Ever scrolled down your Instagram feed and think, How do they do it? Social media is giving acro yoga – the yoga style that’s all about handstands, headstands, backbends, and taking flight – a major day in the sun, and we’re all watching in awe. Leading the pack of pose pros is Caley Alyssa, an LA-based yoga teacher who is known for her picturesque inversions, vibrant personality – and, most recently, being named by Self magazine as one of the top five best bodies in the world (nbd). We’ve always been a little intimidated by the acro scene, but Caley makes it completely accessible by breaking it down step by step – so your asana is not only picture perfect, it’s in perfect form, too.
She’s recently joined the ranks of Udaya pros like Rudy Mettia and Ali Owens, and is sharing with our readers this challenging, yet super-fun flow to get your handstand game going. Read this beauty’s words of wisdom below (the biggest lesson yoga taught her? Love it.), then roll out your mat and take flight – in your best body ever.
Yoga Matters With Caley Alyssa
Yoga Works, Power Yoga East; Online Classes: Udaya Yoga, Radius (NBC Sports).
What originally drew me to yoga:
My siblings! My younger brother, Keaton, actually got certified to teach before I did. I was super jealous, so when the opportunity presented itself to join a teacher training, I jumped on it. I also had an incredible Iyengar teacher in college that planted a seed of curiosity and intrigue surrounding the practice.
Right now my biggest inspiration is myself! I’ve never said that before and it feels damn good. I have surprised myself recently with the amount of strength I’ve been able to summon when walking through an extremely difficult situation, and in recognizing a need for, and taking responsibility for my personal growth. So much for being stuck in my ways. Not only that but I am so proud that I can fully support myself doing something I love while helping others, and actually thrive in doing so. It’s amazing when you can still surprise yourself…
When I'm not on the mat, I’m:
Traveling the world, hiking with my awesome dog, Boeckman, hanging out on the beach with my girlfriends, eating lunch at Gjusta in Venice or cruising around on my bike, soaking up the Santa Monica sunshine.
I have been really into back bends lately. If I have to pick one, it would be Kapotasana (a deeper version of wheel pose).
I wish that more people realized that yoga…
Isn’t just for flexible people. If you aren’t flexible, that’s all the more reason you should do yoga! Also, no one form of yoga is better than the next. They are all great and can all teach you a new way to think, look at a postures, build awareness… you name it.
Project or cause I am most passionate about:
Building community and female empowerment. I have recently started a meditation group with my peers in Santa Monica. We meet every weekday morning and walk down to the ocean to meditate together and set our intentions for the day. It’s an extremely powerful practice, especially when done with others. In the past I’ve struggled with finding my voice, my power, and my purpose. I feel as if I’ve connected to these elements of my life and embody them. Now I am able to take this wisdom and help other women find their awesome too!
Biggest lesson yoga has taught me:
To be kind; you never know what someone else is going through. To trust my intuition; it’s generally spot on. To connect on a deeper level with others; take the time to learn about someone or something new. To bring awareness to everything you do, every breath, every word, every action.
Biggest lesson I hope to teach through yoga:
I hope to inspire confidence in my students. It’s my goal to help build them up and believe in them until they can believe in themselves. Everyone needs support, and everyone needs to be pushed from time to time. I’m here to do both of those things.
Most rewarding yoga-related experience:
Honestly, I think that it was being named in Self Magazine as one of the top 5 best bodies of the world in 2014 next to Misty Copeland and Allison Felix. This was a huge dream realized and I am still in absolute shock that it happened.
5 things on my Bucket List:
1. Sky dive
2. Live in Europe. Somewhere. For at least a year.
3. Learn another language, fluently.
4. Safari in Africa.
5. Travel. The entire world. Or as many places as I possibly can before I die: Chile, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Egypt, Thailand, Vietnam, Maldives, Cuba, Brazil, Nicaragua, Japan, China, Russia, Turkey, Bora Bora, Iceland, India… I can keep going… and going… and going…
Advice I would give my 16 year-old self:
Do you. Don’t give up. Don’t sweat the “no”s and the shut doors because new and better ones will open.
Rise by lifting others.