Kailua, Hawaii - Evolation's 2018 Training Hub

What’s hot about Kailua?

Welcome to Oʻahu’s lushest, most verdant coast, where turquoise waters and light-sand beaches share the dramatic backdrop of misty cliffs in the Koʻolau Range. Cruise over the pali (mountains) from Honolulu and you first reach Kailua, a pleasant place with an extraordinary beach.

Even though Kailua is located just 30 minutes away from Waikiki and Honolulu, it may as well be halfway around the world. It’s location on the island’s windward side makes it greener and more lush than Honolulu; and while it’s atmosphere could be described as a calmly vibrant, it certainly doesn’t have the fast-paced energy of Waikiki.

The town of 38,600 has a relaxing effect on people. Walled off from Honolulu by the corrugated cliffs of the Ko’olau Range, Kailua has none of the dazzle of touristy Waikiki—no hotel towers, ultra-lounges, or high-priced shopping malls. Instead, it offers the relaxing pleasures of an unpretentious small town, but in a supremely blissful, tourist-free setting.

Kailua is home to a long, graceful bay which is also protected by a coral reef. The nearly 4-mile-long stretch of ivory sand is made for strolling, and the weather and wave conditions can be just about perfect for swimming, kayaking, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

From picturesque Kailua Bay you can see three cartoon-looking islands—Flat and the Mokuluas, or “twin islands”—floating just offshore. In addition, Kailua Beach Park, toward the bay’s southern end, regularly garners awards as one of Hawaii’s top beaches.

The atmosphere is low-key. Once people visit, they start thinking about a second trip, or a third. The most famous returnee is former President Barack Obama, who spent time here as a child and who has visited regularly on First Family vacations.

If you would like to join us for a a full or partial yoga training in this idyllic paradise we have a limited number of spaces remaining, so please don't delay. Get in touch with us to find out how you can be part of this unique opportunity while we're here. 

Zefea and the evolation yoga team



how to prepare practically for teacher training – part 3

We’ve said it before and will say again that your teacher training experience begins the day you decide to register for training. That’s right! While you may not be on-site with other trainees and learning through your immersion experience each day, the learning process begins as soon as you decide to register. It starts with your first “Yes!” to your transformational yoga journey.

10 tips for mat magic


Mat Magic – 10 simple cleaning tips

As yoga practitioners, we can all appreciate a serene yoga space and a clean yoga mat. After all, your yoga mat is like your bed. It might not be the end of the world if it’s not super sparkly for every class, but it does better serve its purpose if it’s clean and fresh.

If you have a good quality mat, you have probably spent some good bucks on it, so it’s extra important to treat it the right way. And, unfortunately, it’s not as easy to keep your mat clean as it is your bed linens! You might have tried a few things, but if you need some help in keeping your mat clean, here are 10 ways to maintain your mat.

(1) Let’s start with the most obvious (and hardest to follow) rule. Don’t keep your mat rolled up after class! As soon as you come home, unroll and hang it. Keeping it rolled up, maybe even with your yoga towel rolled with it, in the back of your trunk until your next class, is just not a good idea. Bacteria will develop and create all sorts of smells.

(2) Resist spraying your mat right before class.  Have you ever discovered that what smelled pleasant outside the yoga room became overpowering once heat or sweat is added to it?  For this reason (and for reason #1 above) it’s better to disinfect your mat as soon as you can after class. Also, it gives the scent of whatever you used to clean your mata chance to dissipate and not overpower you during your next class.

(3) Once in a while throw your mat in the washer (but not dryer as dryers usually get too hot and will potentially ruin your mat). Most mats can handle that. Wash on a delicate or gentle cycle. You can also just soak your mat if you are worried about wear and tear with the wash cycle.

(4) Hang the mat in the sun regularly.  The sun is another natural disinfectant, believe it or not.  Have you ever seen ultraviolet disinfecting devices?  That’s the sun’s power at work!   Lucky for us it’s outside our front (and back) doors most days!

(5) Cleanse your mat with essential oils. Essential oils are very strong, so diluting with water in a spray bottle works fine and is most cost-effective. About 10 drops of most essential oils will do the trick for a quart spray bottle (one drop of essential oil for every 4 ounces of water).  More than that and you might find yourself overwhelming both your own and your fellow students’ noses with the smell of the oil.

(6) Sometimes blending a disinfectant kind of oil (lemon, tea tree etc) with a milder scent (lavender, rose) still does the cleaning trick, but makes the scent more fun.

(7) If a mat seems extra stinky, add a little baking soda to the water and essential oil solution. This will also absorb some of the essential oil’s intensity.

(8) After spraying, wipe your mat off with a damp towel to evenly spread the water solution and get rid of the last sweat drops.

(9) Alternatives to essential oil: 2 cups of warm water mixed with a few drops of mild soap — such as castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s), organic soap or detergent, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or white vinegar. If you use soap, thoroughly rinse the mat with clean water afterward, as any residue may cause the mat to become slippery during future use.

(10) Let your mat dry fully – and we mean FULLY – before you consider rolling it up.

Zefea Samson


Zefea had her first experience with yoga at the age of 4 when her parents practiced with renowned teacher Angela Farmer in the Iyengar tradition. She forgot about yoga during her teens and twenties and trained for boxing and the combat system Krav Maga. Zefea rediscovered the benefits of yoga when she started practicing Bikram Yoga in her home town Amsterdam. From 2006-2008 she represented the Netherlands as the Dutch gold medalist in the International Yoga Championships, finishing in the world's top 10. Zefea experienced new depths of yoga through practicing while pregnant (up till the day of giving birth).

how to mentally prepare for teacher training – part 2


Yoga teacher training is a transformative and rewarding journey at every level of the Self. Apart from learning how to teach a class, trainees sharpen their physical practice, expand self-awareness, hone their ability to focus and recognize opportunities for spiritual development through yoga. The layers are many!

While it’s common for many trainees to think that training begins on the day they arrive at their training destination, we are here to communicate the great value and importance of a deeper preparation before arriving. In other words, your training really begins as soon as you register.

Last month we discussed how you can physically prepare for teacher training, and this month we address how to mentally prepare. To be clear, the only real prerequisite for teacher training is your keen intention and passion to become a yoga teacher. Still, given the occasion, it also provides a great advantage to take time to properly prepare so you can maximize the potential of this unique opportunity.

Let’s get started.

Study the Postures

Through Evolation’s 250-hour Hot Yoga teacher training, students will be learning the ins and outs of 26 classic postures and 2 breathing exercises; in the Flow training, you will dive in the depth of many poses. And each posture contains a dozen different alignment principles. That is a lot of detail! Hot trainees are asked to start memorizing the asana essentials prior to arriving at the training. As a Flow trainee you should not worry about memorizing posture alignment in advance of training, however, you should take time to both review and explore the postures through your own practice and reading the books of the required reading list. This will allow you to assimilate and embody the information with greater ease (or less stress) once training is underway.

Review the Readings

Most training organizations will include a required and suggested reading list as part of your studies. At Evolation, we require several foundational classics, such as Autobiography of a Yogi, the Bhagavad Gita, Light on Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar and Bikram Choudhury’s Bikram Yoga. The bottom line is the more time you have to read and absorb your readings, the more you will gain! Each book is designed to enhance a different layer of the teacher training journey, so even 10 minutes a night prior to the start of training can make a big difference.

Begin or Expand Your Meditation Practice

As the old proverb indicates that we need to empty our cup before filling it with new content, so should we unburden ourselves from preconceived ideas or strong opinions that could be keeping us stuck in old patterns that no longer serve us. Instead, set the intention to arrive with an open mind to experience life just as it is. Again, teacher training is a transformative journey at every level of the Self, and when we can remain open to all its forms and colors, we can reap its deepest rewards. Meditation teaches us how to cultivate this openness of mind, and there is no time like the present to get started on that journey.

Let Go, and Have Fun!

Attending a yoga teacher training is a dream for many. Don’t lose sight of that in the midst of the training! It’s going to be an amazing experience that you will remember for a lifetime. You’ll make lifelong friendships and connections through laughter, sweat, and occasional tears. As Mark Twain put it: Sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth!

To reiterate, while your first official day of training might be several weeks or several months away, that doesn’t mean your training hasn’t already started. Begin with the suggested steps in this article, and you’ll be off to a great start.

Allison Antoinette


Allison Antoinett is the newest addition to evolation yoga with a background in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga alongside holistic nutrition. er inquisitive brai inds joy in Eastern traditions and looks to help improve a quality of life for all.

hot yoga and your radiant skin


If you are reading this blog, chances you are a big fan of hot yoga and have experienced the mental and physical benefits of toning, clarity, and stress relief that each class can bring. After all, the benefits are plentiful! From heavy sweating that flushes out the toxins in your body to cardiovascular strength to improved flexibility, there is no argument that hot yoga does wonders for our health.

Personally, I have always enjoyed the yoga “afterglow” that comes from a sweaty class. When friends use words like “radiant” or “glowing” to describe how I look, it makes me feel like I’ve discovered the fountain of youth through yoga. But, lately, that hasn’t been the case. My skin has started to change and appears unusually irritated after class. A combination of dry and oily spots cover my face with a deep red flush through the cheeks. Sometimes I even develop a patch of small red bumps or a few deeper cystic-like bumps just a few hours after leaving the studio. Yikes! I started to wonder what in the world was going on!

As I dug into some research, I found students who claim that hot yoga cured their acne while others say that it caused their acne (or made it worse). According to one acne specialist based in San Diego, CA, she says,”Hot yoga can be absolutely amazing for the body and skin. It’s detoxifying, increases blood flow, encourages circulation and elimination, and creates a healthy flexible body without harm to the joints due to the heat. However, hot yoga will also cause the body to heat up, which then can increase already inflamed skin. This heat and excess elimination can cause areas of inflammation to go on overload and cause adverse or more intense inflamed acne.”

Well, at least I know that I’m not crazy. It may very well be the hot room that triggers an overload of inflammation. But now what? What can students, like myself, do to minimize the effect and get back to that clear, beautiful “glow” that we used to have? There are several solutions.

Leave your make-up at home
One key to glowing skin is to facilitate the detox process before, during and after your practice. That means going to your class with a clean, make-up free face, wearing sweat-wicking fabrics and cleansing and moisturizing your whole body when you’re finished.

Use a natural cleanser
A natural cleanser was key for helping me neutralize and clean the skin. The ingredients in most facial products are packed with synthetic chemicals, so finding a natural skin-care line can make all the difference.

Once you’ve washed off the salty remains of your hot yoga session, it’s time to moisturize. Continue to drink lots of water and use an organic moisturizer on both your face and body. This will soothe any irritation or chafe on the body, rehydrate and keep skin from getting dry or itchy later. Your post-yoga pores are open wide and ready to soak up those healing ingredients and your skin will say thank you!

Drink up!
You may be chugging water during class, but what about before and after? With the excess sweating, it’s important to increase your water intake to avoid dehydration. Dehydration adversely affects your skin by making it overly dry. Too much dryness can cause dead skin and dirt buildup that can clog your pores, so do yourself a favor and make a best friend of your water bottle.

Hot yoga does wonders for our health, and the sweating is all part of the fun! If you go through periods where your skin becomes inflamed and persists for more than a few days even after observing the above guidelines, check in with your local natural health provider or dermatologist. By integrating this natural routine into your daily regimen, our hope is that you can check any skin problems at the door and return to that natural yoga glow in no time.

Allison Antoinette


Allison Antoinett is the newest addition to evolation yoga with a background in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga alongside holistic nutrition. er inquisitive brai inds joy in Eastern traditions and looks to help improve a quality of life for all.

graduate #yogastory – Sara Stolle


a reflection of what is possible by Sara Stolle

My time in the Yoga bubble is over and I am actually allowed to teach! I don’t think that has set in yet. If I look back to the four weeks of my teacher training experience, a congeries of pictures appear in my head. It feels like an overwhelming flashback – full of emotions, both positive and negative. Everything seems so surreal, almost like a dream.

The first week was like dipping into a whole new world. Everything was new, exciting and different. Even though I had to follow my job as a teacher in the first three days of the training, I also had the feeling of being completely consumed by the yoga bubble. You start to think, breathe, live yoga all day long (sometimes even night). It wasn’t a weird feeling at all as there was no time to question your current lifestyle. And this attitude remained till the end of the training. It would be a lie if I said that I didn’t have times where I thought, “what am I doing here? Is everything worth it in the end?”

But as quick as these thoughts came up, they disappeared. Why did they disappear? One of the main reasons were the people, who became your study buddies, your friends, and your family throughout this journey. We created a kind of group dynamic and that was a huge motivation to go on and study more. This bond grew week by week, and in the end, we did not want to leave each other.

The other approach, which was developed stage by stage or week by week, was the amount of knowledge. I did not know that it is possible to learn so much in such a short time (and I’m a history teacher!) This perception relates not only to the study of yoga essentials and postures but for learning as a whole.

The teacher training was not only beneficial for my mind, but also for my body. To see how much Yoga my body can do and wants to do was surprising. I did a lot of yoga challenges in the past years, but the amount of work in the training was a different story. How? Well, for starters, you are totally focused on giving 100%, especially because you want to try the new things. Another factor that pushes your own practice was the group dynamic. If you see these hard working yogis all around you, you want to be part of it. Even when your muscles are sore and you actually can´t move, you also can´t resist. You want to do the posture, and you want to feel the posture.

Another stage of the training, which is maybe not that obvious, is the spiritual growth. The lectures guided you through thoughts, which you have never thought before. There was a new horizon showing up. This kind of extension of your own thinking changes your self-awareness, not only the studies of yoga sutras or the meditations but even more the discussions in the group lead to this awareness.

Coming back to my question, is it worth it? To sum up what only four weeks of the evolation yoga teacher training brought me: awareness about learning, about the potential of your mind and your body, spiritual extension, new friends even a new family. If I look at this, I am willing to say: everybody should do something like a yoga teacher training in life.




Evolation yoga is devoted to helping you become more Self-centered – in an ego-free way. By combining the powerful physical properties of hot yoga with the awareness-enhancing effects of meditation, evolation’s aim is to make you healthier, happier, and more in touch with that elusive little thing called the Self.

graduate #yogastory – Zana O’Connell


by Zana O’Connell, 2017 Berlin TT Graduate
I have recently returned home having spent the summer in Berlin deepening my teaching knowledge. What an incredible time it has been…

When my best friend, Sam, from my home studio in Leeds decided he was going to take the leap and sign up for the Hot Yoga Teacher Training with Evolation (the same as I previously did), I was flirting with the idea of going out to join him and the Evolation Yoga family for a week or so. I chatted with the company founder, Mark, about it, and knowing I wanted to do the flow training, he suggested I join them for the full course and complete my second 250hour Teacher Training with them. It was a little tricky to find the time and resources to make possible but somehow the universe conspired to help me and I found myself here, completing the vinyasa flow training (a different style for those non-yoga people!) just one year after my first TT!

Something I always repeat and hold close to myself is ‘The student is always the teacher, and the teacher is always the student.’ It is very important to me to always be humble in my teaching and know – that I will never know it all, especially in the Bikram yoga world where there are lots of egotistical, even narcissistic behavior and teachers with heads bigger than their hearts and this is something I find so strange in a place which is meant to be about creating peace and balance.

Maintaining my balance and humanness is very important to me as I try to stay true to what brought me to teaching in the first place and remember the purpose – to serve, to serve others, spread love and be true to myself. This is my life’s work.

Because I AM so connected to this and know that all I am as a teacher is a channel for people to connect to something higher, to their higher Self, a channel that needs to be looked after and maintained so that it doesn’t become blocked, maintenance for me means to keep learning and keep growing so that I can keep inspiring people and help them to grow themselves. Returning to teacher training has been just that for me.

Returning to the source and dipping back into the ‘yoga-bubble’ has been pure nourishment for my mind, body, and soul. I return clearer, stronger, wiser and even more humble. There is so much to know, and I will never, no matter how hard I study, know it all. And simply knowing this gives me the permission to let go of the desire to be the ‘perfect teacher’ to be anything other than the best version of my imperfect self.

I spent a lot of my daily practices during training setting my intention to offer myself. I made offerings through my practice, I set intentions “to Serve’ and I surrendered to the experience completely.
My experiences so far in this lifetime have taught me many lessons, a lot of very painful lessons, and I see now that this was the beginning of my training. The universe trained me by pushing me to my deepest edge, to the brink of giving in and to learn to fight for LIFE. It trained me to know what pain was so that I could treasure joy. It trained me to experience utter self-loathing so that I could understand the beauty of self-love. It trained me to feel intense discomfort so that I could honor peace.

The universe has been training me to teach my entire life, completing an actual ‘Teacher Training’ is simply the part which helps me to realize these truths and knows that everything I need is already inside of me, and TT is simply giving me the tools to tap into that.

Going back the second time was a really beautiful experience. I had the most incredible teacher, Irene, guiding us through the coursework. She and her partner, John, who was helping lead the Hot training alongside us are such an inspiring and gorgeous couple. Their energy was so wonderful to be around and Irene was a total beam of bright light to me. She inspired and fueled me with so much to take home to my students. I delved much deeper into the subtle energy of yoga, and I am learning the beauty of how much is and how much can be said without words.

I go home to teach with not just knowledge of Asana (yoga postures) but a far deeper understanding of the true essence of yoga. I am blessed to have found such a wonderful yoga family with Evolation and how they create space for me to continue to grow. This isn’t just a company out to make money selling yoga, but a true family sharing love and knowledge in the purest way. I am reminded of WHY we teach yoga – to help people to connect to the highest version of themselves, to become healthy in body, mind, and spirit. This is so much more than just asana, yet when you spend every day in the yoga room sometimes it’s easy to become disconnected from that a little.

Teaching asana is a route, but it is not the only way, we are constantly teaching others, and we can use our experience to help each other to grow in so many ways. Let us be open to the teachings of others, allow us the humbleness to always be able to be the student, to always be open to growing.

Keep growing, keep being curious about yourself and about life, keep the passion alive, stay open and most importantly, enjoy every second.



Evolation yoga is devoted to helping you become more Self-centered – in an ego-free way. By combining the powerful physical properties of hot yoga with the awareness-enhancing effects of meditation, evolation’s aim is to make you healthier, happier, and more in touch with that elusive little thing called the Self.

graduate #yogastory – Emma Siuciak


by Emma Siuciak

My #yogastory is in three parts – beginning, middle and end. It was blissful and eye opening to read back through my personal notes, and I will cherish these memories forever in my heart. I know that the relationships I’ve made are beyond the limitations of the material and physical reality, and I can feel the inspiration of the energy we created in my heart eternally. Forever grateful.

Today was day one of yoga teacher training! First, we covered the basics of what would be expected from us during the 4 weeks of training (house rules, commitments, etc) and then we went on to learn the first asana. The memorization was a lot harder than I ever could have expected, and I felt like nothing could have prepared me for this other than doing EXACTLY THIS. Exposing myself to the dialogue, the act of reciting the dialogue and performing the dialogue for the 26&2 series made me feel vulnerable. It made me feel unprepared, scared, anxious and definitely out of my comfort zone. Studying and memorizing suddenly felt like the battle to be won! I hope I can live up to my own expectation, and I know the teachers and other students are the best and biggest support group ever. Let’s see where this takes me!

Day four of yoga teacher training is complete! I feel blissful and blessed to have had the chance to meet these wonderful people. I feel like I have known them forever. All of the teachers are so open and easy to talk to, and each person has something wonderfully unique about them that captivates me.

Today we talked about the sutras and Sri Patanjali, which was breathtaking how many similarities there are between yoga and some of the philosophies of “the west” that are unfairly labeled as carrying a negative connotation in yoga circles. We are all trying to understand the same thing – our experiences, the world and our place in it. Because yoga has practice as one of its facets, we are able to practice the asanas as the physical representation of what we strive for in the other facets of experience, such as morality, intention, ritual and connection to a higher realm of being. I am beyond grateful for this experience being a part of my journey. It is incredibly satisfying. Yoga is delicious. Thank you.

So far so good! It’s incredible how effortless it can become to learn the postures. The more you repeat the dialogue, the more you get into the groove. I’m making incredible connections with people, and I don’t even “know” them. It’s like you don’t need to know what people identify with physically any more when you’ve met their souls. We are all baring our souls, vulnerable and open, some days more than others. Breaking into each other’s deepest and darkest corners. Little beams of light break through when we show kindness and compassion. I love these souls because they are kindred and we are one although on many paths. For ours to intersect is a blessing.

Infinite thank yous!



Evolation yoga is devoted to helping you become more Self-centered – in an ego-free way. By combining the powerful physical properties of hot yoga with the awareness-enhancing effects of meditation, evolation’s aim is to make you healthier, happier, and more in touch with that elusive little thing called the Self.

how to prep for teacher training – part 1


This is a 3-part series in how to properly prepare for yoga teacher training

Learning how to teach is both transformative and empowering; a gift that will continue to bless your life for years to come. While your first official day of training might be several weeks or several months away, that doesn’t mean your training hasn’t already started. In fact, as practitioners of yoga, we are always in training. The “before, during and after” are equally important, and as teachers we never stop learning.

There are several stages to the preparation for a teacher training – physical, mental and practical (logistics!). In today’s blog we are going to discuss how you can best prepare your physical body for training. There are several key steps you can take to ease the transition and optimize the benefits from your daily life into daily training.

  1. Get your zzzzs

You are likely familiar with the benefits of sleep. They are endless! Well, once training begins, the demands on your body can be high and quality rest is of utmost importance. You will be practicing every day and sometimes twice per day! You’ll be participating in lectures, studying and communing with other students and practicing teaching. The days will be long, filled with excitement, inspiration and sometimes feel challenging. Therefore, arriving exhausted and stressed to your training will prove challenging and unproductive.

In order to stay sharp and get the most out of your time, it’s important that you’re well rested and well nourished. But that can’t happen overnight! You want to start the process before you arrive to training, in the weeks leading up to your first day.

At least 2 weeks prior to training, we recommend that you make a good night’s sleep your top priority (7-8 hours nightly) and begin reducing the amount of unnecessary stress in your life.  We also recommend that you arrive to your training location 1-2 days early (unless you live locally) so you have time to acclimate to the change of environment.

2. Eat clean

At evolation yoga, we provide a fresh vegetarian menu for our students. For those who already follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, this is no problem. For other students, this shift to a healthier, more cleansing diet can be a challenge! Regardless of where you’re starting from, we recommend that you begin the process of detox and clean-up at least 2-4 weeks prior to the start of training. Our recommendations include:

  • Eliminating processed foods
  • Eliminating caffeine, sodas and other stimulants
  • Reducing or eliminating meat altogether
  • Increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking plenty of water

Begin a daily practice

During the training our students take 1-2 classes every day. This allows them to become intimately familiar with the sequence and observe different teaching styles. On top of that, students are practicing isolated postures outside of class as part of the teaching curriculum. That is a lot of yoga! If you’re not already practicing yoga on a daily basis, we highly recommend that you start. This may not look like a full 90-min class for you, but even 20-30 minutes of yoga done at home can make the transition into a daily training practice much smoother. Again, the goal is to create a smooth transition between your daily home life and your training life. We want you to be successful!

While your first official day of training might be several weeks or several months away, that doesn’t mean your training hasn’t already started. In fact, your training begins as soon as you sign up! Start with the suggested steps in this article, and you’ll be off to a great start.

In part 2 of this series we will discuss how to best prepare your mental body – the mind – for training.

Allison Antoinette


Allison Antoinett is the newest addition to evolation yoga with a background in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga alongside holistic nutrition. er inquisitive brai inds joy in Eastern traditions and looks to help improve a quality of life for all.

there is always a way


A few months back I added a writing exercise to my morning meditation routine. Beginning with the letter “A” and working my way through the entire alphabet, l list out a positive attribute for each letter – one that I already have or want to cultivate more of – and then I say thank you for it. Each day is different because the words I choose come from a quiet place appropriate to that moment. Yesterday I wrote down ambitious, brave hearted, capable, determined, elegant…while today I wrote assertive, beautiful, creative, dedicated (and on and on).

And there was one word stood out to me today. One that I needed to hear. Dedicated.

Yes! I AM dedicated, I thought. Yes, I am.

You see, I’ve always thought of myself as a jack of all trades. I’m a deeply curious person and love to try new things, and I often find change to be a breath of fresh air. You may or may not feel the same.

I’ve worked in politics, non-profit, chinese medicine, retail, natural food and now marketing. I’ve moved at least a dozen times in the past ten years (not always my choice) and traveled to 25 countries. I’ll go through different spurts with fitness and food, and I look to test new waters wherever I go. I guess you can say that I go where the wind takes me. Sometimes exhausting, sometimes a tremendous amount of fun.

On the other side of that coin is being the master of nothing. And this is where the self-criticism gets a hold of me. Lots and lots of self-criticism.

Why can’t you just stick it out like everyone else? What do you really have to show for all those years of moving around? How will you ever get ahead if you don’t settle down and choose one thing?

And on and on it goes sometimes. Can you relate?

While I no longer listen to it as closely as I used to, I still allow it to take hold at times because, truth be told, I’m not actually proud of my jack-of-all-trades way of life. I’m not proud of a career history that resembles the forest path of obscure road signs from Alice in Wonderland.

And yet it makes me happy. The adventure, the discovery, the unknown. It lights me up, and I cannot imagine my life without the variety and color that I’ve had.

That is why the word dedication stuck out this morning. And why it was so important to acknowledge my own dedication.

You see, asking a question like “why can’t I just stick it out?” was never the right questions to ask. As I’ve said before, trying to understand the “why” is often a dead end. The better question to ask is: where do I stick it out? where am I demonstrating lifelong commitment?”

And there are several places. I demonstrate dedication and have cultivated lifelong commitment in several key areas of my life. But those specifics are not what’s important. What’s important lies in the question itself.

By asking “where do I stick it out” versus “why,” I am reminding myself that there is more than one angle or lens through which to view one’s life.

Let me say that again. There is always another angle. And that is where our freedom lies.

It’s so easy to get stuck in one way of thinking about our lives. Whether positive or negative, thoughts that only move in one direction are breeding ground for conflict, stagnation and discontent.

If you are someone that strives to cultivate wholeness or a sense of inner balance, it will require that you challenge your thoughts. It will require that you have the courage and curiosity to look at your life (and others) through another lens. As they say, walk a mile in another person’s shoes.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this message so receive it as an important reminder. Making a practice of “life through another lens” is what allows us to see the fruit from our faults, make room for another person’s chaos and love them through it, and eventually find a way through every block.

There is always a way.


Allison Antoinette


Allison Antoinett is the newest addition to evolation yoga with a background in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga alongside holistic nutrition. er inquisitive brai inds joy in Eastern traditions and looks to help improve a quality of life for all.

Casablanca Asana Yoga: an interview with Paula Jimenez


At Casablanca Asana Yoga, Paula Jimenez works hard to create a safe teaching environment as an important act of love, and shares that love for practicing yoga in effort to inspire and transform her students as much as she has been personally transformed and awakened through the practice. Paula is a graduate from evolation yoga’s 2015 teacher training class, and we sat down to both congratulate and learn more about her new and exciting business, Casablanca Asana Yoga.

How long has the studio been open, and what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in getting it open?

We opened Casablanca Asana Yoga on the 21st of June of 2017  (International Yoga Day :)) The biggest challenge has been explaining people that Yoga is not attached to a specific Religion. Colombia is a very Catholic country and Villavicencio, where we are placed, is a small town and a very conservative one. We really didn’t expect that people would consider the asana practice as a religion, but yes and that’s been a challenge. Anyhow, people have been very understanding and they ask instead of judge which is a very kind way to let us explain and let us represent what we were taught to; plus we are letting the practice talk itself. When Casablanca Asana Yoga was just an idea, we always wanted to build a place where people could be themselves, stay as long as they want and ask as many questions as needed, a place where the asana practice would be inclusive.

What is your 3-5 year vision for your studio and its role in the community?

Our vision is to be as steady as the Standing Head To knee Pose  Strong, commited, determined and calm. We want to tell everyone that the asana practice is a very safe place where you can start your relationship with yourself. We want that when people in our community think about yoga, they think about Casablanca; we want to let people know about the variety of asana practice, and if someone from Villavicencio goes somewhere else in the world for vacation or even if the move somewhere else and look for a hot yoga studio because they loved the experience with us, mission accomplished.

We want to make Casablanca as the second home of the practitioners and expand the everyday-practice lifestyle as wide as possible.

What is something you love about owning a studio?

My Fiancé Sdward and I opened the studio because we wanted to be free. Both of us used to work in the corporate world, retail, sales and every part of the supply chain. We got tired of all of that, being on the schedule every day and stressed out. First of all, the feeling of being free is just fantastic, we do have been working extremely hard, long hours, teaching and running the place by ourselves, we are physically tired but our hearts are just full. Working together is another thing we love, we are complementing each other work wise because doing what we where used to do in the corporate world but for ourselves is just amazing and last but not least, walking barefoot all day is priceless

Casablanca Asana Yoga is committed to help you develop the capacity to connect and integrate your mind with your body, through our four types of asana practice, all of them with different benefits but with the same physical and mental goal. You can find Paula and Casablanca at: 

Paula Jiménez

Casablanca Asana Yoga Co-Founder

FB: casablancaasanayoga

IG: @casablanca_asanayoga

Paula Jimenez


At Casablanca Asana Yoga, Paula Jimenez works hard to create a safe teaching environment as an important act of love, and shares that love for practicing yoga in effort to inspire and transform her students as much as she has been personally transformed and awakened through the practice. Paula is a graduate from evolation yoga’s 2015 teacher training class, and we sat down to both congratulate and learn more about her new and exciting business, Casablanca Asana Yoga.

my life after the hot 26+2 teacher training


by Paula Jimenez

I never thought my life was going to make a 180º change. When I enrolled to the Teacher Training I had a very naive idea of improving my physical/mental skills from a hobby approach. But no. It took me by surprise. A very nice one, though! Everything has changed since then – my life, my sense of being, my awareness, my heart.

Let me introduce myself. I’m Paula Jiménez, 28 years old, Colombian and an Evolation Yoga Teacher.

During the teacher training I really did experience joy, and I came to understand what that word meant. It was blissful, kind, hard, sweaty and a lovely experience at the same time. Being in a room with 15 people everyday – people that share my passion – and spending afternoons talking about life from an academic point of view, practicing yoga daily, and beyond. For me, that was just priceless.

When I went back to work nothing made sense anymore. Literally. I had a corporate job like everyone else, 8 to 5 every day and basically living on the edge of my nerves. Yelling to get attention and playing tough to get the numbers didn’t excite me anymore. Wearing high heels again was a nightmare: 4 months after I got back, I quit. I couldn’t take it anymore.

Teaching became my Facebook Job presentation. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop teaching. It’s just right and changed my life dramatically. I really think that doing the teacher training gave me the strength to see what I wasn’t able to see before. I was unhappy and I didn’t know it. I wanted a life where I could be myself, without knowing what that meant at the time. And since this teacher training everything became so easy to take. I went through a lot of changes, but my sight became more open and kind. Kind towards everything but most important, kind towards myself.

I moved to Buenos Aires last year (2016) and spent there 6 months with my boyfriend who had been living there for the past year. I did a Vinyasa Power Yoga Teacher Training to become more competitive as a teacher, and all of a sudden everything that I wanted became real. I got the opportunity to open my yoga studio! Without flinching, I moved back to Colombia with my boyfriend and now we are living in my home town and working towards our dream.

I think Yoga has built my path.

I’ve been a witness  of my own thoughts, I’ve been an outsider of my own life since I did the Evolation Yoga Teacher Training. I really understood what it is to trust and let go, and everything has been there for me. Everything that I ask for, with my true heart, with my humble heart, with my whole power, has been displayed there for me. Thank you, God. And being Thank-full (I believe) is the principle of abundance.

Somehow doing the same postures everyday has helped to make that “space” between your inner muscles and helps you to breath again, to feel alive, to feel and be in control of your life, but at the same time, out of it.

I’m beyond thankful for being in this yoga journey with my partner, being able to share the same passion with a person everyday, is just art. He’s a Yin Yoga teacher and we are building this yoga studio brick by brick.

Casablanca Asana Yoga is a yoga studio where you will find three types of yoga practice: Vinyasa Power Yoga, Yin Yoga and 26+2 hot yoga series. We have one hot room, one non-heated room and a deck with a fountain with enough room for 12/15 students. It’s beautiful.

I am beyond thankful for this project and I would love for everyone to come. Villavicencio, Colombia (my hometown) is a small town situated two hours away from Bogotá. This city is 30ºC all year around. We are right on the equator, so we do have nice weather, awesome fruits and vegetables all year around.

We are part of the Evolation Yoga Collective and we want this place to be a house of yoga, nothing exclusive but Inclusive; a place where everyone can practice and be themselves, a place where you can feel at home.

Everyone is welcome. Mi casa es tu casa, and in this case Casablanca Asana Yoga is your house as well.


Paula Jiménez

Casablanca Asana Yoga Co-Founder

FB: casablancaasanayoga

IG: @casablanca_asanayoga







Paula Jimenez


At Casablanca Asana Yoga, Paula Jimenez works hard to create a safe teaching environment as an important act of love, and shares that love for practicing yoga in effort to inspire and transform her students as much as she has been personally transformed and awakened through the practice. Paula is a graduate from evolation yoga’s 2015 teacher training class, and we sat down to both congratulate and learn more about her new and exciting business, Casablanca Asana Yoga.

graduate #yogastory, Uta Plotkin

Our graduate #yogastory series provides insight to firsthand student experience while in training. This one is particularly unique in that it’s broken down into individual journal entries, courtesy of our 2017 Santa Barbara graduate, Uta Plotkin.

WEEK 1. DAY 2. April 24th

The days feel sooo long!  I can’t believe it’s only day two.  Our lecture tonight was on meditation.  We did a twenty-five minute meditation, and it felt wonderful! When Elias asked us how we felt after, I said I felt relaxed and content, and that’s when I realized that I belong here.  That I had picked the right training to go to.  Truth be told, I was so filled with anxiety before coming here but all of that has dropped away now.  I killed it at half moon recitation today and felt exhilarated.  I loved our yoga class.  I loved our food!  I feel good and happy and focused.  I feel like I’m doing something meaningful.  I feel like I’m supposed to be here, and I feel like our teachers are taking excellent care of us and teaching us valuable things. They have so much personal experience to draw on.  I haven’t had cravings for booze or coffee either! Well, not strong ones at least  I’m sore and tired, but I just don’t care.

WEEK 1. DAY 5. April 28th

We practiced on the beach this morning and saw dolphins!  It was good to practice on the beach because we had plenty of space and were forced to project our voices and deal with the distraction of dogs sniffing us.  Our training group is made up of all women, which I’m really enjoying. Apparently we cry way more than past groups, haha!  It feels so good though.  I’m starting to feel special and powerful again where I was feeling so diminished.  I’m feeling hope and strength where I was feeling cynicism and impotence.  Every day the things we learn, physically and mentally, make every yoga class better than the last, and every yoga class strengthens my physical and mental practice.  It’s an amazing loop we’re in.

WEEK 2. DAY 5. May 5th

I was starting to feel tired and depressed so I did some good meditating today.  It was a gray, foggy day and my mood was low.  Tomorrow we teach the postures Tree, Toe and Savasana.  I’m not enthusiastic right now.  I’m tired.  Maybe tomorrow will be a coffee day. I’m teaching myself to walk with a micro-bend in my knee since I recently learned that I hyper-extend. It aggravates my old knee injury when I do that so I have to walk slow while I re-train myself. Who knew that walking would take so much concentration?  It’s draining. I’m accessing muscles and tissues that weren’t being used before so that’s pretty cool. And I’m actually really grateful at this point that I injured my knee because it allows me to better relate to my students with knee injuries.  That is the bright side of it! I think the best teachers teach from experience, so “thanks for tearing, ACL” (haha, never thought I’d say that).

WEEK 3. DAY 5. May 12th

We’ve been studying anatomy this week, which is fascinating because it’s directly tied to all these actions we’re performing every day.  Being here is physically intense so it’s interesting to get in there and see what’s happening.  Torrey is a great teacher.  She keeps it interesting and encourages us to ask questions and provides great answers to our questions.

Our lecture was fascinating, as always.  We talked about willfulness and surrender in yoga and in life in general.  I love the idea of finding a balance between these things – making it happen and letting it happen.  And I love the concept of non-attachment.  We talked a lot about relating to people from a “higher” place, which requires you to step back and evaluate, to self-reflect, to detach so as to figure out what serves the highest good (in your opinion) for the situation at hand.  Then you’re more likely to be honest, compassionate and do what’s in everyone’s best interest.  Maybe the other person will sense the place you’re coming from and be elevated as well.  Shivers!

WEEK 4. DAY 6. Graduation May 20th

Wow.  Graduation day.  We got our butts kicked by Mark in class this morning.  I liked how he sprinkled in yoga wisdom fluidly and matter-of-factly throughout the class, reminding people of other helpful aspects of yoga besides the physical.  Following that, Zefea led us in wall walks and we all shared what we learned at training (mine was to trust my decisions and my path more).  Then we began our graduation which consisted of [TOP SECRET (haha)]. Afterward we all drove into town and the girls escorted me to a tattoo parlor where I got a spider (eight limbs!) in a circle with a crown over it.  It’s on top of my right wrist where a watch might be.  The spider presented itself as my yoga spirit animal.  I want this tattoo to be like a mantra, reminding me of my yoga path of non-attachment, higher good and cessation of the modifications of the mind.  There have been so many things leading me to this point in my life that I can’t help but feel it’s part of a grand plan, a long play and a weird circuitous journey, but a purposeful one.








Evolation yoga is devoted to helping you become more Self-centered – in an ego-free way. By combining the powerful physical properties of hot yoga with the awareness-enhancing effects of meditation, evolation’s aim is to make you healthier, happier, and more in touch with that elusive little thing called the Self.

The Magic of Sun Salutations


The ancients who studied the practice of Yoga came to believe that the human form is intimately linked with nature, particularly the energy we receive from the sun. Following, that is why they believed that yoga practice should start with a sequence of poses recognizing the sun’s role in sustaining life. Personally, I have found the sun salutation series to be reliably satisfying as it brightens my mood and loosens my body, leaving me with more energy and alertness than before I started.

The Surya Namaskar is so much more than a series of poses done for warm up! It has essential health and mental benefits as well.

Here is a short list why you should consider starting your day with sun salutations:

Muscular relief

Sun salutation is most commonly used as a warm-up before moving on to a more demanding yoga asana sequence because this series of postures is effective at loosening all the major muscles.  This is very important if you are intending to do more demanding yoga or just regular gym workouts, as it reduces the risks of injuries and shock.

Cardiovascular benefits

Sun salutations can be performed at a sedate, moderate or fast pace. When they are done in a fast pace (without rest between consecutive poses), the cardiovascular system is forced to work harder. When practiced at a slower pace, the benefit is greater muscle build and control. Either way, breath rate and heartbeat rise and regular practice of sun salutations will improve cardiovascular function over time.

Improved digestion

The poses of the sun salutations compress and massage the digestive system. This stimulates better peristalsis function, making it easier for you to absorb what you have taken in and pass the waste.  You will suffer fewer digestive system ailments like bloating and constipation.

Better kidney function

The kidneys are vital in filtering and passing out various impurities in the body’s circulation system. Sun salutations help massage the kidneys and improve the flow of blood in and out, in turn improving the filter of toxins and other impurities for a healthier body.

Weight loss

Sun salutations exercise the entire body! All the major muscles are involved. Your muscles will be lifting, stretching, and twisting during the sun salutations elevating your metabolic rate and hence the calories burnt. This is a good low impact way of weight loss.

Calming the Nerves

Sun salutations help reach to the nervous system as you are stretching and twisting such that all major never centers are relieved off tension making you a calmer person.

Mental benefits

Sun salutation helps one to cultivate a deeper, more expansive breath cycle, which in turn can focus and calm the mind. Personally, I have found much relief from momentary worries and stress in just 4-5 rounds of the sun salutation series. Starting the day in an energized mood makes you look forward to a bright day and keep moods positive.



Allison Antoinette


Allison Antoinett is the newest addition to evolation yoga with a background in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga alongside holistic nutrition. er inquisitive brai inds joy in Eastern traditions and looks to help improve a quality of life for all.

How Yoga Can Help Seniors Find the Stress Relief They Seek


The exercise that comes with yoga has been shown in numerous studies to have benefits for people of all ages, and the practice is excellent for seniors as well. Yoga can be great for older adult, as it helps reduce stress in your life, both mental and physical, and works to do this in many ways. If you’re a senior, there are several ways that yoga works to help you find the stress relief you seek.

Increases Awareness and Presence
Yoga provides many mental health benefits. By practicing yoga, you learn to be more in the present moment. You also increase your knowledge of what is happening around you. Staying present helps to release tension and stress and allows you be happier in every moment of your day to day life.

Works to Improve Existing Conditions
Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and to benefit people with several medical conditions. Those who practice it have lower incidence of hypertension and gain menopausal relief. It also contributes to managing diabetes and promoting bone health.

Manages Your Weight
Yoga also assists seniors in losing weight and maintaining their body shape better. The exercise doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous to gain benefits. The light exercise that yoga provides for seniors is enough to create a significant change in your body.

Lowers Blood Pressure and Resting Heart Rate
Yoga has also been shown in studies to improve and lower blood pressure. It has also been shown to reduce the resting heart rate in people who practice yoga. There’s no denying that these aspects are significant for seniors. Yoga can be a great regular practice for the elderly for improving their health.

Strengthens Your Energy
Yoga also helps to give you more energy. The practice of focusing on your body and your breath and performing exercise all work together to release endorphins. Yoga will make your body and your mind more and more energized every day that you practice.

Final Thoughts
All the above benefits work together to help reduce your stress. Yoga helps by helping you to be in the present moment, gain more energy, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and manages your weight. This relaxing practice may be exactly what you need to be happier, healthier, and less stressed.

Sally Phillips