interview: myself

Recently I wrote some interview questions for other yoga teachers and I decided, just for kicks, to answer them myself. I want to start being more personal on this blog, so hopefully this is a good start :)

Write your own answers in the comments! Feel free to replace "students" in the first question with "people" if you are not a teacher, and "yoga" in the 2nd and 3rd questions with something that you like to do. 

my honey and I after I taught over 100 students in the Sundial courtyard on 12/20/14

what’s something that most of your students don’t know about you?

-hmmm…. most people probably don’t know that I have a significant hearing loss. i can hear you, but i depend on reading lips to understand you. i wear hearing aids, but not usually in the studio. 
I think, in a way, that this has allowed me to hear my inner voice just a little bit easier. and for that I am grateful. 

do you have a favorite style of yoga?

I will forever appreciate the hot, sweaty, disciplined, creative, powerful energy of a heated vinyasa flow class 
but i feel most impacted by kundalini yoga, chanting, kirtan or anything that strongly incorporates the breath

what’s your favorite yoga outfit?

loose dance pants, the older the better. a great sports bra and a loose, pretty, sparkly tank top. 

what’s one thing you can’t wait to try in 2015?

I’d like to take a pole dancing class. i think I could be really good at it.

what’s one practice you wish everyone would try?

quit taking shit personally. consider believing in magic. be as kind as you can in every single situation. don’t worry so much. forgive yourself and others. 
that’s a few practices, but hey.

can you share something that made you really happy recently?

i somehow convinced Jim to let us watch a puppy who needed help for a while, who we’ve named Maxwell. we’ve played a lot of fetch the last couple days, and his total go-for-it-ness when he’s chasing the ball is the most adorable, happy thing in the whole wide world. 


How to Really Get Healthy in 2015

Last week I was part of a wonderful event called Resolution Revolution, hosted by Enliven Wellness Works at the First Unity Church in St. Pete. I had some AWESOME company- Joel Bennett, Gary Loper and Joran Slane Oppelt

My friend Joran, who organized the event with his wife Jennifer, asked me to speak on Physical Wellness. I had 25 minutes and could talk about whatever I wanted. 

There was so much I could do with that. I asked what people wanted to hear about on our Facebook event page.

As you can see, I got zero feedback. Oh well! So, instead of focusing on any particular topic, like yoga or essential oils, I decided to share a few tools that make it easier for you to make good decisions about your physical wellness on your own. 

In our workbook for the event I included some healthy habits to try, such as bike rides, nature walks, green juices and smoothies, yoga, etc.

I also included some helpful mantras, such as "I am vigorous, energetic and full of vitality" and "I am free of all life-threatening diseases."

But the crux of the presentation focused on 4 meditations that I have found very helpful in helping you reach a place of center, of peace, of wanting to make good decisions surrounding food and exercise and daily wellness habits. 

If you're curious and have 27 minutes, here is the full length presentation I gave in which we try Grounding Meditation, Sound Meditation, Reiki Energy Self-Healing Meditation, and a Healthy Body Manifestation. 

Enjoy! Let me know what you try and your results in the comments.

And if you're interested in attending events like this in the Tampa Bay area, sign up for our newsletter! I also announce all events coming up on the New World Martial Arts and Yoga Facebook page. 

Namaste and have a safe and happy Christmas and New Years!!



Take Ten: Breath and Gratitude

Man, sometimes life can just be so go-go-go-go that it’s hard to stay optimistic because there’s always something that needs to be done, that I haven’t done yet. And when everything isn’t magically done, there can be so many sucky feelings that come up- stress, inadequacy, anxiety.

At least that’s how I can feel when there is a whole lot coming up on the radar, which is not so pleasant because I know I should be allowing and receiving all these beautiful things and enjoying them when they arrive. But I'm not, because there are still things that have to happen BEFORE I can allow, receive, enjoy.

Only, false.

We CAN allow, receive and enjoy at ANY moment for two important reasons.

One, we are in charge of our own moments. Two, all it takes is a Breath.

Try this. 

Inhale, exhale. Close your eyes with me and DON’T DO for five whole seconds.

And if life didn’t collapse all around you, take another breathe and close your eyes again.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5.”

By all means, jump right back into your to-do list. Drive here. Do that. Call her back. Send that email. Prepare that quote. Continue your education. Drive there. Do that other thing.

Just don’t forget to take ten seconds every now and then. And when you have ten minutes, try practicing gratitude. Write down those good things you should be enjoying more than stressing out over.

And notice how everything starts to sloooow down. You’ll have time to plan thoroughly, feel prepared, and enjoy everything go off without a hitch. Maybe even crack some jokes in between too, and have a stimulating conversation or three.

If you can pause for ten seconds, and practice gratitude for ten minutes, your energy starts to stay inside of you, rather than be constantly drained from the outside world. All the prana you fill up with food, breathe, sleep, exercise can be tapped as a reserve, rather than getting rapidly depleted. You elevate yourself into abundance state, full state, satisfied and happy state, which keeps you more productive and kinder.

It’s been one of those days, weeks, months where there’s so much going on that’s so different and new and exciting that MAN I wish I had more time. And I forget that I can have more time, easily, if I remember to breathe and take ten seconds every now and then, and take regular ten minute intervals to stay in the vibration of gratitude.

So here are some things I am grateful for, lately. “Hallelujah!!” to the following:

-Jim and I went MOUNTAIN BIKING today at Alafia State Park. I guess technically in Florida it would be hill biking rather than mountain biking, but it was still really hard!! And I wiped out a lot... luckily I am good at falling thanks to years of dance training. It was great to feel my adrenaline pumping. (Fun fact: adrenaline makes me have MAJOR giggle fits. Like, I can't move at all because my abdominal muscles are spazzing kind of giggle fits.) So today I got to face my fear again and again and I feel power-FULL!

-I get to share wellness EVERY DAMN DAY through the ancient technologies of yoga, meditation, Reiki and essential oils. Quitting my job and co-founding New World Martial Arts and Yoga has brought me so much happiness and meaning.

-Good books. Not working a full time office job means that I actually have time to sneak in some reading now and then. I’ve been reading Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa. Good quote: “Experiencing the upliftedness of the world is a joyous situation, but it also brings sadness. It is like falling in love… You feel both joy and sorrow. That is not a problem… It is the ideal human emotion.”

-dōTERRA essential oils. Earlier this year I enrolled in dōTERRA and started sharing essential oils right away as a business through my own website. Several oils in particular (Balance and Elevation blends especially) have really helped me manage my emotions, which I did not expect at all. But what I’m really looking forward to is helping my new Wellness Advocates grow their businesses and in turn help their families find financial freedom. It has always been a goal of mine to help others in this way and I haven’t really known how; dōTERRA has given me this vehicle and I’m so excited to see everyone blossom!

-My dog. Addy Mae Mae is the best dog. Look at this FACE!

OK, your turn!!

Take a deep breath or two, and share in the comments what you are grateful for! Ten seconds plus ten minutes is all it takes to enjoy your life, right now.

And before I forget, I’m grateful for you!!! I have met so many wonderful people these last few months, and I’m truly so happy to get to share my experience on this planet in this lifetime with you, wherever you are.

Hugs and Namaste,



A Mid-day Ritual (and recipe!)

There is a recipe at the end of this post. But first, some musings-

Lately I've been exploring the idea of ritual. Specifically, a morning ritual. I have never been one to naturally rise early, and I confess that I've been a little upset at myself for not being motivated to get up early every day and do yoga, meditate, journal, exercise, make coffee, walk the dog, spend time with my boyfriend, etc etc etc.

But hey, I know I can get up early if I want or need to. I regularly get up early to teach pre-work yoga classes to the 9-5 crowd and it doesn't take much for me to be chipper even on little sleep and no coffee. But on the days where I don’t have to be anywhere until later, I just simply do not WANT to get up. I love sleeping in. I love lying there, gazing out the window. I love browsing social media, or reading in bed. I love not rushing.

You know what else I love? Lunch. Specifically, I love making lunch. I love making a hot lunch in the middle of the day, on the stove. I particularly love getting creative in the kitchen, cleaning out the last bits of leftovers, the small blocks of cheese, the roasted veggies that look a little suspicious, creating a meal out of what feels like nothing.

Today I made a pudla, an Indian dish made with (high protein, gluten free) chickpea flour that looks like a cross between a pancake and an omelet. Like frittatas and quiches, you can throw in whatever you want and are they are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Unlike frittatas and quiches, they take about 5 minutes to make.

I pulled out my ingredients. Browned some bacon, prepared the batter. Served the cooked pudla with greens and a dollop of sour cream, on a tray on my desk. A cup of my favorite tea, sugary and steaming. Sunshine streamed in my office, and as I took my first bite, my mouth melted with happiness.

As I was eating my (unexpectedly delicious) creation, I realized that I have been performing a ritual all along. A mid-day ritual. I’ve never worked traditional Monday-Friday 9-5  hours, so I’ve been preparing homemade mid-day meals for myself fairly often for a while now. Even in high school, we got off early enough where I would often make my lunch at home (back then my specialties were tuna sandwiches, pasta salad and fried rice.)

So I’m not gonna tell morning rituals to suck it, because that just seems rude, but I encourage all of you (especially my fellow night-owls!) to try the mid-day lunchtime ritual. Have fun making a meal. Make yourself a delicious drink. Sit outside or next to a sunny window. Take time to appreciate your food. Unplug. Eat. Enjoy.

I found out about pudlas from Sayward at Bonzai Aphrodite, where she whips them up into gluten free vegan delights. I also found out from her that you don’t have to stress about making the perfect pancake shape. Sawyard got her recipe from Kittee at Cake Maker to the Stars. Here is my not-vegan but still gluten-free version

Alina's Bacon, Broccoli and Cheddar Pudla

Gluten Free
Serves 1


3 strips humanely raised bacon
Grass fed butter
3 button mushrooms
Leftover steamed broccoli
Salt, pepper, cumin, tumeric

Pudla ingredients:
¼ cup garbanzo bean flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
Salt, pepper, cumin, tumeric
White vinegar

Shredded cheddar (try getting a block of the good stuff and shredding it yourself)
Sour cream


Mix dry pudla ingredients (tiny pinches of the spices) and set aside.

Cut 2 pieces bacon into small bits. Cook remaining whole piece bacon on the stove in a small pan. Set aside on papertowel. Cook small bits of bacon. Set aside next to whole piece.

Reserve bacon fat for future recipes. Wipe pan clean. Add knob butter. Once hot, sauté sliced mushrooms at a relatively high heat until browned. Season. Add finely chopped leftover steamed broccoli – could also add fresh broccoli or any other vegetable. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, tumeric (just a tiny pinch of the spices) and stir.

Add bacon bits back to pan with the veggies, stir, and start to smoosh everything in a circle in the center of the pan. Add a bit of water to your pudla dry ingredients until it forms a thin-ish pancake batter consistency. Add just a spash of white vinegar and stir. Pour batter over veggies and bacon on stove.

Wait a few minutes and then flip your pudla. If it doesn’t flip perfectly, don’t freak out. Just get all the uncooked batter bits to the hot surface of the pan because uncooked garbanzo flour can taste gross. Top with shredded cheese and add a lid to pan so that the cheese gets melty as the pudla finishes cooking, only a couple minutes more.

Plate with mixed greens tossed in a light vinaigrette, then top with sour cream and a fancy triangle of bacon from that extra strip you set aside. Take pictures, then give the bacon triangle/strip to your dog.

Eat and enjoy!




The bad, the good, the gratitude

This weekend, I experienced a series of unfortunate events. 

Friday night, my honey woke me up from a bad dream because I was whimpering so loudly in my sleep. Saturday we drove across the bridge to Tampa for a concert but couldn't get in because it was sold out. We also passed a downed motorcyclist on our search for something else to do (he ended up being OK). Sunday, I got my first ever traffic ticket- $166 for not fully stopping at a stop sign. And Sunday afternoon we attended the funeral for Jim's old karate instructor. 

But this weekend was also filled with so much good. I taught yoga at my favorite studio and met a new student on a beautiful spiritual path. I took a dance class with an incredible teacher. I walked on the sand and visited my friend, Ocean. I held hands with my man and felt supported and loved. I got to see him and his mother deliver the most moving speech together in celebration of their former instructor and friend. I had to time to enjoy a new book. I ate delicious Chipotle. I got soooo many kisses and snuggles from my doggie. 

So, despite all the crap... There is so much more good. I am grateful for this human experience. I am happy.

I hope you have a fabulous week,





this is my desktop background right now
source: Lightworkers.org

I just found these 3 links tucked away in my drafts folder. Check 'em out for some cool, mind-expanding inspiration. 


If you want to explore your spirituality but yoga isn't really your thing, here are some Shamanic Exercises for Awakening Consciousness that you can try, instead (don't worry, yogis can benefit from and love these as well). 

Money is a spiritual thing, an energy just like everything else. Here's an energetic guide to getting More Money in Your Wallet. 

The next few New Moons are 10/24/14, 11/22/14 and 12/22/14. Here's how to Alchemise the New Moon Energy to Manifest Your Goals. 





dōTERRA Essential Oils and Yoga- the perfect pairing

I heard about dōTERRA oils from Cassandra, a friend and dōTERRA Wellness Advocate who attended one of my St. Petersburg Florida yoga classes. I had been providing various oils from my health food store for my students, and she suggested I try dōTERRA. Soon, I was hooked and enrolled as a Wellness Advocate myself, sharing the oils through my website

I purchased The Essential Yoga Program shortly after receiving my first kit in the mail, and was amazed at the different ways I could start sharing the oils with my students. I was so excited to start incorporating the oils in my yoga classes, so was thrilled when my local group of dōTERRA enthusiasts agreed to join me for a practice class. A couple days before the month began, August’s “Balance” workshop was a natural fit.

I chose this class primarily because the slower-paced Vinyasa flow was a great choice for beginner students, but we were also intrigued by the fact that all of the oils come from dōTERRA’s AromaTouch Technique. To make the class even more appropriate for beginners, I decided to modify Reversed Triangle to Triangle Pose, Hand to Big Toe to Tree Pose, and replaced Shoulder Stand to Plow to Fish with Legs up the Wall Pose.

a selection of some of the oils I used in class

With On Guard in the diffuser and Wild Orange and Peppermint in our water bottles, we started the class by applying Balance to our feet- a great way to ground before beginning our flow. I was surprised to see Melaluca (tea tree) used for the main body of the class, but as the "Oil of Energetic Boundaries", it was the perfect choice for a Vinyasa flow designed to do just that- clear us of emotional baggage!

I had my students apply the Deep Blue and AromaTouch Blends to their necks and low backs before settling into the class’s seated postures, finishing in Legs up the Wall pose. It turns out that this modification paired nicely with the oils; one of my students commented that the gentle pressure on the low back in Legs up the Wall intensified the two oil blends they had just applied there—in a good way!

My favorite part of the class was definitely applying Lavender to each student’s 3rd eye, brow and back of neck in Savasana, final relaxation pose. I often do this in my regular classes and students always comment on how lovely this experience is. Lavender encourages calming and self-care, which is what a regular yoga practice is all about. I am definitely grateful for the Essential Yoga Program and its authors, and will be using this book again and again to teach regular Essential Oil Yoga classes in the St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay area!



for more information on the oils and oil blends used in class, please visit my website at www.mydoterra.com/newworldoils and search for the following products:

On Guard® Protective Blend
Peppermint Essential Oil
Wild Orange Essential Oil
Balance Grounding Blend 
Melaleuca Essential Oil
Deep Blue® Soothing Blend 
AromaTouch® Massage Blend 
Lavender Essential Oil

Interested in learning how you can receive 25% off (or even FREE!) dōTERRA oils and start using these amazing natural remedies? Or maybe even make some money sharing oils with your friends and family? Email me at alinahallyoga@gmail.com!