Article in San Diego Voyager
Amanda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I began practicing Meditation and energetic practices when I was 11 years old. As a family, together, we began to work deeply on self-healing methods, embraced a holistic diet, explored Reiki, crystals, chakras, light work and therapeutic methods of eastern medicine.
Having grown up in both San Diego and Southern Baja (La Paz), a deep appreciation for nature and the environment were rooted in my upbringing as well. Outdoor activities and the special energy that comes from commune with nature was a strong saving grace in my wild adolescence.
It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I looked into yoga, however and returned to my roots in meditation. I was guided to take a training near where I was living in Cabo at the time, at Yandara Yoga Institute near Todo Santos. It was a 29-day immersion and we lived and breathed yoga from morning till night. Singing kirtan, learning the 8 limbs outlined by Patanjali and ate only vegan meals with tea. I went in as a complete novice knowing nothing of the postures and came out very strong in my practice and deeply moved within.
Upon my return, all my friends in Cabo wanted to try a class and so I went from there and taught at Auberge Esperanza, Dreams and Querencia, each day was a new experience with new faces and new opportunities. Later I returned back home to La Jolla where I continue to teach extensively and faithfully walk my path!
I keep my training as a lifelong pursuit and have been privileged to train with James Fox with Prison Yoga Project, Warriors at Ease, Tim Miller student of Patabi Joyce, Brian Dorphman student of Desikachar, Leslie Kaminoff author of Yoga Anatomy and the Breathing Project, Larry Pane dean of the Loyola Marymount Yoga Program and founder of Prime of Life Yoga, Niscala Joy Devi author/ translator of the Yoga Sutras for Women, Amy Weintraub author of Yoga for Trauma, Yoga for Anxiety and Yoga for Depression, as well as Tom Kelly former monk at Self Realization Fellowship and Founder of the Soul Center at the Soul of Yoga, Aqua Kriya Yoga with Camilla Nair, and many many more beautiful long practicing elder teachers who collectively possess thousands of years of ancient yoga wisdom from their diverse and varied lineages.
I am now a E-RYT 500, published writer for My Gai and have received YACEP designation (Yoga Alliance Certified Education Provider). I train other teachers, students of all ages (many of my students are in their late 90’s), yogis of all denominations and walks of life. I truly believe yoga meets a person where they are. So when the student is ready the teacher will appear!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are many challenges and obstacles to ones yoga practice and personal path of development. As the pursuit of yoga is a practice, it is a constant learning process, where upon one may find they need to re-calibrate purpose and direction many times. As one begins to evolve mentally, physically and emotionally many long standing behaviors and habits may arise in hopes of being transmuted or transcended.
The cool thing about the yoga teachings of mindfulness and meditation is that they provide a reset button (if you will) where by you can literally shift your thinking if you find yourself mentally or emotionally going off course.
Practice makes it easier and that is why everyone refers to one’s yoga practice as such. It transcends linear destination based ideology and thus has a multidimensional and transcendental potency that can move a person in many different ways.
Working with the inner aspects of one’s self brings about a plethora of learning opportunities, so when the going gets a little tough it is the perfect training ground to put new skills from yoga to work. It’s all about cultivating patience and compassion.
Soul Girl Yoga – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My little yoga company Soul Girl Yoga is all about finding joy within, inner strength as well as softness. The goal is to help bring new balance and awareness to my students, and I like to guide them into a place where they can begin to explore and decide what that means, looks and feels like for themselves to be in their own space. It’s really an inside job, but it helps to have a guide if you are just learning the ropes.
I am so grateful to my students and their dedication. I love my business and especially love the little website that I crafted. I use it mostly to do my own tarot readings and check my horoscope every day and use the blog as a cathartic tool to brainstorm and free flow. If other people read or use my site, it’s great though it’s really like my own little journal.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I have had so many wonderful moments in my line of work. Whether I am working with at risk youth at the Storefront Shelter, women incarcerated at Las Colinas Detention Facility, with Seniors in aqua or chair yoga in their late 90s (one student over 100), or with the noble Orca whales at SeaWorld. I find so much fulfillment in reaching those in need of love and compassion and healing. I am honored to be of service.