Interview with Yogi Caley Alyssa
Yoga helped Caley Alyssa transition from working a 9-5 in finance, to finding the career of her dreams. Through a steady yoga practice, she was able to connect with her community, move gracefully through a divorce, and create a life beyond anything she had imagined. Caley Alyssa teaches a strong, sensual, and playful vinyasa-based flow focused on empowering her students to push past their perceived boundaries and open to all the benefits of the practice. Caley is a pillar of leadership and empowerment within her local community in Los Angeles, co-hosting a monthly speaker series called Women Catalysts in Santa Monica. She also teaches yoga classes online through MyYogaWorks.com.
How do you teach? What is your message? How has this changed over time?
My teaching style is always morphing based on my own experience and other modalities of training. However one thing remains constant, the underlying message of my teaching: I instill confidence in my students.
I challenge them just enough, and help them to strip away the BS and get to the real roots of the practice. Savasana is now something I don’t teach in my morning classes. Instead, we do ten minutes of seated meditation. Why is savasana necessary in an early morning class after you’ve just slept all night? The more I practice, the more I question. The more I question, the more my teaching style changes.
What other ways do you instill confidence in your students?
I try to implant the idea of “yet” into their mindset. Instead of “I can’t do that,” it’s “I can’t do that yet.” I teach them the power of their intentions, their thoughts, and how to connect to those sources and use them to attract positivity, health, and equanimity in their bodies, minds, and lives.
How do you challenge your students?
I challenge my students physically and mentally by guiding them through postures and sequences that cause them to build awareness in their bodies and to sit in discomfort (not pain or injury) instead of reacting to it.
What has been your biggest life lesson?
I’m 31 but I feel like I’ve already lived multiple lives. I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve worked in finance at a bank. I’ve moved from city to city. I’ve followed my dreams and made them into reality. I’m still working my butt off, but now it’s all in line with my passion and purpose.
Some lessons I’ve learned: No one is going to do the work for me. I have to put on my big girl panties and do it myself. Sit in it. Just sit in it. Be uncomfortable. Feel all the feels. Everything is impermanent. Know what you want to get out of a situation. If you don’t have an end in mind, a goal or a resolution in sight, you will end up spinning in circles and often times hurting you or the ones you love.
How has your yoga practice influenced your lifestyle?
My practice has influenced my lifestyle in a major way. I used to work a 9-5. I used to follow rules and do what I should, now I question rules and do what I want to do and what feels right to me. I have also been fortunate to learn about and practice meditation, which has been a game changer for me. After sitting my first Vipassana, I see things a little more clearly. I’m more equipped to face life’s challenges.
What does freedom mean to you? How do you move towards or achieve this in your life?
To me, freedom is everything. My mom has always told me that I’ve been independent to a fault, straight out of her womb. I also used to tell her daily, “I’m the boss of myself!” Yoga has shown me how to source my confidence from within AND share that method with others. It’s taught me to lead by example and to connect in deep and meaningful ways to others. To maintain these feelings, I have to meditate. When I miss a day, or a week, I can feel uncontrollable emotions and reactions welling up within me.
Where do you want to go from here? What are your future dreams?
I want to write a memoir about how I made it to where I am today, the relationships that molded me and guided me along the way, and the lessons I’ve learned. I want to have a bigger impact. I want my message and my energy to be able to touch more humans. I want to change lives.
A few more dreams: create an all inclusive wellness community, co-op style and design my own collection of athletic apparel and/or bikinis
What is the purpose that you have been aligning your life towards?
My purpose is to be a mirror for others. I think a lot of women see themselves in me. I’ve been through so many challenges, and I’ve made so many mistakes, but I’ve learned from each and every one of them. I’ve taken those lessons and used them to create the life of my dreams. The goal is not to be perfect, it’s to learn our lessons and move forward with knowledge so we can act, not react.