciousness very strongly. This shames me a bit because I don't want to be "that person who judges". However, instead of shaming myself, I try to be better. To step into the possibility of being accepting of self and others. Acceptance is everything. When you accept and appreciate, there is no room for judgement. 

PYS: Who inspires you?

Giovanna: Malala Yousafzai inspires me! She is the teenage girl who was shot for speaking out about education for women. She is a modern day hero. We should all step into that kind of bravery. 

Behind The Asana: Episode 14 - Yoga Teacher Trainings

There are so many different options when considering yoga teacher trainings - where to do one, immersion or non-immersion, whether or not you are even ready. While the decision to do a yoga teacher training is a personal one, studying yoga for me was so much more than just being able to teach classes. For so many students, a training is a time of great exploration and development, one that leads to a deeper understanding of yourself and your practice.

 

 

In this episode, I go over what my yoga teacher training meant to me, as well as what you should consider before choosing a program. Please like, share, or comment to let me know what you think. If you have any questions, please email me at adishaktirising@gmail.com

Goddess Rising: Rima Danielle Jomaa

We are so excited to be launching our new series today, Goddess Rising, which focuses on women in the health, wellness and personal development community. Over the next several weeks, we are going to be bringing interviews to you from women around the world who inspire, empower and live a life full of passion.

This week, we are so happy to introduce our first guest, Rima Danielle Jomaa.

Rima is from Los Angeles, and now lives and works between sunny San Clemente, California & Santa Teresa, Costa Rica (where she hosts/organizes yoga & wellness retreats). She is a Marriage and Family Therapist, a certified yoga instructor, a healthy lifestyle blogger & an entrepreneur. In her private practice, Rima also practices Reiki energy healing, utilizes hypnotherapy, and guides others through mindfulness and meditation in combination with traditional therapeutic methods. Rima gives clients the tools and skills to reclaim their health, happiness, and freedom.

Visit Rima on Instagram & Twitter at @rima_danielle or check out her blog to learn more: www.RimaTheJungleGirl.com. Her complete list of social media links can be found on her blog.

Passion Yoga School: How do you use your work as a spiritual tool?

Rima: My work emanates from the path on which I myself am following, and so it is an extension of what I learn & experience, and that can be transformed into teachings for others to apply to their life.

What that means is that as I evolve, so does my work. We all have the capacity to be effective teachers or healers for others at any stage in our spiritual development because there's always someone at a similar level as us that can benefit from what we can offer. As we evolve, we attract different kinds of people that need what we can provide.

Similarly, I learn so much from my students and clients that it's a constant reciprocation of energy that's expanding and changing. It's very spiritually influenced because the safe space we create therapists & yoga teachers gives our clients & students the space & tools to explore their own spirituality.

PYS: The cracks are how the light gets in. Tell us how your core wounds have inspired your work.

Rima: My core wounds span back centuries, as we are constantly reincarnating and playing out our karmic debts. We've all experienced lifetimes of pain and suffering in one way or another, and our work on this Earth, in terms of our soul's evolution, is to find the joy, the fun, and the freedom in life regardless of all of our perceived difficulties and limitations. Otherwise, we spend our time here repetitively cycling the same thoughts and anxieties, creating fear, until we die and reborn working out the same issues.

We are here to play, and I truly believe that. I've been able to use various forms of therapy (I'm a marriage and family therapist myself), such as hypnotherapy, Past Life Regression therapy, and group therapy to help me understand why I chose this particular life is and what my role is within it.

"To change my tribe" - that manifests differently in each moment. From a cultural standpoint, I've faced many challenges as a woman (overcoming deep-rooted feelings of guilt, shame, and fear) and I've started remembering my power and strength as a divine feminine being, with abilities to effect change within myself and my community. I hope to inspire this "remembering of Self" in others as we all come into our True Power to live happy and free and to afford that for others humans & sentient beings.

PYS: What is your worst habit and what are you doing to improve it?

Rima: My worst habit is not sticking to a daily routine. As an entrepreneur, I am constantly buzzing from this task to that and I often forget to take care of myself in ways I should. That might look like skipping meals, not drinking enough water, or getting too hyper focused on certain tasks and neglecting others. To fix this tendency, I've been setting intentions to sleep early and rise early. First thing I do when I wake up is a daily health routine which includes tongue scraping, flossing, drinking lemon water, face yoga (to get my face muscles toned!), and cleaning up the house. This way, I start my day refreshed, with a clear space, and in the right direction.

PYS: What advice would you offer to other goddesses working to actualize their potential?

Rima: "Get clear on your intentions so the Universe can hear, understand, & manifest them into form. Then work hard & show up. The Universe will align Itself for you in the most magnificent of ways."

Also, be fearless.

PYS: What does your daily spiritual practice look like?

Rima: It is constantly evolving and as I mentioned above, lack of a routine is my worst habit. This doesn't mean I'm not spiritual, it just means that I don't have a typical "Day-In-The-Life-of-Rima" scenario. My morning routine is what I mentioned above and then I set out my schedule and agenda for the day. Yoga is usually a part of that and a great way to practice spirituality, however, I work to take yoga off the mat and find presence in each moment. That's the way I truly connect to spirit - in each moment, when I breathe air, when I feel (anything), when I am - I feel blessed and grateful. As I prepare my food each day, I feel gratitude for the organic food we have access to and for the vegan lifestyle that's changed my life. I'm constantly aware of all of the good and beauty that's around me as I work hard to change the things that aren't in line with my highest Self. That balance is where I try to reside, and where I can feel spirit within me.

PYS: What secrets (past or present) have kept you from living in your truth?

Rima: Through therapy, I've learned to live an authentic life that's honest and pure. I stopped playing different roles in different places and tuned in to who RIMA is. Finding that has enabled me to be honest and open in every situation, even if I perceive it to be scary or difficult. This practice over the last couple of years has led to very specific and divine opportunities appearing in my life. I don't always say what I feel as there's a dark tendency within me to be angry and afraid at the state of the world and the actions of those around me, but I have learned to embrace and use my darkness rather than hide from it or try to tuck it away. We all have within us darkness and light and we have the ability to choose how we act. One of my favorite song lyrics is "My bright is too slight to hold back all my dark". While I don't feel that way specifically, I do feel like most people fool themselves into believing they're "good" people without allowing space to realize we all have the capacity to lean towards good or evil and we must make conscious decisions each moment of the day that are good. It's not inevitable that we're one or the other and it's not black and white.

PYS: Who inspires you? Who should we interview next?

Rima: My best friend and soul sister - Alexis Franklin - THE Yoga Warrior Goddess. Not only is she kind, beautiful & talented, but she's extremely hard working and organized. Though we live physically far from one another, her and I have formed a strong bond - both an emotional one and a professional one - which I'm so grateful for because each day, she inspires me to work harder and continue following my passions. 

Behind The Asana: Episode 8 - The Science of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga, which explains how we can use diet and lifestyle to maintain balance in our lives. Ayuvedic medicine offers us guidelines for what to eat, herbal remedies to better support our health, and ways to optimize our wellness. In this video, I go over the doshas, the three different constitutions of our bodies and introduce the characteristics of each dosha. I also go over tips to keep you balanced in your life, depending on your prominent dosha. 

 

Please like, comment or share, let me know what you think! If you have any questions, please email me at adishaktirising@gmail.com.  

Behind The Asana: Episode 7 - Ahimsa

Ahimsa is the ethical principle of non-violence. In our daily lives, we have the ability to make choices that lessen violence and perpetuate a better world. In the yoga community, ahimsa is often seen by the choice to be vegetarian, but beyond that, ahimsa is practiced through conscious consumerism, supporting local communities, and ethical travel. Every dollar we spend makes an impact, and when we keep ahimsa in mind, we are able to support the world we want to live in.

Please like, share or comment, let me know what you think! If you have any questions, please email me at adishaktirising@gmail.com.