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How Caley Alyssa Tunes in to Her Intuition

Trust your gut. Follow your instincts. Do what your heart tells you. There are so many ways we talk about heeding our intuition, and yet for many of us it remains a challenge. Below, Los Angeles–based yoga teacher Caley Alyssa shares ways to boost self-confidence and tune in to the voice within—both on and off the mat.

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Carin Gorrell: In this issue, you’re teaching us five inversions. Why are inversions so key to yoga practice?

Caley Alyssa: We get kind of stuck in the same routine in yoga, so practicing inversions forces you to break out of your comfort zone, learn new things, and move your body in different ways. There are also the general health benefits: Inversions boost energy, increase immunity, and improve circulation. Plus, when you finally stick an inversion, it gives you a little confidence boost.

CG: LA is a yoga hotspot. What sets you apart from the many teachers around you?

CA: When I first started, I taught vinyasa like everyone else. The older I get, the smarter I get, and the more my practice and teaching slows down. I also think a lot of yoga is extremely linear in practice, so I try to add a rotational range of movements. And I end classes with 10 to 15 minutes of meditation—everyone needs it.

See also 19 Yoga Teaching Tips Senior Teachers Want to Give Newbies

CG: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from practicing yoga?

CA: Less is more. When you’re doing something repetitively, you really can injure yourself. It’s better for me to stay home and do 30 minutes of what my body needs than to go to a big public class and do what someone else is telling me to do when it doesn’t feel good in my body that day.

CG: What exciting projects do you have in the works?

CA: So many! I’m working on a teacher training for mindbodygreen; the launch date is September 5. I’m also partnering with Andrew Weil, MD, to create a wellness space in Miami called Life. I’m getting the yoga studio up and running, and Andrew Weil is creating the café; it’s opening in late August. And I’m starting to film a new reality TV show called “The Yoga Girls” with Sadie Nardini and a few other yogis. It’s about the juxtaposition of traditional, older yoga teachers versus new-age ones, and how it’s affecting yoga as a career, the relationships between teachers, and the yoga scene here in LA. The show will air on the Z Living network in late summer.

CG: What’s your favorite pose and why?

CA: I tend to have sensitivity in my lower back, so right now I love a good supine twist that’s really restorative and regenerative.

CG: Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom that you live by?

CA: If ever I’m feeling any sort of emotion around a situation, I ask myself two questions: Does this limit or liberate you? Does this raise or reduce your energy? If it’s limiting or reducing, then I don’t do it. There can be times when the answer is a little hard to decipher, but in general, our intuition is pretty spot on. 

See also Hone Your Intuition: 12 Poses to Activate Your Third-Eye Chakra