From stress to salutations and motherhood being the spring board, Alissa Kepas (@alissayoga
) is a yoga teacher and Instagram sensation who stole our heart with her radiant poses and beautiful outlook on life and the practice of yoga.
Alissa started practicing yoga when she was a stressed out college student, but it wasn't until after the birth of her daughter in 2011 that she really dove into yoga. She completed her first teacher training a few months later and never looked back. Alissa is the Studio Director and Lead Teacher at InBalance Yoga
in Orem, Utah. She loves being able to make her passion her work as well, it is truly a dream come true. When not teaching yoga, you can find Alissa roaming the mountains of Utah with her sweet family.
We caught up with Alissa to dig deeper about her practice, her inspiration and her most challenging yoga poses
What were you studying in college when you became so stressed you found your way to yoga?
I was studying English Education. I don't think my studies necessarily made me stressed - rather my personality flaw of perfectionism and very high expectations of myself led me to yoga, which is so beautiful because yoga has taught me compassion
What about motherhood ignited the fire to deepen your practice?
At first it was to get back in shape
. I had never felt out of shape, but for the first time in my life I did. Yoga brought a whole new inner and physical strength. Also, yoga was my one chance for 'me' time after having my daughter. My yoga practice became a sacred time
for me to work on myself every day.
What type of yoga did you begin with and what type of yoga are you doing now?
I began my practice with Rocket Yoga
as taught by Larry Schultz, a rebel student of Pattabhi Jois. This was the only yoga in my community at this time and it is always a sweet experience for me to practice The Rocket. A few years ago I started seeing all these yogis on Instagram with these very beautiful backbends. Backbending had always been a struggle for me so I was intrigued. I began to notice that almost all of these yogis were students of Sri Dharma Mittra
, a living Guru in NYC. I took my first class from Sri Dharma at Wanderlust in 2013 and from that moment on, I never looked back. Dharma Yoga is the practice of my heart, but nowadays I practice all styles, it doesn't matter who the teacher is or what the style is, yoga is yoga and it lives in my heart now.
What is your favorite part about teaching yoga? What is the most important lesson you want your students to take away from their classes with you?
I love watching my students progress in their practice, whether that is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. The most important thing for me is the yoga mat is a safe place for students to take risks and conquer fears
. I want my students to walk away from class empowered and filled with a love of life.
Does your daughter do yoga with you? What is her favorite pose?
Yes, she does! One of my most challenging practices was when I told her to teach me. She would point to postures on a poster and then I would do them. She had me sweating bullets! Since she was a toddler her favorite pose has been 3-legged down dog. Right now, she loves handstands and is working on getting her's solid. Kids doing yoga makes my heart so happy!
What is the most challenging yoga poses for you and why?
I used to be really focused on "getting" a pose, but lately I let them come and go and move however I feel that day. One posture that I'm always working on is scorpion. Getting my toes to my head is so much work and some days it happens and others it doesn't and that is okay. More than any pose, the real challenge is to quiet my monkey mind
while I practice.