Ava Johanna

Ava Johanna
Ava Johanna

200 Hr Vinyasa Yoga, Hot26, 1GiantMind Meditation Teacher, Pranayama 
Celebrity Yoga and Meditation Instructor + Host of The Alchemized Life Podcast
Alo Yoga, Bandier
Los Angeles, CA

Introduction: Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.

After leaving the corporate world 4 years ago due to high levels of chronic stress and migraines, I began to pursue my passion for wellness as I traveled the globe with my partner. My love of integrating wellness and movement in an easy and accessible way gave inspiration to my blog and now podcast, The Alchemized Life, which bridges the gap for anyone on their wellness journey to learn new tools and practices from wellness thought leaders and teachers. After teaching yoga, pranayama and meditation for several years, I created my signature concept, Tone To Transform, which combines yoga-inspired movement, cardio, meditation and breathwork into a fun and upbeat class.

How and why did you start yoga? 

I've always been active and yoga was a way for me to cultivate an active practice while also carving out enough space to become witness to my thoughts, actions, and reactions to the world around me. It was a getaway from the everyday stress of life and reminded me of what was truly important: connection to myself and others. 

Who was your great mentor/teacher?

My first mentor and good friend, Caley Alyssa, took me under her wing when I was just budding in the wellness space. She has been my greatest mentor throughout all the ups and downs of establishing my own wellness business and making a name for myself in the industry. 

Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?

My practice and teaching style is heavily influenced by vinyasa, but breaks all the "rules" of yoga. I combine sculpt movements with HIIT, yoga flows, meditation and breathwork so my students can achieve a well-rounded workout and mindfulness practice in just one class alone. Too much of one thing is never good for the body (or the mind) so creating Tone To Transform was my answer to the routine movements and postures we often find in a traditional yoga class. 

What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?

Yoga was my gateway to mindfulness. It helped me to step outside of the experience and take on the role of the witness of the experience. It allowed me to tap into deeper states of awareness and take responsibility for the world I had created around me. 

What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?

My recurring intention every time I step on the mat (since I first began) is to remain open. Open to the experience, open to the lessons, and open to whatever bubbles to the surface throughout my practice. This intention has bled outside of just the four corners of my mat and has taught me how to be open in all areas of life.

When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher? 

I was laying in savasana with sweat dripping off my body after an intense class by my favorite San Diego yoga teacher, Nikki Rae Bose, and had the thought: "I need to find some way to make other people feel as good as I feel." From there, I enrolled in the teacher training and have been teaching since. 

What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?

I love watching my students show up for themselves and constantly be surprised by their own strength and ability to breathe even when they are at the edge of their comfort zones. Yoga is such a mirror for our lives and the ways in which we can persevere and breathe on the mat directly correlate with how we show up in other areas of our lives. 

Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?

Yoga is a tool for getting to know ourselves better and I believe that any way we can get to know ourselves better is an essential part of taking responsibility for the world around us and then shifting what we want to see differently. Whether you do that in yoga or in meditation or by going on a run, the opportunity lies within our ability to become aware and inquire within.

How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?

It's as important as the yogi wants to make it. There are obviously the yoga sutras which emphasize things like cleanliness, abstinence, and other practices, but just like anything else yoga is meant to be adaptable. If you love eating meat, continue eating meat. If you want to be plant-based, be plant-based. If you like eating french fries from McDonalds, do it. I know how I feel from eating certain foods and choose to limit junk food and high fat/sugar/salt meals, but I will never tell someone what they can and can't eat because every body is different so what is important to me is likely regarded differently from the person next to me. In my opinion, emphasizing respect of people's choices is far more important in the "yogi lifestyle" than telling someone what they should be doing to be considered healthy.

Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins that you recommend? And why?

I take Trust Your Gut from Ora.Organic and New Earth Essentials packets daily for my digestion, mental clarity, energy levels and emotional regulation daily. Gut health = brain health so treating your gut with good nutrients is key for our overall body functions.

How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?

Most of us are dehydrated (myself included) and when we are on our mats or practicing and sweating, it is so important to drink water to replenish the body. I aim to drink 60oz or more daily at a minimum and always notice brighter skin and better digestion when I am drinking enough water daily. 

Your favorite quote?

I don't have a favorite quote but I will share my favorite mantra:

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc

Instagram: @AvaJohanna

Podcast: The Alchemized Life

Website: www.AvaJohanna.com