👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello there! My name is Anielka and I’m a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga instructor. I’m the creator of Pretzel Girl, a yoga and travel inspired Instagram account. Pretzel girl is the outlet I use to keep track of my yoga journey as well as my progress, and it was created so I could stop spamming friends and family with yoga pictures. Eventually, they found their way there but that’s a different story.☺
My day job is travelling the world as a flight attendant for a major airline in the USA. On my days off, I teach yoga online.
I’m originally from Mexico but home for the last eight years has been Washington, DC. I have a cat-son named Senor Seymour and you can see him cuddling and commanding my attention in my yoga videos from time to time.
Yoga is my everyday “exercise” routine since around 2014. Most days, I practice asana (postures) for hours and some days I just sit, breathe, and relax my mind with meditation. My teaching and practice are strongly influenced by Ashtanga yoga. I would describe my classes as a mix of rocket, Ashtanga and Power Vinyasa. We sweat, stretch, push and relax our bodies and minds during my flows.
When I’m not barefoot on my mat, you can find me hiking or jogging outdoors, wearing sneakers of course.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I practice yoga five to six times a week. I generally listen to and do what my body feels like doing, therefore everyday looks different. Three times a week, I teach an hour-long Power Vinyasa yoga class and usually stay on my mat afterwards.
My practice involves a lot of playful time falling in and out of arm balances, back bends, and handstands. I practice Ashtanga intermediate series the days I do not teach.
Before the quarantine, whether away or at home, I would take yoga classes at local yoga studios or unroll my traveling yoga mat at my hotel room during layovers.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
Honestly, I don’t see my practice as a work out. The time I take to step to my yoga mat is an act of love from me to myself. It’s my sacred moment to check in, reconnect and to explore new horizons within my mind and body.
I highly encourage yoga students to take their practice beyond the 60 minutes they spend doing postures on a mat. Yoga is a way of living, a lifestyle.
For me, yoga is what keeps my feet on the ground and what allows me to bring myself to all the places I travel to and still feel like I’m home because it taught me I AM my own home.
With that realization, I love and respect my body in ways I never did before. I’m more self-aware and I pay attention to the quality of my breathing and my thoughts.
I’m not afraid to push the reset button on my mind when I notice my thoughts are hurting me. That’s why yoga goes beyond a mat and that’s what makes me unroll my mat everyday.
Biggest challenge is definitely keeping a routine. Some weeks is not easy but making time for myself keeps me motivated.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I’m evolving, adapting and trying to remain inspired during these extraordinary times like everyone else. Keeping my yoga practice and lifestyle has not been easy but I’m working on accepting that some changes are out of my control and that everything will be okay.
The days where moving my body is not an option, I sit on my meditation cushion and practice Pranayama (breath techniques) to keep my mind and body present and engaged in a kind and gentle way.
Although, the future seem uncertain right now, I have hope that humanity’s take-away will be to grow stronger, kinder and to appreciate the little things more after this pandemic.
We will spend more time doing practices that help us feel good in both mind and body like yoga and meditation.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I rest one to two days a week and those days I focus on soothing my muscles.
I take Epsom-salt baths and roll out my hands and feet with a lacrosse ball and my entire body with the foam roll. It’s such a treat and way cheaper than a massage!
And I try to get eight hours of sleep at least.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I take multivitamins and add collagen to my smoothies now that I’m in my thirties but I don’t follow a specific diet. I eat what my body craves for as long as it’s whole and fresh.
I keep no track of my calories but I do keep a slight eye on the amount of carbs and sugar I ingest. I believe in a simple and balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables will take you a long way. The greener the merrier!
I do drink coffee, tea, alcohol but all of it in moderation.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Family. Being happier with myself not only impacts me but the people that I love. Being able to enjoy my family at the fullest is my biggest inspiration and what drives me to better myself everyday.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
Stop thinking about it and take the first step NOW. Remember it is never too later and you are never too old to start something new.
Accepting, forgiving, and loving yourself the way you are will give you the tools to remain grounded and focused.
Secondly, become your biggest fan and bring your inner cheerleader out when you need some extra motivation.
Understanding your patterns, likes, dislikes and goals can be a huge step forward to creating a better version of you.
Keep in mind you do not need to change, you only need to get better at focusing on the things that make you happy.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, come flow with me via Zoom Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 am.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
Connect with me via instagram @pretzel.girl
💬 Anielka Azarian quotes
Anielka shares some great, motivating insights in this interview. Feel free to share these quotes on your Instagram, Pinterest and so on 😍