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The practice of yoga brings about unity and a sense of ease and stillness within ourselves. When we are at peace inside, then can we see peace reflected
in our partnerships, friendships, communications and even global relations.

Imagine if we all truly accepted ourselves, how much room we could make for accepting others.

2) What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?

Yoga has brought me patience, steadiness and ease. Over the years, I had felt so much stress and overwhelming anxiety as a social justice activist. I was
tired of feeling so angry and irritated about everything, especially since these feelings had taken a toll on my physical and emotional health after being
immersed in negativity for so long. So, I searched far and wide for a practice where I could release, let go, and find peace. This is where I discovered yoga.
Now, after my daily yoga practice, I feel balanced and replenished. I carry that awareness throughout my day, which allows me to live my life proactively
rather than reactively.
1) Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?

The biggest issue that lies at the root of all social injustice prevailing today is people living in disconnect with their
most authentic self. Most people are walking around pretending to be someone else, accumulating things they do not
really want, and engaging in behaviors that are not in alignment with who they really are. Most people are functioning
under a spectacle, yet – more often than not – they truly desire to express themselves genuinely and live in their
truth. Living in our truth brings about a most happy and fulfilled state of being, which translates into how we show up
into the rest of the world.

Yoga is essential to transforming this persistent pattern of disconnect as we find our most authentic selves and the
expression of our truth in the practice. In the practice of yoga, we place ourselves in postures and breathe through
the challenges and conflicts that arise. This process helps us to discover more about how we treat ourselves, how we
speak to ourselves, and most importantly, our overall attitude about who we are and how we arrive (whether we like,
love or despise these aspects of ourselves).
3) How did you become a yoga instructor and what type of yoga do you teach?

After experiencing all the benefits of yoga in my personal life, I decided I wanted to be a guide for others to
also discover the wonderful gift of yoga. After a handful of months of immersing myself in the practice, I
signed up for a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) training at Yogalution Movement in Long Beach,
CA and three months later, I graduated and became a certified yoga instructor in October of 2015. I
currently teach Hatha (Classical) Yoga, Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga in Long Beach, Signal Hill, Irvine and
Redondo Beach, CA. (See my full class schedule here: http://nicoalrenee.yoga/yoga/)

4) The biggest misconception about your field?

The biggest misconception about yoga is that order to be a “great” yogi, you have to master a headstand.
That could not be farther from the truth. I quote MC Yogi here when I say: “many people think [yoga]
means touching your toes. But [yoga] asana is more about touching the soul”. The deepest and most
fulfilling work you will do in yoga is not necessarily perfecting a posture, but rather finding yourself in the
process.

5) The best advice for beginner yoga students?

Four things: 1.  Show up, no matter what. I promise, you will thank yourself.
2.  Let go of any preconceived notions or expectations. Just be in the experience.
3.  Don’t take yourself too seriously or be too hard on yourself. We all start somewhere.
4.   Listen to your body and always make adjustments when necessary. You do not have to master every
pose in 60 minutes – or ever, for that matter.  
6) Three things everyone should do before getting into yoga?

1.      Buy a yoga mat.
2.      Go to a yoga class.
3.      Make your practice consistent.

7) How do you deal with stress and negative people?

I practice yoga to reduce or eliminate stress so that I can be proactive (and not reactive) in the face of negativity, whether that is a situation or a person.
Then, I can respond with kindness, compassion or neutrality.
8) How has your political belief changed after you got into yoga?

I believe everyone has the potential to change and has room for personal growth, so I no longer
hold space for condemnation of those I once deemed as the “enemy”. However, I do not enable or
endorse behaviors or actions that go against my political beliefs either. Rather, I live as an
example of my ideals and influence others based on my actions rather than raining down a heated
lecture (as I may have done 5 years ago). Yoga has made me a lot more diplomatic.

9) Your response when someone says yoga and vegan diet is for rich people.

Yoga and veganism knows no gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, class, age or any other
social identities. Both are universal in application. Our roles as instructors or advocates is to make
these platforms available and accessible for all so that people can make the choice to engage or
not.

10)  Top 5 books that people should read -
1.      Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar
2.      The Dhammapada  by The Buddha (a book of translated teachings)
3.      The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
4.      The Journey Home by Radhanath Swami
5.      The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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Nicoal