Alyssa practicing a twist on the bridge.

Alyssa Gaustad practicing on the pedestrian bridge above the California Incline/PCH. Photo by David Young-Wolff davidyoung-wolff.com

What motivates you to maintain a regular practice?

I need it! It definitely brings out a better version of myself and makes my interactions and communication with family and co-workers smoother and more effective. I always feel better after my practice!

I also travel to teach in various countries. My practice is a consistent tonic that I rely upon to help me get rid of jet lag, stay healthy, and feel grounded and more positive whatever time zone I am in.

What are some of your current go-to daily practices?

One of my favorites is alchemical bowing—this is a practice from Shakti Naam Yoga that nourishes the frontal lobe. It always calms me down and helps me focus when I have a lot of things on my mind.

I also work with a special seed sound that creates a vibration that affects the thyroid gland to help regulate metabolism.

What do you do at the end of the day to decompress and unwind?

I soak my feet in a footbath with hot water, sea salt and a few drops of eucalyptus oil with a recipe I learned from the book The Divine Doctor: hot water, sea salt, and a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

This is excellent for the nerves, and it helps me let go of the day and wake up the next day feeling ready to go. It’s so relaxing; sometimes I even fall asleep with my feet in the footbath.

What is a meaningful moment that you have experienced while teaching?

I teach Naam Yoga and meditation in addiction and rehab centers. I recently taught a group of young adults who walked in reluctantly for the first time to a yoga class. Getting the chance to witness the transformational spark in their eyes from only one class was a reminder why I do what I do. It demonstrated the power of the human spirit to overcome challenge. I came to serve them, but they gave me a great gift of hope and fulfillment by reminding me of the power of service and the joy that comes from making a difference in someone’s day.

What is something that you found inspiring in your own teacher training? 

Don’t try to be holy, just try to be a little bit better every day.

Yoga is more than physical postures, it has to do with how you use your word, which can be used to create or destroy. Why use that great power to gossip? Use it to heal, uplift and enliven others.

Talk about some of your favorite places throughout Los Angeles for when you want to have fun or reboot and recharge.

I have a few fun, recharge, and rest locations:

I love stopping by my friends’ houses in Venice and taking a leisurely stroll along Abbot Kinney.

I also love getting out my long board and surfing in Malibu or Manhattan Beach in the mornings and getting a chance to be in the ocean and see the dolphins.

Once a week I go to the Healing Clinic at Naam Yoga LA to get a Harmonyum healing session for my spine and get the so much rest in one hour that I feel as though I slept for a week.

Enjoying noodle soup for lunch at one of the restaurants on Sawtelle Blvd!

I recently discovered Tongva Park on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, which is a great place to recharge. I like to take a moment to sit and listen to the waterfall before I teach class.

Going to Grand Park in downtown LA gives me a taste of my years of living in NYC!

Palisades Park at Wilshire overlooking the ocean.

 

 

Tell us something you love about practicing yoga in Santa Monica?

I love the abundance of sunshine! I practice yogic techniques using the sun to rejuvenate the body and rebuild oneself, so I love the opportunity to work with the healing power of the sun on a regular basis.  I also love the freedom to practice yoga just about anywhere since it is a normal part of the culture here in Santa Monica.

What do you love about the pose you demonstrated?

It makes me feel lean and strong and helps me work out all the kinks from traveling on the airplane or sitting too long at my desk.

 

Alyssa is a Global Shakti Naam Yoga Teacher Trainer, Harmonyum Healing Practitioner, and contributor to Shakti Naam Yoga: The Gift of Health book series. She teaches regularly at NAAM YOGA® LA Healing & Research Center in Santa Monica. naamyoga.com @alyssanaamyoga