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When Trisha Fey felt like she was losing her love of dancing in 2016, she took a break and decided to attend her very first yoga class. She was immediately drawn to the rhythmic pace of moving her body in a different way, but what really solidified her commitment to the practice was a transformational trip to the Philippines. Fey, this year’s ambassador for Yoga Journal’s Live Be Yoga Experience, shares more about what traveling to sacred spaces can teach us about ourselves and others.
Can you share more about your experience in the Philippines?
Right after my first yoga class in 2016, I went to the Philippines, where my family is from and where I was born. There was a big international convention there, and the goal of the trip was to raise awareness of the issues communities were going through and also to learn about their culture. I visited the Lumad community. At the end of my time there, we had a cultural performance celebration. It ended with a huge communal dance circle. It was outside, and you could see the stars because we were in the countryside. I just remember the feeling of community and of being one, even though I’ve had a completely different experience as a Filipina-American than the indigenous people in the Philippines. When I got home, I went through extreme culture shock and cultural identity issues reconciling how I live in the states but I carry the part of myself that I just experienced. Yoga was super helpful, specifically hot yoga. It was a reminder of being in the Philippines because it’s so hot and humid. And while it wasn’t the same experience as that dance circle, I felt that same oneness of us all breathing and moving together. That led me to want to teach yoga and recreate the feeling for other people.
What about the oneness did you want to share with others through teaching?
Speaking from the lens of growing up in America, we’re taught to take care of ourselves and value individualism. But I think at the core, we all crave connection and being part of a community. When we finally experience that in whatever form, it changes our lives and we start to really think about what is outside of us. In terms of teaching, I really hope that people can find healing through being in connection with others.
What are the benefits of traveling to sacred spaces?
If we’re open to it, travel can put us in a state of curiosity and humility because we don’t know everything and we realize we have room to change. Whether we’re visiting a place with deep historical meaning or somewhere we just want to learn more about, traveling there helps us put into perspective that there’s more outside of just our lives.
How has your practice evolved, and what wisdom can you share with others?
Now my practice is about being mindful of how I am feeling in different circumstances, whether I’m engaging in difficult conversations, performing on stage, or being in a studio yoga class. Yoga is just a lifestyle and has room for us to explore; it doesn’t have to look a certain way. It’s more about being in relationships with others, the earth, and ourselves in a way that brings the feeling of liberation and connectedness. At the end of the day, it’s about loving yourself and others deeply.
Trisha Fey Elizarde (she/they) is a dance creative, model, and yoga instructor dedicated to nurturing radical resilience and creative expression—and Yoga Journal’s 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience Ambassador. This year our intention is to SPARK JOY through movement, mindfulness, rest, gratitude, and kindness. The Live Be Yoga Experience presented by NOW is sponsored by Cetus, JointFlex, NOW Essential Oils, NOW Supplements, Visit Sun Valley, and Zebra CBD. Follow the 2021 Live Be Yoga Experience and stay connected with us @livebeyoga.