YOGA PRO Nicole Sciacca is no stranger to balance, on and off the mat: learning the ins and outs of motherhood and business simultaneously, as well as juggling a full teaching schedule, might made some people go into a tizzy. Yet Nicole does it while still keeping a positive, proactive attitude and her focus empathetically on what’s best for those around her. When a spine injury sidelined her dancing career, Nicole turned to yoga for both a physical and emotional outlet. Little did she know it would change the trajectory of her life!
Fast forward to the present moment, and her boutique yoga and spin studio Hustle and Flow Fitness on Venice Beach’s trendy Abbott Kinney Blvd has created a unique family of like minded individuals and a warm, welcoming environment for all. And Nicole’s classes are no different – challenging yet empowering, focused yet filled with laughter, dynamic one moment and restorative the next, Nicole always seems to know exactly what each individual yogi needs to find their best self no matter what the experience level. Attending her class is like hanging around with your best girlfriend – literally (more on handstands later!) Read on to find out how Nicole stays grounded, passionate, and purpose-filled – you might just pick up a few life lessons yourself!
Yoga Matters With Hustle And Flow’s Nicole Sciacca
Nicole Sciacca Anderson
What originally drew me to yoga:
My 28+ years as a dancer steered me toward a life of sweat and challenge, however I think my defining moment was the rupture of not one but three discs in my spine. That back injury changed the trajectory of my dance career, and thankfully yoga was there to heal and guide me through the transition. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the practice was a gift of therapy for my body and my mind.
I adore Maria Vilella. She was one of my teachers in my 500-hour training at YogaPoser, and I am continually inspired by her authentically genuine spirit and graceful asana practice. In terms of the business of yoga, I will take my hat off to every single yoga studio owner in the greater Los Angeles area. Small business owners need to support one another and build each other up. In this economy, there is no time for BS. I see these incredible “mom and pop” retailers all over town and I know how hard they are working to make it happen. I frequent these businesses as often as possible, and am inspired by each one of them.
When I'm not on the mat, I’m...
…with my family or doing something related to Hustle & Flow. Starting up a new studio has been one of the most rewarding and exhausting experiences ever…and on top of that, I’m a proud new mother! What’s most interesting to me is that now that I have less time to practice on the mat, I find myself breathing deeper, meditating and praying more often off the mat. Yoga has a lovely way of getting under your skin and improving whatever it is you’re working with.
I love handstand. Going upside down is one of my favorite parts of my practice. I have always loved the feeling of strength, power and grace I feel when I’m balancing (of falling out of) handstands. They’re energizing and empowering, and for me they are important to my struggle with headstands (I had surgery on my eyes, which makes headstand terribly uncomfortable).
I wish that more people realized that yoga…
…is accessible for everyone. If one style is not for you, there is sure to be one that resonates. I always tell new students this because my first experience with yoga was a level 2/3 music vinyasa flow (which I had no business taking) – one of the most athletic styles of yoga I’ve ever experienced to this day. My first impression was that yoga was fast moving, loud, and a little like gymnastics. Now, I realize that is a specific style of yoga, but a far cry from the only one!
Mission I am most passionate about:
The yoga skeptic. I love having new-to-yoga students in my class, and I often see a complete transformation from the moment they walk in the room to our post savasana conversation. This is not a testament to my teaching but rather to the transformative power of breath and movement. People almost always feel so rejuvenated and at peace. I am a firm believer in teaching from a positive, inspirational and authentic place – no ego-driven or drill-sergent cueing. Personally, I have seen more people grow when nurtured and that’s what I hope to share with all my students, new and old.
Biggest lesson yoga has taught me:
I am not too old and my body will continually surprise and delight me if I trust the practice. A yoga practice is a journey that is unlike any other form of “training”. I don’t remember ever being kinder to myself. There is something about slowing down and listening that builds self assurance and tranquility. I am thankful every day for yoga.
Biggest lesson I hope to teach through yoga:
You are enough. Whatever your personal journey is about, everything you need to excel and succeed is within you and is aching to come to the surface to help you soar. The postures are an external blueprint for the architecture inside. We are constantly building, manipulating, sculpting, tearing down and starting over. The poses teach us so much more than how to do a proper backbend.
Most rewarding yoga-related experience:
Attending the Vancouver Lululemon summit a couple years ago. I was honored to be asked to attend the event and that was the first time I’d spoke (aloud) about my dream to open my own studio. I committed to hundreds of my trail-blazing peers that I would make it happen within a year – and I did. Interacting with folks that are that inspired, motivated, and accomplished was such a pleasure and a blessing.
5 things on my Bucket List, personal or professional:
a. Go on safari in South Africa
b. Take a hot air balloon ride
c. Teach yoga to a group of veterans
d. Expand/rebuild Hustle & Flow Fitness
e. This is a stretch but time travel to see a Led Zeppelin concert. HAHA!
Advice I would give my 16 year-old self:
Just put the fat-free cookies down and ease up on the self critique. You are incredible. You are a better dancer than you give yourself credit for and it would be great if you could pay attention while driving. Your need to know what the future holds is a waste of time. Have faith that you are enough and you are on the right path.
“Every obstacle introduces a person to themselves”. I first heard this quote in high school and I find its truth apparent in my yoga practice, which coincidentally parallels my life. We are given only what we can handle – however heavy it may seem. If we could take the lessons we learn from our own personal struggle (whether that’s our relationships, illness, or a yoga practice) and apply that forgiveness to the rest of humanity we’d all be much better off. Ultimately, the human spirit is wired to soar.
What a great feature! I’ve just started taking yoga classes a few months ago, and wholeheartedly agree on the transformative power of breath and movement. I work in a fun, but stressful creative agency, and was always looking for ways to quiet my mind from all the noise and deadlines during my 9-5. Yoga has been the only thing that has truly calmed me, and this feature on Nicole really resonated, especially her note on never being too old!
We are so happy the feature resonated with you, Amy – Nicole is, as they say, the “real deal!”