The story of Elsie:
To be clear about who you are is truly a gift, it’s a gift that never ceases to be unwrapped, and as one unwraps one finds that the gift within also changes. If I had been asked even just a couple of years ago something about myself, the words that would have poured out would have been far, far different than those that come to my mind now. What I know is that what you do is a reflection of who you are, that always you must seek to find out all the things that you are before clearly choosing an action.
I was born in El Salvador, San Salvador, February 6th, 1972 (I share that only cause I love, love, love birthdays and age is to be celebrated!). My family and I moved to this country in July 1981. I am blessed to have one of the most amazing families. My parents are strong, steady, loving, faithful, and devoted. My brothers are so very unique, honorable, committed, and impassioned. It is really they, that began to shape who I am, as really I am only a reflection of the goodness that they are. I was and continue to be challenged and encouraged to have integrity in all my choices purely by example, and by an unending commitment to live life as sacred, at all times.
I began to be active pretty early in life. I loved to play tag, kickball, dodge ball. I loved PE. I loved all the different sports and trying to be the best I could in everyone of them. In high school I played basketball, tennis and yep, badminton. I so loved practices and pushing myself as hard as I could. What I didn’t really like was competition itself, as I had no control over it. Sometimes I was so fearful of the challenge that I even lied to get myself out of playing, and succeeded, and sometimes I was so aggressive that I often scared myself, as thoughts of just hurting my opponents popped in my head.
I went to college and studied theater. I left the athletics behind. I found the theater as a great way to embody others and to give them a voice, as during that time, I could not really find mine. I found the plays and the characters, the community that was created a great escape to learn about others and somehow not have to really find out about me. I yearned to give voice to others, I longed to speak from all the different character’s hearts, not realizing how I was really sharing my own. That journey took me to graduate school. I was accepted to the National Theater Conservatory in Denver, and I spent 3 incredible years there. Those years were the beginning of living an empowered life. I was expected to deliver a quality of work that required everything within me, which included taking risks that I had never dared to take. It was then that I began to find my voice. My voice, that until then had been that of a little girl, sweet and passive began to grown into a deeper, more grounded and daring one. Mind you, only the beginnings of this.
I found strength again in my body, as I had always remained active, aerobics, step aerobics, kickboxing, weight training, never really seriously, merely as a way to stay in shape and really to let go of stress, to sweat out the daring voice that remained mostly quiet within. In grad school I was introduced to yoga. I had then found something that would soften me. It would help me get centered before a show, it gave me the tools that I needed to focus. We were required to take yoga in grad school, and as we know, most things that we are required to do we let go off, so I did.
I graduated from the National Theater Conservatory in May 1997, and moved back to Los Angeles, with my newly found daring voice, supported by my incredible instructors and the depth of a classical education. I found that my trade, of acting, in LA, at least my understanding of what it was, was not what was needed here. As I embarked on my path as a Hollywood actress, I found that who I wanted and needed to be did not match up to what I was doing. I began to live a life from the outside in. I put on as many costumes as I could, trying to be what I thought everyone else wanted me to be and not who I was. My daring voice, as it had been given life, did not want to stay quiet. “Integrity” it hollored at me. All I found was dissatisfaction, sadness, unhappiness, and eventually despair. That’s when yoga, somehow stepped into my life again. I found my first ‘teacher’ Naime Jezzeny. At that time he was teaching yoga at City Yoga in West Hollywood. I remembered that I walked into his class once, and he remembered my name from then on. Somehow, being recognized as me, Elsie, just, gave me more than I can describe. It was Naime’s passion, enthusiasm and especially his integrity with each and every one of his students that kept me coming back. Naime introduced me to Anusara Yoga, a hatha yoga style founded by John Friend, which is the yoga that I continue to study and align to. The Principles of Alignment of this yoga quenched my analytical mind, the Anusara Yoga philosophy spoke to my heart. It is life affirming, and freedom enhancing. The highest intention of practicing Anusara Yoga is to Align with the Divine. “As we deepen our alignment with the Divine, we step deeper into the flow of Grace…On our yoga mat we artistically offer our individual light and our unique music with the heartfelt prayer of adding more beauty, love, and goodness to the world.” Now who doesn’t want that?
So now I teach yoga, with my full and daring voice, and all I want really is to continue to add more beauty, love and goodness to the world. Yep, cheesy, but really, it’s all I want to be. If this path means that I teach yoga, the physical practice of yoga, for the rest of my life, great. If somehow, Divine Providence carries my heart somewhere else, here I am. I’m so ready to live. I am a reflection of those teachers, students, family members and everyday folks who live stepping into the fullness of themselves. I humbly say thank you to all of you!
As much as I am a yoga teacher and student I am also a Podcaster, and this is the home of Elsie’s Yoga Class: Live and Unplugged Podcast. It’s really a series of yoga podcasts, live free online classes that are published weekly! (almost weekly 😉 ) You can subscribe through the itunes music store, or any of the other podcast directories.
I have also began to delve into more Podcasting: YoGeek Workout, where I get to focus a bit more on other aspects of health, fitness and truly everyday life, and apply yogic principles to it. It’s all about finding your passion and working it all out 🙂
My latest venture is with my fellow yoga teacher and friend Hillary Rubin, Mudra Moments. This lifestyle podcast delves into our lives applying yogic philosophy to our lives. It includes delving into tips, and hints of being a yoga teacher, helping yoga teacher trainees, tips about finding yoga teacher trainings, and making a living as a yoga teacher.