UPLIFT Teen Yoga Mentor Avery McCaslin is one of the women participating in the innovative mentorship programs for youth provided by UPLIFT Yoga Foundation. She will be at the UPLIFT Yoga Bash. She shares her personal practice, her superpower, what she’s reading, and what she learns from the other UPLIFT Teen Yoga mentors.
What brought you to yoga?
By nature, I have a tendency to be very type-A, competitive, assertive, and goal-oriented. I love those qualities about myself, yet they don’t always help me feel grounded, calm, and grateful.
While I was paying my way through college, working full-time and volunteering, I hit my breaking point. My fiancé introduced me to yoga and since then I’ve not only found balance and peace in my life, but a community of wonderful and supportive women.
What keeps you motivated in your practice?
My motivation to practice yoga comes from what I feel like when I don’t practice! When I am consistently practicing, I can feel a difference in the way I breathe, the way my body feels, and the way I feel about my life. Yoga makes you feel good, and I like feeling good!
What do you learn from being a mentor?
Being a mentor with UPLIFT Teen Yoga is a joy. When we teach others we actually teach ourselves as well. Being a mentor has brought me back to realize the most important thing we can do for this world, which is to help and care for others.
Do you have any stories to share?
There are so many amazing moments it’s hard to choose! For example, there was one teen in particular who started off our session shy, timid and quiet. On our first day, her intention word that she chose was “confidence.” Throughout our eight-week journey together, she slowly became more and more interactive, talkative, and silly. It was truly amazing to watch. On our last session together, we each pulled a stone out of basket with a word on it. The rock she pulled had the word “confident” on it. Goosebumps!!
What do you learn from other mentors?
My fellow mentors have taught me so much! These woman are strong, caring, generous, and amazing communicators. Their passion and love for this organization inspires me every day. They have helped me become a better mentor by helping me put the UPLIFT message into my own voice in order to truly communicate and make an impact on the teens I mentor.
What do you tell people when they say that they’re thinking about trying a yoga practice but they’re not sure where to begin?
I get so excited when someone tells me they’re thinking about doing yoga. The first thing I tell them is that there’s no such thing as being good or bad at yoga. I prefer to accompany my friends to a yoga class, especially if it is their first one. When we talk, I also make sure they understand that yoga is not about being the most flexible or the best at balancing, and to never compare themselves to someone on another mat. I try to get them to understand that practicing yoga is about going inside themselves and allowing whatever to happen.
What’s your go-to personal practice?
My favorite personal practice is a nontraditional heated yoga class with weights and uplifting music. It sounds silly but I have so much energy at the end of my work day and going to this class is just what I need! I often find myself practicing yoga in other forms too…like focusing on my breath while I’m walking my dogs or commuting to and from work. To me, yoga doesn’t only happen while I’m on my mat and that’s what I love about the practice!
Are there any books you find inspiring?
UPLIFT Founder Erica Austin gave me the book The Universe Has Your Back by Gaby Bernstein at a time when I needed it. It was at a point in my life where I had no idea what my true calling or passion was. I listened to this book three times in a row and just ate up every word! The book helped me understand that the things that I wanted the most out of my life couldn’t always be forced or controlled by me. The Universe Has Your Back helped me realize that although I’d love to be all-powerful, I’m really not. Reading it has helped me understand the universe gives you guidance if you just breathe and listen. Needless to say, I highly recommend this read!
What’s your superpower?
My superpower is that I’m a master multi-tasker! Life is always going to be full of tasks, events, goals to tackle, trips, to-do’s, and checklists.
Yoga has helped me approach all that life throws my way with grace and gratefulness, rather than feelings of being overwhelmed.
Support UPLIFT Teen Mentors at the UPLIFT Yoga Bash!
Join 600 yogis on the Eve of the Equinox – Friday, September 21st at Doheny State Beach. We are raising funds and awareness for UPLIFT Teen Yoga’s new Outreach Division, which will bring yoga and mindfulness to the teens in Orange County who need it most.
Use Promo Code “FINDBLISS” for a 15% off Discount to buy tickets here: https://upliftyogabash2018.eventbrite.com
MANDUKA “BIRDS OF PARADISE” VIP PRE-PARTY – 5-7 pm
Our upscale Birds of Paradise VIP Pre-Party will be from 5-7 pm with 250 guests. Here we will have all kinds of entertainment: delicious hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, “Insta-Famous” acro yogi performances, Giant Angel Wings by Colette Miller of Global Angel Wings Project, a Flower Power Braid Bar, Fire Dancers, Essential Oils & Card Readings, and tons more.
OM CIRCLE AT SUNSET
At sunset, all yogi guests will move to the beach for a massive OM Circle led by CorePower Yoga’s Chief Yoga Office, Heather Peterson.
MAIN EVENT – 7-9pm
After the OM Circle, we will move to the beautiful grass area adjacent to the beach, underneath Doheny’s 80 foot majestic palm trees. CorePower Yoga’s Director of Mindful Leadership, Anthony Chavez will lead us through our inspiring yoga practice surrounded by the elements of nature, beautiful lighting, live DJ beats, and lots of surprises. Get ready for Richard Vagner’s violin Savasana!
AFTER PARTY – 9-10pm
We will move back to the VIP area and enjoy good company, cozy food, live music, non-alcoholic drinks, more acro yoga performances & entertainment, and opportunities to purchase goodies to benefit UPLIFT Teen Yoga.
THE CAUSE – UPLIFT TEEN YOGA
All proceeds benefit our new Outreach Division of UPLIFT Teen Yoga, which brings yoga and mindfulness to the teens who need it most in Orange County.
Use Promo Code “FINDBLISS” for a 15% off discount!
UPLIFT Yoga Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.