Wednesday, August 9, 2017

From Guatemala to Redondo Beach: Andrea's Journey to Yoga

Andrea Morales in a yoga instructor who brings passion, love and skill to her teaching


It’s hard to believe that this peaceful woman in front of you has only a little over a year of of teaching under her belt, she seems so in her element. Andrea Morales, yoga instructor, is a Latina who brings passion, love and skill to her teaching.

“People say I give off a really grounding energy,” Andrea says of her teaching. She conveys this with almost the perfect balance of humility and confidence.

But it wasn’t too long ago that Andrea was feeling neither humble or confident. After high school, Andrea went straight into the work world. She worked a traditional 9-5 job at a ticketing company that allowed her the one thing she craved at the time, independence. That was enough for Andrea for a bit. 5 years in, she stopped and looked around. “Something in me said ‘you’re settling,” she shares.




At the time, Andrea was living in the state of Washington, so she packed her bags and headed back to LA to live with her family. Eventually she felt like she was in a good place. She was with her family, she had a nice job and was able to travel back and forth between Washington and LA.

Although things seemed to be going fine on the surface, something was bubbling underneath. All of this lead to what Andrea refers to as “what some would call a spiritual awakening and others would call an emotional breakdown.” She hit a point where she had to breakdown and breakthrough.

Andrea left her job and started to evaluate who she was and what she had to offer the world.

She ended up at a yoga studio in Redondo Beach California. This studio, CorePower yoga, offers all new students a free week and Andrea took full advantage. Class after class something told her “follow this.”



...and she did.

A course for teacher training was announced and Andrea knew she had to do it. She signed up and was ready to open herself up to the process

“It gave me something to work towards and something to work for, and I hadn’t had that since the breakdown.” It was here at teacher training that Andrea was able to dive into the parts of yoga that truly spoke to her. She learned about the yamas and the niyamas, the chakras, and yoga philosophy. She did hard, yet fulfilling spiritual work that began to fill those holes left from the breakdown. She began to find herself again.

Her education in yoga training filled so much in Andrea, she wanted more. She signed up for more trainings in other formats and found herself a part of a community. This community filled Andrea with more positive relationships that helped foster an even better sense of self. As she speaks about the more positive workplace she's found herself in, she exudes gratitude. “All workplaces can be like this,” she says.

And Andrea knows the difference. For years in her corporate based work, she knew the struggles of having really tough relationship with people that she worked with. Now that she’s found yoga, she has really great relationships that can’t begin to compare to the ones from before.

Andrea’s wish for her students is that they take lessons like this with them. She describes the yoga practice as an opportunity to create space for manifesting the things you want and need in your life. She explains that her students come to class to build this space, then they take what they have built out into the world. “You can make that a part of your day,” she explains. “You can make it intentional, spiritual….”



Which is what Andrea is all about. Baptized catholic yet raised Mormon from the age of 4, Andrea felt that her life never relied on religion but always centered spirituality. “I would go and do the rosary with my catholic grandma then go off to practice with the church of Latter Day Saints” her realization was the the house didn't matter so much as the spirituality of it all. Although she left both churches behind, she found the spiritual part of yoga to speak to her the most. “Corepower focuses on the physical aspect, but once you’re in the training they give you all these goodies!” With all these key pieces, Andrea was able to dive deeper into yoga and her personal practice. “It’s a constant learning process,” she states.

To see Andrea in this place and to hear her speak so positively about the ‘now’ is pure beauty. When Andrea speaks about her past, she describes a journey with many roadblocks.

Andrea spent the first 14 years of her life in Guatemala. Her dad owned an agricultural business and her family lived a good life. She went to the same private elementary school her entire childhood. When she was 14 years old, her family decided to move to the United States. Andrea’s mother had always wanted to go and her own mother (Andrea’s grandmother) had moved there long ago and was living in Los Angeles. So her family packed up their lives and moved to Los Angeles. Andrea came to the U.S. thinking she would be starting middle school but due to her age, she was sent straight to high school.

Although she learned English very quickly and was removed from ESL classes by sophomore year, high school was tumultuous for Andrea. She transferred to different schools every year and moved from LA to Washington during this time. By the end of her Senior year, her counselors were telling her she probably wouldn’t graduate. “I didn’t feel like I had the right support,” she says. Andrea never really thought to go to college after high school. She just wanted to be independent.

Which is why, the woman you see today is that much more impressive. Andrea has been through a life with lots of changes and adversity, yet she is grateful for these challenges. She feels they helped her grow into who she is today. Andrea states that being an immigrant has given her the ability to adapt, which is a skill she constantly uses in new situations. And she feels that her place here in the world and in the U.S. is not simply a stroke of luck. “You are somewhere and you’re meant to do something meaningful and impactful,” Andrea states. According to Andrea, the fact that she comes from somewhere else has given her this perspective that her place and purpose are important.




If you ask her students, they’ll tell you the same. Andrea is an amazing instructor who spreads her love of yoga to those fortunate enough to experience it. “I get to teach yoga and it’s a humbling experience,” she says.

If you ask Andrea, choosing a career path as a yoga instructor is totally worth it. “I think my 12 year old self would be pretty proud of me,” she says with a smile. Andrea loves her job and she encourages anyone who wants to pursue yoga instruction to pursue it. “If someone really feels the calling to be of service, yoga is the way to go.”




Check out the slideshow below of Andrea at her home studio in Redondo Beach California







"The Educated Latina campaign is designed to celebrate Latinas pursuing education in all their endeavors and to promoting a world where every Latina is inspired and empowered to seek education in college, career and beyond."

You can purchase an Educated Latina shirt by clicking the link here or the pictures on the right. All proceeds from the shirts go towards my tuition for Harvard Graduate School of Education.


-Sabrina





Do you know an Educated Latina that should be featured? Email me at sabrina@ShesChasingSunshine.com with their name and why you think their story is important to share!





Muchas Gracias!

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