Thanks for connecting with us Andrea! Let’s start with your hometown; where are you from? San Mateo, California
How and why did you start practicing yoga?
This is actually a little funny, the answer….Amazon (yes, the online superstore). Amazon gave me a recommendation to read 10% Happier by Dan Harris
which is a book simply about his journey as a skeptic of meditation and his eventual conclusion that meditation and mindfulness are very beneficial. It is a really funny book, I highly recommend it. Coming from a similar doubtfulness in the practice of meditation, I began to explore for myself. This is where yoga comes in. I struggled with sitting still with my thoughts, so I decided I would try Yoga. At first, I struggled with the asanas, but after a little bit of time yoga began to flow within me. I found a true connection between my body, mind, and breath. I was able to clear my thoughts and find a calm and peace in the chaos of everyday life.
What was your greatest fear or doubting belief in making your initial decision to take a yoga training? My greatest fear was probably very similar to my original fear of yoga. Before I started yoga, I used to think yoga is not for me, I am not flexible, and I will never be able to do that pose. Before I decided to take teacher training, I thought teacher training isn’t for me, I can’t get my toes to touch my head. It wasn’t until I came to the realization that yoga isn’t about being a human pretzel, it is about rolling out your mat, being present, and finding yourself.
What inspires your yoga practice/teaching? My students inspire me to teach yoga. I love watching them progress within their own practice. When they are having challenging time in their lives, I watch them come to their mat for themselves and leave a little more peaceful and calm.
Who is your most influential teacher/mentor? Alexandra Rossi – My first class at YGSF was the Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training taught by Alexandra Rossi. On our first day we went off-site to observe her teaching middle school aged children yoga. She guided the children through an asana practice while integrating breathing and mindfulness. I was in complete awe of her energy and relationship with her students. Later I observed Alexandra teach Prenatal/Postnatal yoga, where half the students were pregnant, half the students were new moms, and there she is teaching both groups while rocking a restless baby in her arms. She has a warm, caring energy, that helps her build relationships with her students and for students to learn and connect with each other. Alexandra is a wonderful teacher and mentor who has inspired me as a teacher not only to guide students through their yoga practice, but also build connection and community.
What challenges has yoga helped you overcome? I started my yoga practice during a very chaotic and stressful time in my life. Yoga helped me to significantly reduce stress and anxiety in my life. Overall, I am a much happier person.
What shifts once you first unroll and step on your mat? After I unroll my mat, my whole body and mind say ahhhh, it’s me time!
I may not be perfect, but parts of me are AWESOME!
Why is yoga so beneficial in this day and age? For many who live in the Bay Area life is always on the go, going from one place to another, multitasking, sitting in traffic, work-work-work, and for many this results in chaos, stress, and anxiety. I find yoga to be “me time”. I check-out of life’s chaos and mindfully come to my mat to find peace, calm, and connection. Most days I leave feeling refreshed and ready to face the world.
What is your favorite quote?
Minds are like parachutes; they work well only when open
What are your top three health benefits that yoga provides? I know many instructors might answer this question by saying it increases flexibility or that it helps your body to release toxins. However, my answer to this question comes from my own personal experience. It help me increase self-love, self-confidence, and empathy for the world around me.
In one sentence, how would you convince someone to try yoga for the first time?
No you don’t have to be flexible and get your toes to touch your head, yoga is about coming to your mat, finding yourself, and having fun
What drew you to Yoga Garden SF? How did YGSF’s training help prepare you for teaching/change your perspective on yoga/life? YGSF training helped me become a more knowledgeable and grounded yoga instructor. Through in depth teachings and exploration it helped me prioritize what is important to give and guide students through in their practice.
What’s your finest advice for a newer teacher? We were all really nervous teaching our first classes. Challenge yourself! Really show up for your students.
What are you doing now?
I currently teach a Hot Power Vinyasa, kids yoga, yoga for veterans, and Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga
in Foster City.
Tell us about your Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Business!
I have always loved the water, from swimming as a kid, to guiding people down the American River in a raft as a whitewater rafting guide, and kiteboarding on the bay, I just couldn’t stay away from the water. So I of course needed to teach yoga on the water!!! I absolutely love teaching people how to stand-up paddleboard and then guide them through a gentle but challenging yoga practice on a floating mat!!
What was it like to practice and study yoga in San Francisco? San Francisco is a beautiful and amazing city. I love the people, atmosphere, and food. I took out time each day to mindfully observe the craziness and chaos of the city and everything else that makes this city so unique.
What are you excited about learning next?
Everything! Every day whether I am teaching yoga or practicing yoga I am continually learning something new. Sometimes it is how to go deeper in an asana, other days how yoga has benefited others lives. Ok, I am also really excited about the upcoming Restorative Yoga Teacher Training
coming up next month…ahh.
What made you want to sign up for YGSF’s ProElite Membership?
I researched several 300-hour programs before choosing YGSF. YGSF has several benefits over other studios that fit my needs. The ProElite Membership
offers unlimited yoga classes, teacher training, and workshops for one affordable price. I liked the format of the 300-hr program, 150 hours of Core (Philosophy, Energetics, and Synthesis) and then 150 hours of electives. I could not find a similar program that offered such a vast amount of electives and offered classes more than once a year. Most impressive to me going through the 300-hour program was that the teacher trainers had decades of experience which provided me with a very enriching experience for me.
How has your life shifted/moved/benefitted from the ProElite Membership and the YGSF’s advanced studies? YGSF advance studies deepened my foundation of yoga through in depth studies of philosophy, asana, and energetics.
Where can we connect with you off the mat?