Andrea Arriaga

    TELL US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR TEACHING EXPERIENCE
    I started teaching over 20 years ago, I was doing personal training and teaching Stott Pilates and was asked to teach a few classes with no yoga training other than my practice. Since then I’ve worked professionally teaching group and private lessons across all age ranges and spectrums of experience in California, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and Hawai’i. I spent many years hosting and instructing yoga and surf retreats abroad and worked at amazing locations and retreat centers abroad such as Haramara as their in house yoga instructor and as a Thai massage therapist, and Villa Ananda as an Ayurvedic nutritionist, yoga instructor and Ayurvedic therapist guiding clients through pancha karma and personal retreats. My experiences through the years allowed me to study under many amazing teachers, wellness professionals and healers who have influenced my teaching style. With all my training and experiences I generally find that simplicity in practice and teaching can be the most powerful for the students. Privately and in work shops I love teaching shadow basics, meditation, mantra, and about cleansing, nutrition, herbs, oils and daily wellness practices. In group yoga classes I tend to teach fluid and deep vinyasa practices and simple pranayama. The choreography and flow of my classes are inspired by nature (my greatest teacher) and the students who attend, changing day to day. I aim to create classes where everyone feels challenged and no one feels as though it is too much. My intent in teaching is to help every student know there own inner strength, light and power and truly connect with their breath and being. I hope that this connection and awareness that comes through practice stays with us when we leave the studio and ultimately allows us to all shine our lights a little brighter sharing it with our families and community as we practice using our energy in ways that allow to be our highest selves and we fully live and express who we are.

    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?
    My favorite pose tends to shift with whatever is going on in my life and with the seasons or environment I’m in but if I had to choose one I’d go with padmasana, lotus pose. Its such a classic. I love how grounding and expansive it is energetically. Physically we open and strengthen the ankles, knees, hips, spine and abdomen. We can access the badhas, and incorporate various methods of pranayama, mudra and even practice japa while we hold the pose. Padmasana represents the practice of the unobstructed unfolding of life and of our own true nature through the yogic path, an unveiling of shadow or darkness to express and uncover the internal light. We see lotus symbolized as the unfolding of the heart and the ajna chakra, or the awakening of Shakti and Kundalini, as the seat or in the hands or at the feet of the great deities and mystics such as Brahma, Buddha, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati. I really love evoking the myth and symbolism of the asanas because they make practice more potent, reminding us of the sacred nature of practice and of our being, wherever there is yoga there will the lotus. “No mud, no lotus”.

    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA/SPIRITUALITY/SELF HELP BOOK?
    So many good ones…. Hatha Yoga Pradipika for yoga because it is a classic hatha text full of information and tools that can be applied to every form of practice and I’ve always loved the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz because it’s simple and I’m drawn to the shamanic teachings, indigenous wisdom and philosophy from across the world but especially Mexico.

    ANY ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS?
    Yoga is simple, connect in with the breath and let it guide and inform your movements. Find your edge and wherever it is, it’s perfect. Don’t let the practice create more stress in your body or your life. Often times it’s not about needing to do more or be more, it’s about letting go, simplifying and undoing so our energy can flow and what can see what unfolds organically.

    WHAT DOES “COMMUNITY” MEAN TO YOU?
    For me community is about connection and service, feeling a sense of place and support and making others feel the same, sharing and caring for each other and for our environment. When it comes to the yoga community sharing in the common values and virtues of our practice, supporting one another on the mat and off so we can all shine our lights a little brighter as we walk our unique paths.

    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT VENTURA?
    My family and our beautiful September through October beach days, fun surf, dolphins, amazing sunsets and seaweed in your hair.

    WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION?
    Walk on Water is really special, they hold events in Ventura taking physically challenged children out to surf and create a sense of connection with the ocean.