Sarah Velasco: Can you tell readers about yourself? How did you get started?
Alex Leikermoser: My background is in interior design I studied at Ryerson completing a 4 year degree program. For my thesis, I was passionate about exploring healthy interiors and eco interiors, what makes a space feel good energetically, (i.e. feng shui, vastu etc.), what the meaning a home has, and the future of families: how homes will change with higher divorce rates etc and homelessness. Being socially responsible as designers.
My courses were very highly competitive and we had a high workload, so I started taking yoga in university and really found that it helped me manage my stress levels! Then at the age of 29 after just 5 years after starting my design business I fell very ill, I was completely burnt out and the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. I had no energy, and the smallest tasks seemed huge. I was tired all the time and fatigued. By chance through a chair manufacturer, I was led to a naturopath. He ran a live blood cell analysis test & diagnosed me with chronic fatigue amongst other things and early warning signs of cancer. This made me realize I was not invincible & my health was the most important thing I had to take care of. I was scared, but he assured me if I changed my diet and lifestyle, lowering my stress, that I could get my health back! This experience has made me passionate about educating others on cancer prevention strategies and how to create e healthy life form A-Z! Your home, your body, your clothing how you eat, your mind set and more!!
Sarah Velasco: What tools do you think are essential for starting a yoga practice?
Alex Leikermoser: Based on my own experience and that of my clients, the most challenging part is having a daily or weekly practice! Tools to keep you on track are key! I created a fun, easy breathing CD that assists individuals in taking even just 1 minute a day to breathe ! I also think joining a studio that is close to home or work is key.
Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about Yogagurl?
Alex Leikermoser: Yogagurl was my nickname when I was an Interior Designer as many people didn’t practice yoga back then. Also, when I started teaching it became my moniker then I decided to replace the “i’ in girl with a “u’ for guru to make it more playful. Over the last 14 years of my business journey, Yogagurl has embodied my values and dreams and the gurls that came to practice with me! The brand took on a life of its own and out of that was born: a clothing line, retreats, a yoga studio and more!
Some things have changed as my needs changed as the founder, but the philosophy remains the same: making yoga fun & demystifying it, and making it easy to breathe & do yoga on the go!
Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about your e-courses?
Alex Leikermoser: Yes we have several courses and some new ones coming!
We have a 7 day online cleanse which is held live but soon you can also you can also download it and do it from home with a friend! The next online cleanse is the first week of October.
We also have a free download you can start with right away to kick start your journey just by signing up to our "calmunity" at yogagurl.com
Sarah Velasco: Why are retreats important?
Alex Leikermoser: Retreats are important because they are immersions into the yoga lifestyle without your daily distractions and habits. It allows you to step away and create news habits and learn how to incorporate yoga, pranayama (breathing techniques that are scientifically being proven to enhance health) meditation and learn to be present and in the moment...
To sum it up, retreats are important because they are opportunities to step away form your day-to-day routine, not so healthy habits, technology, and reconnect to nature, yourself and your body/mind/spirit! Plus, you also get to attend with your bestie, mom,daughter or sister, so it is a great way to bond and create healthy habits together!
Do you have favorite quotes?
Yes I have many favourite quotes...here a few that come to mind...
“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”― Marianne Williamson
"I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul." ~ by Rumi
"Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love." ~ by Caroline Adams
...of course our yogagurl quote which i have been using for 14 years on all our cards etc.
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours.
Sarah Velasco: What inspires you?
Alex Leikermoser: I am inspired by so much all day long. Curiosity is what allows me to be inspired, whether it is a leaf on the ground or a cloud shape, the way the sun is shining onto the water and creating a reflection or in the vibrant colors of a dragonfly! I'd say nature is my main inspiration for all my projects as well as music and art!
I am inspired by other women that lead with their heart, I am inspired by artists and musicians that follow their passion and want to innovate in their respective industries. I think now more than ever women have so many choices and freedoms and we can really have a positive impact on the planet if we each share our unique talents and gifts with the world. Every woman has a role even if you think you are insignificant you are not! You can and do affect peoples lives just by smiling at someone on the street or extending a positive word you may save a life or turn around someones day, so never ever understate your personal power. I have come to understand that when you are the shining light that others can then have permission to shine their light as well.
Sarah Velasco: What are some common misconceptions about yoga that you've noticed over the years?
Alex Leikermoser: People think yoga is only for people who are in shape, or spiritual and many people say “Oh i can’t do that i’m not flexible” and I laugh and tell them yoga is for people who want to increase their flexibility. Others say they are not spiritual. There are approx 15 main popular styles of yoga that are readily available and more and more as time goes on, so research what is best for you at this time. I teach classical Hatha Yoga which is focused on learning the postures and breathing, and over the years I have added my own inspirations like art, music, drumming, chocolate to my classes !
Also more than anything, what I have gleaned in my 20 years of practicing is that yoga is about the breath not being in pretzel poses…mastering your breath is key so that no matter the yoga pose you are in or life situation you are in you can stay calm and breathe deeply! Now that is worth the journey!
Sarah Velasco: Can you tell us about Yogagurl merchandise? What's the story behind it?
Alex Leikermoser: Yogagurl clothing line was a way for me to express the yoga message on a walking billboard. 15 years ago when I was in my yoga teacher training I hand stenciled some t-shirts with some cheeky sayings and wore them to class, My classmates asked me to make them some shirts to wear too, and after a while I started getting many more orders. I thought, there must be a more efficient way than to hand paint these tanks. Voila my first line of t-shirts was born which led to the seed capital to start my yoga clothing line, distributed all over the USA and Australia. I was featured on the cover of international magazines as yoga journal and I was nominated one of the top 4 yoga wear designers!
Sarah Velasco: What are your must-have yoga items?
1) breathing cd - My yoga cd to help you take mini breathing breaks throughout the day, i designed it as a tool for busy people so its easy for anyone to start a daily breathing practice that leads to meditation
2) aroma therapy oils ( available to order through me) & diffuser for calm spaces and ease in sleeping! Great way to keep yourself de-stressed & balanced on the go!
3) Our Whine less, breathe more T-shirt !! and the yogagurl phone case to remind you when your phone rings to breathe more!!
Sarah Velasco: How has the yoga industry changed over the years? Has it gotten better? worse?
Alex Leikermoser: To be honest, I have always beaten to my own drum. Being part of innovating the yoga movement early on, helping the yoga show get off the ground as well as being one of the first yoga clothing lines - things have changed for sure. Yoga is much more widespread than when I started practicing 20 years ago and teaching 15 years ago. People ask me if the commercialization of yoga bothers me, to be honest I think the more people do yoga,wear the clothing and want to do yoga is a good thing!
Sarah Velasco: Can you give readers one of your favorite smoothie recipes?
Alex Leikermoser: Yes, of course. I love sharing my recipes. My favourite is a green smoothie (I'm big on green because it is assists the body in being more alkaline)
I will let you know that I am a bit hardcore when it comes to my smoothies, my smoothies are to really re-set your health and get on track non of this super sweet bad for you stuff! I don't do dairy, gluten or refined sugar and I try to inspire others to lower or cut out these and to really get their body to its optimum place of health! So, my smoothie recipe will be a yummy green smoothie that is savoury. If you really find it too you can add a banana to cheat at the beginning when you are weaning yourself off having a lot of sweet!
- hand full of kale &/or spinach (2-3 cups)
- 1 lemon
- filtered water
- 1/2 small cucumber
- 1 (banana) optional makes it very yummy !
- **try a tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp seeds as topping
PS you can also add coconut water and pineapple for a more tropical twist!
Sarah Vealsco: Anything else you'd like us to know?
Alex Leikermoser: I have stopped producing the full line of clothing and closed my yoga studio to focus on what I really love which is inspiring others to live a healthy life! So focusing on online yoga, online wellness courses and retreats.
I have 2 retreats coming up in overnight & Day retreat! Oh and I almost forgot our retreat in maui in the waiter 2017 --feb -- email us to get on the list for more info!
Also I'd like to invite them to my weekly FREE Wahine wed wellness LIVE talk on Facebook... so make a cup of tea and hop online for weekly inspiration (sign up on our website or friend me on facebook) I love getting women & girls from around the world to join in for a breathing break, aromatherapy break and then a talk about wellness and yoga with a Q&A at the end!
I also have monthly online aromatherapy classes coming up on my new website at alexleikermoser.com !
As well, stay tuned in 2017 we are putting together mentorships with me and yoga+ lifestyle holistic living course with some in person hours for those that want to be certified. If you are doing it for your own personal growth it can be done all online! So it can be easy for a woman with kids, or that travel, or that live in another country but wants to get inspired and study with me!
I'll also be doing a talk at free "detox" talk at Nutrition Plus Community Health Store in Barrie . If you like this idea and want me to come do a talk at your office, school or home please email me!
Sarah Velasco: Thank you so much!
Alex Leikermoser: Alex Leikermoser: We hope to see your readers on our next wellness call if they want to friend me on Facebook alexleikermoser ( mention your blog) they will get an invite for my 'Wahine Wellness' LIVE Facebook session & can also watch the video later if they miss the live call! How cool is that? ("wahine" means women in hawaiian)
I love mixing technology with the ancient practice of yoga!
Thank you Sarah for sharing the yoga message alongside your music and don't forget to "Whine less, Breathe more"