Interview: Empowering Women with Yogi and Dancer Hemalayaa


The daughter of Indian parents, Hemalayaa’s first teacher was her father. She went on to study yoga, philosophy, and meditation and has now become an empowering yogini, dancer, mentor, coach, and fitness educator. Based in Los Angeles, Hemalayaa travels the globe transforming lives through her unique combination of yoga and Indian dance. She will be teaching at this year’s Hanuman Festival, and we are honored and grateful that she took the time for an interview with us.

How did you find yoga? What inspired you to dive deep into the practice?

I was first introduced to yoga was by my dad when I was growing up, but my own personal practice and journey began 26 years ago. When I discovered yoga could shift my life for the best by letting go of who I was not, and coming home to who I truly am, I was elated, expanded and wanted to share this with everyone. I found it to be transformative, especially with the deeper diving practices that could “dis-lodge” unhealthy behaviors that did not serve me.

Viewing ads supports YogaBasics. Remove ads with a membership. Thanks!

What is the focus of your teaching?

My practice and the way I teach is all about liberating ourselves from the bonds that limit us, creating pathways to stay open, connected, and in freedom. The focus of my teaching is to take us out of the mind, free us to living with unlimited possibilities.

What are the current projects you are working on?

I am Leading a movement for us to all rise into the alignment with our spiritual selves! The movement is called EMBODY, and this is a pathway for women to be powerful and in union with all aspects of ourselves. I call this being sober–sober in the sense of not being in denial of our truth, being in real connection, and moving forward with swift speed to our dharma and mission here. EMBODY is a 3-day immersion training for women to claim true worth, power, and pleasure. This is the training ground for women to live awake, make a positive impact, and be in their leadership.

LoveShinePlay Festival

Visit our friends at LoveShinePlay ➞

What does enlightenment mean to you? How do you move towards freedom, love, and devotion in your life and teaching?

Being in my authentic self–the one who knows the truth, is steady/unwavering and connected to God/Goddess, and others deeply. Being in love, through the constant fears that arise.

The way I move into freedom, love, and devotion again and again in my life/teaching and practice is through the EMBODY pathway:

  1. Release the mindset that prevents me from owning my power. Freeing self from control mechanisms that cause suffering.
  2. Rejuvenating with ancient and modern movements. Indian dance, yoga and expressing and releasing simultaneously.
  3. Realign with my vision and dharma. Becoming unstoppable in my path and surpassing inner obstacles.

What has been your biggest obstacle to seeing your inner radiance?

The biggest obstacle that was in the way of me seeing my inner radiance was the beliefs that ‘I was not enough’, ‘I am a failure’, and the deep underlying self-hatred that was living inside of me and running my life. Through the study of yoga philosophy, we/you/me get to know ourselves in our true authentic, powerful, and radiant versions of ourselves.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in your teaching career? What has been your biggest failure or disappointment?

My greatest accomplishment is sharing and leading myself and others to our birthright of joy and freedom through the blessings of yoga and dance, and doing what it takes to show up as a leader of transformation for myself and those of us who are ready to stand in our power, lead from the heart (truly), and BE connected. My biggest failure/disappointment is beating myself up, being hard on myself and allowing my shadow self that carries rage and anger to unconsciously snap and hurt people (and myself).

What have you found to be the most effective yoga practices to shine your light brightly into the world?

The most effective and powerful yoga practices have been the dynamic flow between postures and living in the mindset (heart-set) that ‘we are perfect, born perfect,’ we are not this body–we are spiritual beings in a physical body. We are meant to be in continuous spiritual awakening and is safe, actually necessary for us to evolve, and share our light and dharma in the world.

  • Yoga Therapeutics

    Yoga Therapy is the use of yoga postures, meditation and pranayama to help the body naturally heal and balance itself. Check out our Yoga Therapy section to learn which yogic practices have been shown to have healing qualities for common complaints. Yoga Therapy Guides

    Each month YogaBasics’s readers can enter a new giveaway for a chance to win a great yoga prize. Previous prizes have included yoga books, clothes, and yoga festival tickets! Enter This Month's Giveaway!
  • Our Premium Membership

    Like what you see...and want more? Our premium members have access to deluxe features and premium content including: advanced asanas, yoga pose sequences, yoga therapy, and downloadable MP3s. Join Now!