Good morning, spirit tribe! If you haven't caught that pattern of these Soul Series interviews, they are being posted every other week. I'm aiming for Wednesday's, but I got a little off track yesterday!
Today I am bringing you an interview with one of my favorite yogi babes, Ashley Katzakian. I found Ashley through a Facebook group that I'm part of -- we both did business coaching under Natalie Brite. I can't remember if it was our coaching group or SoulSistersOnFire that she had posted in, but I remember the post resonated a lot with me and there was a photo of her and I instantly felt connected with her and was like I need this chick to be in my life!
Since then we've grown into a friendship. I have went through her Breathe. Play. Flow. 3-month yoga series and she was a huge inspiration in my finally signing up for Yoga Teacher Training (you know after like 10 years of wanting it!) Ashley is a busy gal between her business, her regular job, her doggo friend, Brody, and everything else she delves her hands into!
I am so excited to bring you this 1:1 with Ashley Katzakian, enjoy!
1. You make yoga so accessible. While all yoga is accessible to me, many people don’t think they can do it. Did you always want to teach and share yoga in this way?
I try! Haha Yoga is totally for EVERY BODY. I was once told that you are not built for yoga, yoga is built for you, meaning that you can modify, intensify, change your practice to fit your needs and your body. You should never feel as though your body has to form to a specific practice... if you do not want it to. There are so many different styles of yoga that there truly is something out there for anyone and everyone. Yoga is all about breath work and as long as you are thinking about yoga, you can practice. You don't have to look like the yogis we see on instagram to practice. Sometimes it's yoga in bed, chair yoga, yoga in the car. There are so many different pillars of yoga that yoga doesn't even have to be about movement. It is about compassionate loving thoughts, words, and actions. The physical practice of yoga is meant to help us be stronger in our breath, mindset, daily lifestyle practices.
I believe that there are so many things out there that are unaccessible to people I didn't want to add my teachings and practice to that list. I know how much yoga changed my life and I want anyone and everyone to be able to have that life experience.
2. How did you come up with Breathe. Play. Flow.? I, for one, know it’s an amazing program, but can you share with my readers about the program and the creation of it?
Ah! Yes, and THANK YOU! :) Breathe - Play - Flow was created while I was chatting with my Biz coach Natalie Brite (who's amazing by the way). We were riffing off ideas about health and wellness and how we were so tired of hearing people say they can't practice because they don't have a "yoga body" or that they don't have time to go to a studio. I was frustrated with how I kept hearing people talk about how they won't go to a studio because they are intimidated of the class style, of other participants because they don't know what they are doing or because they don't feel "in shape" enough to go. I was getting so frustrated with all of this talk because frankly it's so much B.S.!!! ANYONE can do yoga, and to hear people talk about how they don't have the right body or they are scared just broke my heart. I wanted to bring yoga into the lives of people who didn't feel comfortable going to a studio, who can't afford to pay for monthly memberships, who are busy with babies or a career. Women who NEED yoga but put their health and wellness on the back burner. I wanted anyone and everyone I came across to not only be able to create their own practice but to LEARN something more than how to stand in Warrior 2.
I saw a flaw in the system, a niche that wasn't being addressed. Women who 1. didn't practice but wanted to, 2. women who practiced a little but wanted to deepen their practice without spending time and money they didn't have on a certificate to teach knowing they didn't even want to teach! This gap between "I kind of practice" and "I am certified" was just too big for me. That isn't bringing yoga to everybody! That doesn't make it accessible! Yes, I paid a bunch of money and spend a year become certified to teach but even when I was going through training I had no idea that I wanted to actually teach! And now that I am certified and I do teach, that doesn't mean I should know more than anyone else who practices! That's just bonkers. I mean, come on... yoga is something that has been around for thousands of years, it's no secret! It's just about finding the information and making it accessible.
Breathe - Play - Flow was born out of this desire to be that middle step between "I just practice" and "I want to teach". Through BPF you can learn everything I know as a certified teacher but instead of being certified to teach others, you become certified in Unleashing the Goddess Guru within yourself - awakening your own teacher, for a FRACTION of the time and cost.
3. I know I’ve seen on social media that you have some big plans for 2018 in terms of your business. Can you share any with us!?
Oh my goodness!! Yes! Well I can't give it all away but there are some fun things that have already started! A good girlfriend, Madison Watson, and I started "#ouryearofyoga" through instagram. We both always wanted to do 365 days of yoga and thought since we were going to commit to yoga for a year to share and watch our own journey we could encourage others to do the same - eventually building a community of yogis (experienced, intermediate, beginning, yogis for fun, yogis for serious) who are sharing their own stories, but sharing them as a collective. So.. please join! Join anytime, anywhere, any level of experience! Just add @Ouryearofyoga on instagram and start documenting your journey!
Some other things... I am currently enrolling new clients in my Breathe - Play -Flow program!! Starting off the new year with some amazing new things for your health and wellness. I can't wait to work with more babes on aligning their Body - Mind - Spirit!
*Also coming soon... Unleashing your Goddess Guru eBook, a new program focused on aligning your life by aligning your chakras (oil blends and recipes included) and maybe some products from the Goddess Shop! ;)
4. How do you stay balanced between your business, your other job, teaching yoga and also just living life?
Oh man, do I? Haha Balance is truly, truly a daily practice. Whether it be in your personal life, work life or yoga practice balance is a practice in itself. I may teach about balance but you better bet that I also struggle with it. In fact figuring out balance has been a HUGE part of the last couple of months of my life. Last year around this time I started creating BPF and the Goddess Guru Collective. I was working a part time job, craving more work and aching for my own journey to really kick off. This September, however, an amazing job fell into my lap (thanks Universe) and I couldn't turn it down. I had to quit my old job, which I loved, and start an entirely new career. At the same time, I was moving out of my apartment, only to move temporarily into a friend's home before I actually moved into the apartment I am in now. So, from September to November I really cut out a lot of things in my life in order to just get through every day. I didn't realize while I was going through these changes that they were taxing on my wellbeing. I always think I can conquer everything, but looking back it did take a toll on me. When I realized I felt ready to add back in the things I LOVE into my daily life is when I realized I had cut them out... my biz, my workout routine, my yoga practice, hanging out with friends, cooking, etc. The things that really make me feel full had been kicked to the back burner. Not only was change hard but I was making things more stressful on myself by not relaxing into the things I find passion.
SO haha, how to balance. Remember, balance is a practice. Balance is something that we need to understand how it feels when it's good and so we can figure out when we are unbalanced. Tricks to balancing your life.
Write out a list of the things that you are passionate about, the things that light your soul on fire, the things that relax you, center you, fulfill you, keep you sane and that keep your life normal - HOLD ONTO THAT LIST. Post it somewhere. Keep it on the fridge, in your planner, next to your bed. Use this list to balance out the things you have to do... work, clean, dishes, laundry... the things that end up taking priority over your health and wellness. FIND TIME for them.. Yep, that's right. you DO have time to do them... find it. Find time and schedule everything out. SChedule when you practice yoga. Schedule time for getting drinks with your girlfriends. Schedule time to read a book. Schedule time to clean the house and do laundry. That way when you stop doing the things you LOVE, you'll know there is an imbalance and you can begin to fix the imbalance before it spins too far out of control.
Yes, this is hard and no you will not always be balanced but that's why it's a practice.
5. What is a personal goal or intention you are currently working on and WHY is it important to you?
Balance! Haha, but actually. Since taking this new job my biz has been put on hold. Every time I hear or see someone living their dream life I ache for that for myself. My personal goal for this coming year is to be able to rely on my biz for my personal growth and to deepen my own personal practice. One thing I learned during these last few crazy months is that I ask others to take care of themselves and fill their cup but I have not been filling my cup up. I am a yoga instructor who barely practices? That's not okay. So for me another goal is to deepen my practice - physically, mentally and spiritually. Getting more in touch with my actions and emotions and learning more about myself.
Another personal goal is to DO the things I have always wanted to do.
-Take a trip somewhere new every quarter (two trips already planned!)
- Get a Trifecta through the Spartan Races
- Compete in the Granite Games (yes, I am a crossfit nerd)
- Pay off my CC bills... I have those too
- Direct a play
- See friends in the Upper West Coast
- Buy Christmas presents early
- Learning how to trademark and copyright
- learn how to code
6. I adore your live yoga and beer/wine chats! How did you get the idea to start those?
Oh yes!! I love those too!!!! I need to do another one! I LOVE teaching in unconventional spaces, for one, and those are all things I love. I grew up in a huge wine town so I grew up with wine as a part of my daily life. Wine connects me to family, to loved ones, to feeling comforted - and not just because it's alcohol. I actually would enjoy getting more into the wine business... it'll be my next career, and I just wanted to combine multiple things that I feel passionate about into a space where I could share them with others and hopefully help others at the same time. I think that including beer, wine, coffee, kombucha, tea etc with yoga makes it more approachable to people who aren't huge yogis, but we all know they drink wine with their girls. While yoga is a special ancient practice I think there is something special about making it not as "taboo" of a practice.
7. What are you currently obsessed with? (TV shows, movies, podcasts, books, a meditation, a color, whatever!)
Great question. A couple of years ago my brother gave me a book called Into the Heart of the Feminine by Bud Harris and Massimilla Harris and I am completely engrossed in it. I would HIGHLY recommend it... especially for those babes trying to unleash their goddess guru!
I also series binge on Netflix and by binge I mean I rewatch series I've already watched...not even new shows. There are several series that I will rewatch over and over again. Like, right now I am almost done with Friends for the umpteeth time and am about to restart New Girl (fun fact, I am Jessica Day.)
I also have been trying to get out more and go to more live music so I have been a little obsessed with that. I actually just bought my ticket to Electric Forest this year and I am already bouncing out of my seat I am so excited... the festival is in June/July! haha
Rapid fire questions
8. Coffee or tea? Coffee with steamed heavy cream
9. Favorite crystal? Quartz
10. Favorite chakra? mmmmm would normally say heart but right now in this moment of my life, third eye
11. Yoga in a group or solo? ah! Group but everyone is doing their own practice.
12. Read a blog or listen to a podcast? read a blog
13. All time favorite food? Salmon... the wannabe vegan inside me hates that... but it's true.
I told you guys how great she is, didn't I? I cannot wait to see what comes out of The Goddess Guru Collective in 2018 and just what's upcoming for Ashley in general. She is a true light in this world and her and I don't nearly have enough chats together like we used too. I'm truly lucky to have found such an amazing person to come into my life and now to share her with all of you!
Want more Ashely in your life too? Check out her links below!
Our Year of Yoga Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ouryearofyoga/ Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thegoddessgurucollective/
Find Your Strength. Find Your Inner Power. Find Yourself.