HALA

thumbnail-3.jpg

Hala Khouri, M.A., SEP, E-RYT, has been teaching yoga and the movement arts for over 25 years and has been doing clinical work and trainings for 15 years. She is a yoga teacher and somatic counselor interested in using the power of embodied practices to heal trauma in individuals and communities while addressing the impact of social injustice on all of us. She is a co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World®. She lives in Venice, CA with her husband and two sons.

www.halakhouri.com

www.offthematintotheworld.org

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

It’s been a long journey! I’d say one big breakthrough happened when I got pregnant and had my first baby. Suddenly I had such a lived experience of the power of my body, and it’s function. I had been sold a story that my body was only valuable aesthetically and making a human and birthing him felt like a big F you to that oppressive lie. The other part is that as I acknowledged what my body obsession was an expression of- my need to feel in control really, then I could address that stuff rather than the body stuff. In some ways it was never about how my body looked- obsessing over that distracted me from my true fear which was about my own vulnerability.

WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE, YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

Right now my purpose is to support people to transform and heal from trauma so that they can be part of a world that is just, equitable and loving. I do this through training clinicians and yoga teachers to be trauma informed within a context of understanding the impact of social injustice on individuals and communities. Through my non-profit, Off the Mat, Into the World, we do leadership trainings to inspire others to be a part of the change they want for the world. I’m also currently taking a break from my PhD program to write a book for Shambhala Publications!

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?

I’ve always had amazing female friends. We get each others back and celebrate each other whenever we can. My sisters are my foundation. What I’d say to others is that having a circle of support- of people who see you, all of you, and who you let see you, is vital to our wellbeing. I know some people have been betrayed by other women, and there’s some healing that has to occur before they can trust again. It’s worth it!

CHRISTINE

thumbnail.jpeg

Christine Tran is a Los Angeles native and recently moved back from Washington, DC. She is a certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher (500 RYT), and Yoga Teacher Trainer (E-RYT 200) and loves sharing restorative and adaptive yoga, energy healing, and mindfulness practices to support self-care and transform stress into balanced health.

Christine’s wellness journey started with injuries from running and trying yoga. At first yoga was too slow and quiet for her, but she soon realized that the discomfort came from not taking breaks in her own fast-paced and stress-filled lifestyle. The slow and steady pace of the practice gave her space for awareness and connection to the true nature that's in all beings - that's yoga!

She is grateful for the practice of Reiki Jin Kei Do (the path of compassion and wisdom) and Yoga Therapy that helped her cultivate an understanding and practices to work with chronic pain and stress from a lifestyle that did not support her well-being.

She dedicates her practice to share the healing with others, guiding individuals to tune into their own innate wisdom and compassion and rediscover the natural healing powers within and in nature.

Check out www.givingearthhealing.com for more information!

thumbnail-1.jpeg

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

It changes every day as the body changes all the time. It has been a long journey of learning and understanding, and I'm still working on it! My daily yoga practice reminds me that my body does not define who I am but is a very powerful tool that is healing and intelligent. By building daily awareness, I feel more connected with my true essence and able to listen to what the body needs and treat it with more kindness.

WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE, YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

Providing a nurturing space for others to recognize their presence and reconnect with the unconditional love that is within and from the universe.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?

To me, Sisterhood is community that uplifts, supports, listens and shares without judgement or not being afraid to admit when we do have judgments. A deep understanding and knowing of how we care for the world but cannot forget we must not forget ourselves in the process of caring for others. We don't have to do it all!

ALLY

Ally Hamilton is the founder of YogisAnonymous.com, an online yoga studio. She is a popular international yoga teacher and life coach whose passion is to empower everyone to live their best lives. Ally is the best-selling author of Yoga’s Healing Power: Looking Inward for Change, Growth and Peace and Open Randomly: Fortune Cookies for the Soul, and her work has also appeared in the Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, LA Yoga Magazine, and Belief.Net.

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE / APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

It took a really long time for me to get to a place where I love and appreciate my body. I fell into the typical trap most young girls and women do in our society, and for years I thought my value as a person was based on my appearance. I think it’s accurate to say I was struggling with anorexia for much of high school, and continued to have a difficult time developing a healthy relationship with my body and with eating in a nurturing and sustainable way for years after. I was constantly restricting my food intake and never feeling like I was thin enough, pretty enough, good enough…until I’d finally had enough with all that. When I started a consistent yoga practice, things began to shift. I started to think more carefully about what I was eating and also why I was eating. The “what” was an education - I had never thought about food as a way of nurturing myself and giving my body some good fuel. I spent a lot of time experimenting with what worked for me and also thinking about the impact my food choices had on the environment around me. I’ve been vegetarian for years. I spent about eight years as a vegan, no butter, no eggs, etc, but when I got pregnant that just didn’t work for me so I started eating a little dairy and occasional fish. It’s an ongoing process, we change, and sometimes we need to change what we eat to support ourselves through those changes. I think what you feed yourself is incredibly personal and I don’t ever tell anyone how or what to eat. We have so much shaming in our society - people shame each other over everything, and I think women take an especially hard beating in that department. I think the most important thing is to consider food as a part of your philosophy. If you’re feeling good about yourself you’ll want to feed yourself well. I don’t eat anything with fifteen syllables or ingredients I can’t pronounce. I go organic for almost everything when possible. I see how I feel when I eat certain things and go from there. It’s also good to notice when and why you’re eating - are you hungry? Lonely? Bored? Sad? Longing? I will say that my relationship with my body changed a lot when I got pregnant. I don’t think that’s the only way to recognize how amazing the human body is, it’s just for me, personally, I looked at my body and its capabilities with a whole new respect and even some awe.


WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE, YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

I think I’m good at making an ancient practice relatable and accessible to people who might not think they’d be interested in yoga. I’ve learned and grown so much from my yoga practice, it’s the foundation of every amazing thing in my life and I have a lot of passion for sharing the tools that have helped me create a life I love, pursue my creative endeavors, overcome unhealthy patterns in so many areas, mother in a way that feels really good to me, and experience a happy, healthy, fulfilling relationship. I think you know what your gifts are and how you ought to be spending your time when you find yourself immersed in something so much, you sort of forget yourself. I’ve always loved to write - I started my first memoir at age nine, though thankfully that one will never see the light of day, haha. I continued to write throughout all my schooling and eventually did an English major at Barnard College (though I kept swapping English and Psychology as majors until I finally had to declare). During my senior year at Barnard, I took a yoga class that kicked my ass and kept me going back for more. After I’d been practicing yoga for a few years, I realized things were starting to shift for me and I was feeling these new feelings that I was eventually able to identify as joy, gratitude, and peace. Psychology has always fascinated me - the way a mind works, the things a person says or does, the stuff that motivates us, scares us, shuts us down or opens us up - all these things have always held a great interest for me, so it’s really no surprise that this is the stuff I find myself devoted to each day. My yoga practice helped me in so many ways; of course I want to share the philosophy, tools and ways of thinking about things that helped me make huge and meaningful changes in my life. I have a yoga-and-wellness website called YogisAnonymous.com (https://yogisanonymous.com/practice) and there are over 8,000 yoga and meditation classes there with new ones added every week. We started filming classes back in 2010 as a way of spreading yoga to people and places all over the world. In Los Angeles we have yoga studios on every corner, but it isn’t like that everywhere! I also began to realize as a mother of two young children who was also trying to have a fulfilling creative life and run a business, it isn’t always easy to carve out a couple of hours to practice in a day! So the site sprung out of this desire to make yoga accessible to everyone. There are my own classes, and the classes of an extraordinary group of teachers I’m thankful to call friends as well. I lead online wellness programs regularly, and I do one-on-one wellness coaching. I’ve written two books, one based on the blog I began in 2010 that’s part of the site - that book is called, "Open Randomly: Fortune Cookies for the Soul", and it’s a collection of sixty of the most popular blog posts that have to do with getting to know yourself, understanding why you do what you do, figuring out how to shift tendencies that don’t work for you, healing after heartbreak, creating boundaries, and so on. I wrote the blog for people who might not know anything about yoga (other than thinking it’s some crazy practice you do in a bikini on a yacht with your ankle behind your head - thanks Instagram!), and the other book, “Yoga’s Healing Power: Looking Inward for Change, Growth and Peace” breaks down the yamas and niyamas (yoga’s shalls and shall nots) and how they tie into our hectic, modern, pressure-filled lives in practical and profound ways. (Both available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository and wherever books are sold). I’m working on my third book now, this one is a memoir, but not a continuation of the one I started in fourth grade.


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?

I think women supporting women is something we ought to be able to count on. I get really bummed out when I see women tearing one another down. There’s enough room for everyone - someone else’s success does not mean that person has now taken your spot! Women can be amazing toward one another and they can also be brutal. Subtle shaming is still shaming. I see moms do that to each other all the time, in real life, and over social media. Everyone is doing the best she can. If someone makes a choice that differs from your choices, that is not a judgement against the way you’re doing things - it just works for her to do it differently. I wish women would stop pressuring each other in every realm. I even see it and experienced it myself with childbirth choices. I wanted a natural childbirth with no intervention, I wanted to be doing yoga throughout my labor, I wanted soft lights and my doula there rooting me on, I wanted dolphins frolicking in the ocean behind me, but guess what? I had a traumatic birth experience with my son and it was touch-and-go for both of us throughout my labor. I’m thankful there was intervention and a happy outcome. When women post about their natural childbirth experiences, I celebrate for them - it’s wonderful they were lucky enough for it to go that way, but when I start to see this sort of smugness about it, that is really disappointing. You can make all the plans in the world, but you aren’t in control of things like how your birth will go, or the tides of the ocean. We all just do the best we can and rise to the occasion when things don’t go as planned. I feel like we women need to support each other and lift each other up, especially now, and in every area. I am lucky enough to have fabulous, loyal, intelligent, passionate, and insightful women in my life, and I’m so grateful for that. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she feels supported and safe to pursue her dreams in the same way her brother does. I feel like we’re on our way.


WHAT CHARITY/CAUSE WOULD YOU LIKE US TO HELP PROMOTE?

I’m a big fan of Glennon Doyle and everyone involved with Together Rising https://togetherrising.org/

Every time I feel heartache about something happening in the world, in our country, or in a particular community, these folks are already on it, raising awareness and funds to alleviate suffering. I can’t say enough good things about this organization - if you’ve been looking for a way to turn your despair into productive and powerful action, please check them out and get involved!

ANGELA

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

Yoga has made me appreciate my body for its strength, wisdom and its ability to connect me to how I am feeling in that moment. Whatever happens in my mind also shows up in my body and vice verse. There is no disconnection. So if I fail to listen to my intuition, my body quickly reminds me of what I already know in the form of a headache, upset stomach, fatigue, injury etc. To learn to honor our intuition is one of the greatest gifts yoga has to offer.

WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE, YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

To help see people see their own light and step into their personal power and to hopefully make it FUN in the process!

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?

We are allies not competitors. I think women often forget this. We all bring unique gifts to the table. We don’t have to operate from a place of scarcity. Let’s help each other SHINE!


NICOLE

thumbnail.jpg

How have you come to love and appreciate your body?

By learning about my body through massage school at the age of 18 and later yoga teacher trainings I gained an entirely new respect for my body that I hadn’t been exposed to before. Learning the importance of my breath, the safety I could feel in my body with healing touch were life changing for me. Pleasure and beauty through spa like self care gifted me to finally feel at home in my body.

What is your soul’s purpose? Your unique gift to the world?

My soul’s purpose is to share my journey and help other women know that they matter, that their trauma isn’t a life sentence and that they can reclaim their femininity, voice and power to create the success and life they desire.

What are your thoughts on sisterhood? What do you wish other women would remember?

I believe together we rise. Collaboration will always trump competition and sisterhood is the key to us breaking through all the oppression pressed upon women. Sisterhood is the most important thing for connection, shame busting, trust and community. We need each other now more than ever.

thumbnail-1.jpeg


SARAH

Sarah Beston is a yoga teacher, writer, and holistic wellness coach based in Los Angeles, California. Sarah is also the founder of Body Wisdom, which thoughtfully guides clients to learn to live life from the inside out through both online and in-person transformative retreats. As a facilitator for the non-profit, Embody Love Movement, she shares workshops to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty and contribute to a meaningful change in the world. You can learn more about her offerings at www.sarahbeston.com.

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE and APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

We live in a society that is largely defined by the external and truly learning to love and appreciate my body has taken a whole bunch of internal work. My yoga practice and my spirituality have really taught me to honor my body in a new way. The French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, says, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Learning to treat my body as a sacred and temporary temple to an everlasting soul has really helped put things into perspective for me.

WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE? YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

This is a really big question and I feel like I am still on the path to learning this a little more every day. I do believe that our biggest struggles can be our greatest gifts and offerings to the world. If we can share our story in an open and honest way, perhaps it will help someone on a similar path. The medium in which to do this obviously varies. Sharing with others the body-based practices that have helped me heal and come back to my true self—yoga, mindful movement, meditation, and somatic-based practices—feels like my purpose right now.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?

I wish other women would remember that we are all in this together. I am so lucky to have so many strong and inspiring women in my life who have taught me the importance of supporting and lifting each other up.

DIANA

Diana lives in Manhattan Beach with her amazing husband John of 22 years and their 2 daughters Jennifer and Sara.  She is a Registered Dietitian practicing for 31 years specializing in Eating Disorders and ADHD. Diana is active with her church family and in her spare time loves shopping and getting nails done with her girls and fitting in lunch whenever possible with her besty girl friends. 

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE / APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

As early as 5yo I remember food being very important to me.  I was the one that couldn’t wait to  come home from kindergarten to eat when all my other friends wanted to go play.  I was an emotional eater at a young age as a way to cope with my mothers death from breast cancer when I was 5yo and my father’s passing from a heart attack when I was 11yo   I didn’t like my body at a very young age from all the pain I was shoving down with food.  Through years of learning to re-parent myself in a loving way instead of shoving down my emotions with food, I learned to love all of me.  Through my faith knowing that God made me and loves ALL of me, every bump and bulge has helped me the most in appreciating my body.

WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE? YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

I believe God’s purpose (soul purpose) for me on this earth is to help other women,  men, and teens learn to love themselves and learn how to trust themselves and their body with food.   I want everyone to be free from giving power to outside people (diets) to tell them when and how much to eat.  I have experienced it myself and have seen with my own children that we are born mindful eaters.  We LEARN to overeat or undereat, we are not born doing that.  If we go back and listen to and honor our hunger and respect fullness like babies do and give ourselves permission to eat foods we enjoy, our body will settle in to our natural body weight.   

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD?

I am so grateful for the women in my life.  I have so many different groups of women that mean so much to me from my bible study group to my Mommy and Me group, to my moms tribe from my kids schools.   I wouldn’t make it without them.  I have learned there is such a special bond women can have if we learn to embrace each others differences.  I hope women can learn to have grace for themselves and thus learn to have grace for other women’s differences.  Women can tend to be so competitive with each other. When we stop judging each other it allows transparency and this is where we can all learn from each other.   When we come together with all our differences we are a powerful source to be used for greater good in this world.

ANNA

Anna Farmer is a South Bay yogi. She received her 200 hour Mittra Training with the famous guru’s of YogaLoft - Suzy Nece, Shelley Williams and Genevieve Pujalet.

thumbnail-1.jpeg

HOW HAVE YOU COME TO LOVE / APPRECIATE YOUR BODY?

“I’ve struggled with fully loving myself for as long as I can remember. But as I get older I’ve come to ACCEPT myself and realize that I have the CHOICE everyday to love and create the best version of myself possible - mentally, spiritually, and physically.”

WHAT IS YOUR SOUL'S PURPOSE? YOUR UNIQUE GIFT TO THE WORLD?

“I think that my soul’s purpose is to connect others. I enjoy finding ways to utilize my network of friends to make impactful connections between others.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SISTERHOOD? WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER WOMEN WOULD REMEMBER?

“Sisterhood is vital for our growth as strong, confident women. I wish more women would recognize the the courage and vulnerability that some of our sisters before us have presented to the world.”

WHAT CHARITY OR CAUSE WOULD YOU LIKE US TO HELP PROMOTE?

“Count On Me Family Foundation. Their mission is to empower and inspire the deserving youth of today through impactful programs and community outreach.”



SHELLEY

How have you come to appreciate and love your body?

I accept it for what it is, and no longer wish for it to be something other than what it is... I LOVE that as long as I take care of me on all levels ~ body mind spirit (sleep, good nutrition, water, exercise, yoga, good company, friendship, spirituality, quiet time, meditation) then my body is really quite capable of doing anything I ask of it! What a great feeling to be able to run, jump, dance, surf, give birth, help people through yoga and pilates....I get to share all of this through my body.

What is your soul’s purpose?

I feel like it is multi-faceted...I am here to be the best mommy I can be, I am here to be a sister, a friend, a daughter, a lover of life, to share the importance of nature, health, art and music, and really helping others to find health and balance in their body and mind. I feel I am a guide to help people on their own paths and journey of self discovery... I am able to point out the views, possible ways to overcome obstacles, to remind folks of their own inner strength and that we all ultimately are our OWN teachers and our OWN healers. I am able to simply shed light on that...

What is your personal work?

Yoga Mittra Teacher Trainings for those wishing to deepen their practice and experience of yoga. Its not just about becoming a teacher, its about living yoga. We have annual teacher training immersions, prenatal yoga teacher training, retreats and workshops and more. Suzy Nece and I are now adding an online component so that we are accessible to every body any where globally: Get Woke Yoga will be our online resource of classic Yoga practice classes, yoga quickies, Zero F*cks Yoga, meditations, Yoga for people who can't do yoga, etc....

www.myartofyoga.com

thumbnail-1.jpeg
thumbnail-3.jpeg
thumbnail.jpeg

MARIELLE

Yoga became a huge part of my life when I made the move to Los Angeles nine years ago. Originally from a small town in Northwestern Connecticut I made the move across the country to pursue acting. It took a few years and many different kinds of jobs to realize that what I was really destined to do was to become a yoga instructor. I took my teacher training in 2014 with Lauren Eckstrom and Travis Eliot and I been teaching ever since. I was not sure where the teacher training would lead but in the midst of it I discovered my voice and I have been sharing the teachings of yoga for the last four and a half years. My class is for everyone and I love for my students to really listen to their bodies and what they need in each moment. I encourage slowing down and I doing less. I would love to see you on the mat. I am so happy to have joined the Studio Surya family in Venice and I am thrilled to be a part of a community again. You can find me at Studio Surya every Monday and Wednesday morning at 9. Let’s slow down and breathe together. 
thumbnail-3.jpeg

How have you come to love and appreciate your body?

I really value how strong I am. I feel my best when I am moving and doing yoga many days of the week and it makes me feel so good. When my body is strong so is my mind and when my mind is strong so is my body. I am very lucky to have a mother who always showed me how to love my body because of how much she loved hers. 

What is your soul's purpose? Your unique gift to the world?

I am still coming to realize what my purpose is. I know that I am here to teach people how to slow down and take care of themselves. I love encouraging people to really really slow down in their yoga practice as well as their life. We can pay such closer attention in life when we slow down and really pay attention to every single thing we are doing. Mindfulness is becoming more and more important in my life and I love sharing that with everyone around me. 

thumbnail-1.jpeg

What are your thoughts on sisterhood?

What do you wish other women would remember?

I love how when women come together we can help each other heal. When we really show up for each other and share our own vulnerabilities we can learn so much from each other. I wish that women would remember that they are so very unique. Every single one of us is here for a reason and we have so much to share with the world. 




MACY

thumbnail-3.jpeg
I am a therapist in Hermosa. I work with children and teens. My focus in my work is being able to see people’s strengths and their potential when they can’t necessarily see it themselves and getting them to a place where they can. I also work very closely with the parents to work on building a stronger relationship between the parents and the child. I work with kids from 3 years old all the way up to when they go off to college. If you need someone to grab coffee and talk about all the great things that you’re doing and have someone to be there and support you, you can call me anytime. I love meeting new people. I love connecting with others!

Body Love

I love my body because I’m able to connect with other people. I love giving big warm hugs and belly laughs that when you’re laughing so hard that your stomach hurts. Those are the things that I’m most grateful for when it comes to my body and of course the ability to explore. I love the fact that my body has the ability to walk outside the door and see all the beautiful things that this world has to offer or even go to another city or another country.

Soul Purpose

What I think my soul purpose is, is to connect with other people. I love hearing other people’s stories. If you ever need anyone to cry with or jump up and down just because you did something amazing, you can call me, I’m definitely your girl. I love being able to create a space to support other people when they’re being their most authentic, genuine self.

thumbnail-3.jpeg

Sisterhood

The meaning of sisterhood is actually really important to me right now. I feel like I’ve been spending the last couple of years redefining what the people I spend my life with and who I’m surrounding myself with are. I have decided that my definition of sisterhood or tribe are the people that love and support you when you’re being unapologetically yourself, when you’re in your most authentic space. The people who are around you that are supporting you and are loving you, that’s your tribe, those are your sisters.

www.macygrimtherapy.com

REBECCA

As a teen I struggled with self-aversion. My spirit pulled me through the worst of times. Through much hard work, along with the support of those who walked with me, body-image became a place of neutrality and ultimately acceptance. I appreciate my body for all that it allows me to do.
 
thumbnail.jpeg

Rebecca currently works as a yoga therapist for Alsana. She specializes in working with those who suffer from addictions - in particular eating disorders, body image issues, and for those who live with anxiety, depression, and trauma. The purpose behind her teaching approach is to provide accessible tools that elicit relaxation and guide participants towards honoring their individual needs and managing everyday stressors.

Yoga has been integral part of Rebecca's own recovery and healing from an eating disorder. It initially provided a safe space for movement in a communal setting. Through her continued education, she has acquired tools for self-regulation which gives way for a more integrated state of mind and body.

thumbnail-1.jpeg
I enjoy introducing yoga and mindfulness to young children and offering self-soothing techniques to adolescence and adults. I consider myself to be authentic, thoughtful, and nurturing.

JILLIAN


Body Love

Self love is a never ending process for me. Some days I love my body, some days I don’t! What I’ve learned is that on those days I don’t, it’s okay to feel that way. Self love ebbs and flows and it’s okay to let yourself feel something negative, as long as you possess the tools to talk yourself out of it and get in the right headspace. I’m all about letting yourself feel everything that comes to you naturally!! When I’m feeling down on myself or my body, i take some time for me. I’ll go to a boxing class or put on a face mask, something that makes me feel good!

Soul Purpose

I love teaching. It’s so funny because I stumbled upon it accidentally! I’ve been a working actor since age 15 (and performing since 7) but I started teaching young actors about 4/5 years ago. It’s something that’s made me feel fulfilled more than anything else I’ve done. I love guiding my young actors careers, being their best friend, their secret keeper, and their teacher. Nothing makes me happier then seeing my students succeed, it feeds my soul.

Thoughts on Sisterhood

Sisterhood is a unique and interesting thing, because not everyone has it! Growing up in LA, I’ve always found it to be rather difficult to make good girlfriends. Maybe it’s the competitive nature of living in LA, or maybe it’s because we’re all crazy (I know I am)!! Kidding. Kind of. I don’t have a huge group of girlfriends, but I’m lucky to have kept a few great ones from my childhood. The kind of girlfriends that I don’t talk to for months at a time, but answer the phone when I need them and don’t even have to ask what’s wrong, they just know. The kind that plan surprise trips to come visit you when they know you need some girl time. The kind you root for, really root for. I hope everyone has one girlfriend like that. If not, who are you gonna complain about your partner too!?


My work with Breaking The Chains is what I’m most proud of. I’ve been on the team since it’s creation, and Debra and I have such a special bond. She’s had me on her team since I was a teenager and she’s always included me in all of her ventures, but this one is special. I would say it wasn’t until this past year that I really found my voice within the foundation, and I’m so glad I did! My seminar “How To Love Yourselfie” is really my mark on the foundation, and I can’t wait to keep serving and inspiring young people everywhere.
thumbnail-2.jpeg

RAFI

I wish other women would remember their true worth and really think about what is possible for us in this lifetime. We don’t give ourselves enough credit for our strengths, our potential, our depth, and our ability to serve the world in a way that will improve it. I wish women would focus less on the exterior and more on the interior of our lives. Women spend so much time worrying about what they look like that they neglect all of the other things that go into being human. I would love to witness a women’s revolution in which our appearances took up only 10% of our energy and attention, rather than 90%.

BIO

After moving all over the place as a child, my family settled down in Boise, Idaho, which is where I graduated from high school. I started college in Santa Fe, NM at St. John's College and finished at Prescott College in Arizona. My passion has always led me into wilderness and wild places. I've spent my whole adult life leading wilderness expeditions and exploring the world. Right now I work for Outward Bound California and Prescott College, and spend my winters in Kenya working on women's empowerment projects. I also lead yoga and nature retreats with my wonderful sister, Josie!

BODY LOVE

What I love most about my body is all of the amazing things that it can do! I spend most of my time in the wilderness, leading backpacking and rock-climbing trips, and I am continually amazed by how far I can push myself physically and the absolutely incredible places my body will take me. I love spending extended periods of time without mirrors and interacting with my body simply as my home and vehicle. My body can get so strong, it keeps me safe, it smells and hears and tastes the world around me, and it lets me know when it is time to rest.

SOUL PURPOSE

Right now I think my soul's purpose is to compel others into transformative life experiences and guide them through the process to draw out as much meaning as possible. Over and over again in my work I've had the opportunity to inspire people to find strength, physical or psychological, that they didn't know they had. It is very powerful to stand on top of a mountain with someone who was totally convinced that climbing it was completely outside of their capability. It is always a great metaphor for what is ultimately possible for each one of us and how we are forever selling ourselves short.

PROJECTS

LEEP is a project that raises money to send Maasai girls to school in Kenya who would not otherwise get to attend. Many of our sponsees are rescue cases from early marriage and unwanted female circumcision.

The Naretoi Women's Expedition is an annual trip in which a group of U.S. women partner with a group of Maasai women to learn about each other's culture and climb Mt. Kenya together. Both projects can always use more funding! Our website it www.naretoikenya.org

TORI

“The therapeutic work I do with clients is strongly guided by the link between people’s minds, bodies, and higher connections. Our bodies are not separate from us. Our bodies and minds are one in the same, which means that with the right amount of intention, love, and awareness, they can begin to heal together”

BODY LOVE

My body has given me the ability to explore and experience so many incredible things in my life. It has allowed me to swim in the ocean, to feel the warmth of the sun, and it allows me to hold the people I love. I spent many years fighting with my body, only looking for things I thought were unacceptable. I lived in a contradictory mindset, believing that hating my body would give me the power or motivation to strive for "perfection". But at what cost? And what does perfection mean? I began to realize that I was uncomfortable being in a space where I was allowed to love and accept myself. From that realization, I began to question where that feeling came from, and I’ve been challenging myself to dismantle the negative beliefs about my body ever since.

SOUL PURPOSE

I believe my purpose is to make life feel a bit softer for others.  I hope to bring genuine compassion to every interaction I have, and leave people feeling cared for and less alone.

TRIBE

Sisterhood is very important to me  because we all need to feel supported and understood. Finding a group of people who are unconditionally supportive is so empowering, and can promote so much healing and growth.

biz21677.jpg

If you have any questions for me about my practice or are interested in setting up an appointment, I offer free 15 minute phone consultations. Please feel free to reach out to me at (424)253-5781.  I can also be reached though email at victoria@vsmiththerapy.com.

vsmiththerapy.com

CAITLIN

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 2.16.06 PM.PNG

We are so excited to be highlighting Caitlin Shrum on our soul sister blog this month. This girl is truly an inspiration and the picture of strength and grace. I (Rachel) first met Caitlin during our days as carefree, wreck-less college kids, where I was always in awe of how she remained so organized, motivated and mature, yet remained approachable, kind and genuine. 

Now, in our 30s, I'm blessed to still call you a dear friend and a role model. And you still help me know what's in fashion. Thank you for contributing to our blog and sharing your story and your light with us!

Caitlin is an HR Business Partner at Netflix, wifey to her awesome, sweet hubby Andrew, and mama to two beautiful boys, Cooper and Charlie. If you are a mom or preparing to become one, you should definitely check out her incredible birth stories on her favorite podcast, The Birth Hour.

Caitlin, what do you appreciate the most about your body?

I’ve always had a somewhat contentious relationship with my body. I guess that isn’t abnormal, but it wasn’t until I had two children (boys) of my own that caused me to pause and reflect on how I feel about my body and how I talk about it. After my first son was born via unplanned c-section, I had a lot of negative feelings about my body. As if it failed me in some way. It took a lot to overcome, but I knew I wanted to try for an unmedicated VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and prove to myself that my body was strong and capable. It was successful and a momentous experience in so many ways. I endured some of the most intense pain of my life, but I would do it again tomorrow. I love that my body was able to have two healthy pregnancies and birth two healthy, perfect little people and heal incredibly well both times.


Do you feel like you have an idea of what your soul purpose is?

I genuinely feel my soul purpose is to be a mom. I get so much joy out of the day-to-day “momming.” Granted not every day is roses and butterflies, but I find that I’m most happy when I’m with my kids and husband. Being a mom is also something I don’t take lightly. Raising two boys in this crazy social climate is a bit daunting. it’s important to me to raise them to be good people who respect others, show their emotions, and obviously always love their mama!


Why is having a tribe important to you? 

Oh man. Being a woman is so complex! I have always aimed to surround myself with strong women. I find them inspiring since being a woman is challenging in and of itself. Couple that with being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee..it’s a lot. We take on a lot of the mental labor of everyday life without even realizing it. Having a tribe means having a safe place to go to vent (even about the stupidest things) and be loved no matter what. I have found that motherhood comes with a lot of judgement too (unfortunately). You can’t help but second guess yourself and doubt things all the time. Having a tribe keeps me in check and puts things into perspective, so I can carry on without feeling the load of it all. Your tribe is good for the soul!

I grew up in LA and then moved to San Luis Obispo for school. San Luis is where I met my now husband, Andrew. In 2011 we moved to the Bay Area for our jobs and have been here ever since. I am an HR Business Partner at Netflix. I love the company, and feel very fortunate to work there. We welcomed our first son, Cooper, in August of 2015 and more recently Charlie, in January 2018. I’m a total birth junkie and you can find both of my birth stories on my favorite podcast, The Birth Hour (linked their stories with their names) if you’re interested!
posted with love by Rachel Daggett  ©Body Love Soul Purpose

AMANDA

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 11.44.06 AM.png

Amanda is a Holistic Health Coach who works with women to overcome body image issues, create a healthy relationship with food and stress, and ultimately find ways of balancing work, diet, and exercise that work for their unique bodies and lives.

   My body is my vehicle for exploring life! I love and appreciate that it shows up for me, everyday, without fail. Even after years and years of me being less than kind to it (overindulging or being too restrictive with food, working out far too often with little rest - pushing it to its limits, not moving it enough and most commonly, thinking and speaking negatively about it). If I were my body - I would have quit along time ago! But it is resilient. It’s stuck with me through everything and has been a very clear teacher... teaching me (and sometimes screaming at me) what it needs. When I have a headache, it’s usually saying “give me water.” When I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious, it’s telling me I need to take time for myself. I’m learning to listen to it’s clues more closely and am figuring out how to truly be in partnership with my body, not war. I’m also amazed, when I stop to think about it, that my body does so many things for me without me having to even think about it! It’s truly incredible and I’m so grateful to it!
   My soul’s purpose is simply to love. To choose love in every situation and to have love for ever living being, no matter how difficult it may be. I have had such a hard time with self-love, and I think it was my soul’s way of pointing me in the right direction… right into what I fear. I know that when I feel resistance toward something that’s the thing I need the most. I believe my unique gift to the world is my passion to help other women love and appreciate their bodies. I feel called to share my knowledge and experiences to help others make healthier lifestyle choices that will enable them to have the most quality time left on this beautiful earth! 
   I wish other women would remember that we are SO much more than our bodies, more than our outward appearance. It’s easy to get trapped in comparison mode (especially with Instagram), but we have to remember that we are only seeing a tiny fraction of the real picture into another persons life. We must learn to appreciate and love what we have, but we can only do that by being present in our own lives and bodies. When we spend a lot of time on social media, we’re essentially leaving our own reality behind for a while and getting sucked into other people’s highlight reels. I encourage you to take social media breaks as often as possible. First thing in the morning and an hour before bed are crucial times to be technology + social media free, but I encourage this as much as possible! We’re all trying our best, and I believe we’re here to lift each other up. We have different bodies and perspectives and gifts for a reason! Life would be so boring if we were all the same, so own and love what you’ve got! 

I created a FREE 7 Day Sugar Cleanse to bring awareness to how harmful sugar is (even though we all “know” it’s bad for us) and to show how abundant it is in our food supply - even the “healthy things.” I wanted to provide a simple, easy-to-follow guide to help people eliminate added sugar. You can find it at 7daysugarcleanse.com.

I also occasionally offer free 30-minute health consultations! To see what time slots are available, visit this link: https://www.amandacastilone.com/book-online or email me at amanda@amandacastilone.com. I would love to connect with you! 

Amanda believes that properly nourishing our minds, bodies and souls has the power to heal us and transform our lives. She believes that we are all meant to find our purpose on this earth, and that your relationship with yourself can be your greatest asset. 
Amanda is a certified Reiki II practitioner and is in the process of becoming a 200-hr Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Loft in Manhattan Beach.  She loves to travel, especially internationally, and she volunteers in Nepal helping to build and improve schools. 
Amanda is certified in Holistic Health Coaching through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and holds an MBA in Management and Entrepreneurship from LIM College in New York City.

CRISTINA

Meet Cristina Judge-Cooley! Also known as her artist alias, Najaah Sana (Najaah means success in Urdu and Sana means brilliance). She was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and raised there, as well as Durham, NC and Atlanta, GA. Cristina is a poet and a screenwriter who is also a massive film nerd and loves the outdoors!

2C6036BA-606B-4015-A34A-19AA6DD121C6.jpeg

I love and appreciate how my body is vibrant and healthy and represents/compliments my personality. My body is a masterpiece itself and I can decorate it with other art that emphasises who I am. I love that my body is my body.

I believe that my soul’s purpose is to be a leader, to lead the charge for change in all communities, not just mine. The world is my village, the universe is my community.
My unique gift to the world though, is my poetry, my words and how I form and mold them. My mind is unique and it is my also my gift. I can convey a lot through my writing, be it poetry or screenplays.

My thoughts on sisterhood/tribe are very complex. I write a lot about the subjects of tribe, family, unity, and acceptance. I believe that together we are unstoppable, indestructible but divided, there can be mass chaos and corruption. As a tribe, changes can be as will be made.

I’m very excited about finally doing what I said that I would do. The first step on a very long path of my journey. I published my first book, a poetry “tome” called The Dreamers’ Paradise: A Poetic and Cinematic Journey. It can be found available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback form.

38C5B6C9-DBBC-4194-A3E7-C021A2B0A466.jpeg

KIM

I (Rachel) have been going through a yoga teacher training with 10 beautiful mittras + 3 incredible teachers, and let me tell you, yoga magic is REAL. This woman right here is one of the amazing souls I have met on this journey, and has touched all of our hearts and impacted my life immensely.
Kim has been teaching me how to love, how to be really brave and vulnerable, how to keep showing up and CHOOSE JOY even after the biggest heartbreak imaginable.

I think she has something to teach you too.

you'll know exactly what it is when you read her story..

image3.jpeg
What I appreciate about my body:

I’ve carried three children to full term, birthed them naturally and nursed all three. I’ve carried a newborn in a BabyBjorn carrier and a toddler on my hip, simultaneously. I’ve seen how much my body can endure during and after childbirth, and the changes it’s gone through as a result – at one point, I was 5’1” and 151 lbs. My breast grew to the size of melons, but eventually deflated to pancakes. I’ve lost the “baby fat," but I still have a cottage cheese butt. Everything jiggles. My 4-year old used to love to lay her head on my belly; she’d say, “It’s a pillow!”
My body has been through significant changes over a 26-year span. When I stand naked in the mirror, I see all the evidence of pregnancy-war. Yet, amazingly, it still functions just as it was meant to. I appreciate my body's physical toughness.

Finding my purpose through the unexpected halts, turmoil, and grief:

I became a mother at the age of 14. Just as my first-born was preparing to leave for college, I got married and, within months, my son was born. Three and half years later, my youngest baby was born. Shortly thereafter, my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I, literally, spent the following two and half years taking care of my children and ill husband while, simultaneously and relentlessly, researching ways to keep my husband alive. He died 11/17/2016. I feel like my life has started and stopped, twisted and turned, so many times.
I am on a journey, for sure. But, my purpose...I'm still uncovering.  

On sisterhood:

One of the things that has been a constant in my life is my sister circle. When I am emotionally drained, my girlfriends are always available to lift me up. They have helped carry the weight of my grief. My children know them as “Auntie.” They take care of and provide for my children as their own.
Sisterhood, to me, means having women in my life who not only uplift and support me but, also, share my personal goals. 

Sixteen months ago, I took a break from personal projects, to support my children through our grief and getting settled into our new normal.
I am currently working on re-opening my private psychotherapy office this fall, and will offer yoga as a form of mental health therapy to those suffering from grief and anxiety disorders.

told ya ;)

image4.jpeg
image2.jpeg

SARAH JANE

I (Rachel) met Sarah Jane last summer when my hubby and I moved in next door. We quickly bonded over our shared affinity for faux fir home decor, adventure, and good wine. The moment she showed up to our Christmas party in the same white tulle maxi skirt as me, I knew we were going to be friends.

Sarah is a true inspiration of gentleness, talent, beauty inside and out, and fearless exploration of the great wide somewhere. Not to mention her colorful style and heart of gold.

So naturally, on our journey of discovering body love, sisterhood and purposefulness, we wanted to hear from her... 

IMG_5935.JPG

" I appreciate that my body is mine. It’s mine to nourish, protect, and love despite all of it’s flaws and imperfections. I love that it can get me from point A to B, that my feet can take me to the most beautiful places. I love that my eyes can take in the worlds beauty and that my skin can feel the warmth of the sun.
I’d like to think that my unique gift as I get older is giving everyone a chance. I’ve always been empathetic so in tough situations I try my best to consider other’s perspectives. It helps to have a mindset that when others are disrespectful, consider their day and that we don’t know what they are going through or feeling at that very moment. We have no idea, and honestly, everyone has those days. I know I do.
A tribe is so important because I believe it keeps me grounded not only as a woman but as a person. It’s so important to have a healthy, strong, and encouraging support system in a world that seems to always focus on the negative. We need each other to spread joy, kindness, inspiration and courage.
When I moved out to California I started a travel blog as a side project to keep me busy. I haven’t posted in a while but I have every intention of picking it back up again! You can visit it at www.colorsandcoordinates.com. In addition to the blog I started a travel based Instagram account to go with it! I’m much more active on that and it has honesty been such a fun creative outlet for me! "