Alanna Zabel is the founder of AZIAM Yoga . She holds a double BA in Psychology and Child Development, with a minor in Theatre & Dance from the University at Buffalo. Voted "Best Yoga Instructor in LA" by Los Angeles Family Magazine in 2011 and one of "Hollywood's Hottest Trainers" by Shape Magazine in 2013, Alanna is a certified yoga, fitness, Pilates and dance instructor who is passionate about teaching holistic and organic wellness.
Alanna is the designer for AZIAM Active Wear and the author of As I Am: Where Spirituality Meets Reality. She has also written and illustrated seven childrens yoga books, including The Seven Doors, a childrens book teaching Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. She has been featured in Self, Fitness, People, InStyle, Women's Health, Men's Health, Details, C - California Lifestyle and Yoga Fit magazines, as well as having been featured in several yoga/fitness productions.
Name: Alanna Zabel
Occupation: Yoga Instructor
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Favorite yoga style: Vinyasa Flow
Favorite yoga pose: Twisting Triangle
Yoga is… a concise system of how to live true to who you are.
What Do You Love Most About Yoga?
I love that the practice of Yoga is designed to align us with the organic reality of the Universe.
How Has Yoga Changed Your Life, Personality And Physique?
I am more aligned with my true purpose, and I am mindful not to get in the way of this powerful force seeking to be realized.
Regarding my personality, I like to laugh and I really enjoy humor. Yoga hasn’t changed this too much (I am still told quite often that I laugh in my sleep). One aspect of my personality that has simmered is that I let go of injustice quicker than I had done before. I have to remind myself that the world we live in is far from perfect, nor is it aligned with Universal perfection. I seek to divert my energies to creating something positive instead of fighting what I had perceived as negative.
Having always been athletic, my body shape is still on the muscular side. I have maintained my musculature, but with a more lean look. Yoga’s fluid movements help the body’s systems to find their balance.
What Everyday Thing Did You Get Better At Because Of Yoga?
How Do You Keep Your Yoga Practice Interesting And Challenging?
Start a clothing line. While I was teaching and practicing full time, my practice was more effortless. It is much easier to be relaxed and happy when you are practicing and teaching yoga 4-5 times a day, alternating practices with hikes and tea with friends. When the synchronistic opportunity of my active wear line fell into my lap, I was challenged to live yoga off the mat, and deal with people who were not sourcing from Yogi principles. This is where I am challenged daily, and this gives me a much greater understanding for my students so that I can be a better teacher for them.
What Book, Website Or Person Inspires You?
Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda
What Do You Listen To While You Do Yoga?
This varies, depending on what I am focusing on that particular day. If I am seeking a general maintenance Flow, I like trance music with a rhythmic beat (similar to Asana 2: Moving Meditation). Other times I prefer silence or the organic sounds of nature as a means to draw my awareness deeper into the present moment.
What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
*Regarding yoga* About 20 years ago, I took a workshop with Shandor Remete (Shadow Yoga). He was very adamant about practicing first thing in the morning, before bathing, eating or drinking. I was used to an Ashtanga Yoga morning ritual (bath, tea, etc.), but I found great value in his advice.
I will be honest in that I only practice it about once a month, because I do enjoy the valuable benefits of pre-practice, bathing and preparation. Practicing when you first awake gives you much greater insight as to how your body is feeling and aligning. His thought was that these realities could become masked by external practices and substances applied to warm up the body. This advice has shaped how I approach my realistic perspective and organic process to both meditation and yoga.
*Regarding meditation* After six consecutive Vipassana courses, I was really expanding my awareness to realms that made me uncomfortable back in worldly “reality”.
I was hearing other people’s thoughts and my senses were so extremely heightened that I was becoming anxious. A fellow yoga teacher, Steve Ross, gave me the greatest advice that completely grounded me to relax into my experience. He said, “People meditate their entire lives to get what you are experiencing and you are afraid of it. You are not going to lose ‘Alanna’, you are not going to lose your laugh, your funkiness, your spirit.” This really grounded me to settle into my experience, even if it was an extremely atypical experience.
*Regarding professional life and writing* Arianna Huffington was generous enough to connect me with her book agent while I was in the process of editing my manuscript. After reading my manuscript, she advised me to separate it into three books. The first expressing my philosophy and program (current book, As I Am), the second detailing my unbelievable experience in India in 2004, and the third book sharing how to apply these principles and Universal laws into modern living.
We are currently in the editing process of the second book.
Other Links: http://www.facebook.com/asiambook