The Art & Healing of Yoga by Nkechi

The Art & Healing of Yoga by Nkechi

Wow, what difference morning yoga makes! I had the most amazing day last Saturday– I challenged myself to double up on two morning yoga classes, which is something that I have never done before. And it was particularly special since both classes were offered in non-traditional spaces and were sized at over 100 yogis.

The first class was the Flavorpill event the Art of Yoga. My guess is that 300 or more yogis gathered at the SFMOMA for a free class taught by Elise Lorimer. We were greeted by Naked Juice reps (delicious smoothies and coconut water) and DJ J Boogie was awesome at creating a fun practice environment with music.

The class was a pretty advanced beginner Vinyassa class, which makes sense given the large group and the diverse yoga levels. There wasn’t  a whole lot of room to do crazy balances and inversions however I did feel incredibly strong and present in my practice and was able to nail a couple of balances that I have been working on for a couple weeks.

My new yoga friends from lululemon athletica (above) and I rushed from SFMOMA to SF Union Square for another amazing massive yoga class—this one being for cancer research.  Yoga for Hope is amazing event for yoga beginners and experts created from the City of Hope’s efforts to expand awareness of the importance of the mind-body-spirit connection. As an integrated wellness practitioner, I love the way that this facility incorporates complimentary and integrative therapies such as yoga and meditation in the patient treatment programs; it is so needed in the hospitals! I bet there were at least 400 people there! It was such a gorgeous, sunny day and the class was both reflective and restorative.  

Last year, Yoga for Hope raised over $30,000! It was so powerful to offer prayer and acknowledgements to those we know whom cancer, diabetes and HIV have affected. I love offering my practice to others, and it was really meaningful to me to think of those in my life who have or have had a chronic illness.  The cool part about this event is that after the yoga class, there were several workshops and demonstrations offered. My favorite was the Whole Foods workshop where we could sample a delicious quinoa breakfast salad as well as organic granola and fresh organic fruit.

Post yoga glow— I was feeling extremely revitalized and amazing and I had so much of the day left! This ArielSimone headband is one of my recent favorite things to wear to class, as it keeps hair and sweat from my eyes. This top is also ArielSimone and can be worn to and from yoga over any yoga tank or sports bra– I love that it nicely converts to a casual outfit after class. It was perfect post-yoga outfit for the errands that I ran in the city before rushing off to meet up with friends. 

Powerful words to reflect on….

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

~ Denis Waitley

ArielSimone Spotlight 2: Elle Lemler, Model/Yoga Instructor/Designer

PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. I am a passionate student of life, a free spirit and an artist at heart…an anomaly, transcending the idea of definition. Currently I spend my days modeling, practicing and sharing yoga, developing my design skills through a variety of mediums, preparing and sharing delicious, healthy food and drinks (and great conversation), and  generally just  absorbing and responding with positivity to the present moment as it flows seamlessly into the next.

HOW DID YOU AND ADRIENNE MEET? Adrienne and I met through the MN fashion scene, I’ve had the privilege of modeling her gorgeous designs, and absolutely love working with her!

WHERE DID YOU FORMALLY STUDY YOUR PARTICULAR FIELD? Life is my teacher, and I absorb many lessons along this journey….I come from a very artistic family and was lucky enough to be immersed in the art world (as well as the natural environment) from the time I was a little baby, and this shaped my perception of seeing life as an opportunity for expression.  I’m a master multi-tasker and currently I am modeling, teaching yoga, working at Intelligent Nutrients, and also in the process of getting a BA in Interior Design from the Art Institute (on hiatus due to my crazy schedule at the moment). I have also completed 200 hr RYT yoga training, and will continue to deepen my knowledge as I explore the world and the opportunities that lie ahead. I’m a humble student of experience and enjoy the unexpected…your reality is what you make it!

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? In times of intensity, I come back to my breath and let the rhythm guide me to find stillness, and move forward with a clear, open mind to embrace limitless possibility.


WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? I’m a big reader, and always in the middle of a few different books and articles…a few of my recent favorites: “Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic” by Darran Main, “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard, and a great, visually stimulating book I encourage everyone to read, “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman. Also, I have a small addiction to art, design, and yoga magazines and I’m pretty sure I single-handedly keep the print industry in business.

WHO HAS BEEN THE MOST INFLUENTIAL IN YOUR WORK? I find inspiration and influence all around me, from the artists, designers, gurus and teachers of the past who have shaped the world we live in, to the humbling complexity of the environment, which we are all an integral part of and need to honor and respect through our work rather than destroy. We are all one or none!

WHAT IT IS THAT YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR WORK? That I get to connect and share energy & knowledge with such a huge variety of people and through so many different forms of communication, from yoga to design to modeling and everything in between. I love never knowing what the next day will bring…the potential for growth is unlimited!

IF YOU WEREN’T CREATING AND DESIGNING, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? If I was not creating and designing, I would not be alive…creation and design is evolution, and when we stop evolving, we cease to exist. Think about it.

LASTLY, ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS/ARTISTS? Let go of the ego, and attachment to definition& judgment…why so serious? Take yourself lightly! Embrace the unknown, and find comfort in the truth that change is the only constant in life.

“transformation is an endless process to be lived, that cannot be captured or possessed, you can only participate in it.” -Joel Kramer