Certified Yoga Teacher
Yoga con Coral
Introduction: Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
My story started 31 years ago in the small town of Aguadilla (waterville). I was born during a hot summer afternoon to Myrna, a passionate educator, activist, and scientist and Kemuel, a captain and avid waterman. My first human experience was meeting the ocean; the day I was born the local fishermen gathered and along with my dad took me on a cruise around the North West coast of Puerto Rico. This was the day the ocean cast its spell and just as Cousteau said… “it has held me in its net of wonder forever...” It was also the day I was named Coral. Today that coastline we explored has been named the 11th World Surfing Reserve and it has been the subject of an outstanding environmental battle for over 24 years. For me this place inspired me to be everything I am today – an activist, surfer, yoga teacher, and observer.
Since a very young age I ran to the sea to clear my mind, to connect, to breathe. The ocean is the biggest connector and it inspired me in ways I am now just beginning to understand. Tell you about myself? I am a being just like you that craves and desires connection, isn't this the definition of a yogi? I am an empath that feels too much at times, but this same characteristic has led me to live some of the richest human experiences a being could wish for. Through this process of humanization I encounter yoga. I was fascinated when I learned this practice, much more than physical, was created with the purpose of connecting us, bringing us together, allowing us to acknowledge that everything that surrounds us is worthy of respect.
My yoga practice started at a time I felt disconnected from myself. It brought me back, it gave me peace, it allowed me to quiet my mind and learn about the things that truly made me happy. It changed my life so I decided to share it with everyone else...
Just like water connects this giant blue and green floating dot, yoga connects us and reminds us where we come from. My practice isn't about mastering the handstand (though I must admit it's super fun), but about traveling within and discovering parts of ourselves we never knew even existed.
How and why did you start yoga?
I first tried yoga in 2009 at a small dance studio in Massachusetts. At the time yoga was not a big part of my life and it took some time and work for me to fall in love with the practice, but I did appreciate what it was doing for my body. In 2012 I experienced my own personal apocalypse, one that sent me straight to San Diego to heal. I didn't know how this process would look, but I knew it required a massive shift. I started working for social justice, learned how to live in a community, experimented with different diets, and started doing massive amounts of crossfit and running, which eventually led me to experience yoga and its incredible healing benefits thanks to an “unfortunate” sports injury that left me with 4 disk herniations and a severe sciatica. Unable to step with my right foot at 24 years of age I found myself falling into depression. Two weeks into misery and one of my roommates invited me to a Hot Power Fusion class at Core Power Yoga and needless to say my practice has continued until today.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
NIkki Kraus and Alyssa Brown from Core Power Yoga, Point Loma, SD
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
I started practicing Power Yoga and trained under the Baron Baptise method with Core Power Yoga. The fast paced, core focused vinyasa allowed me to fully get into my body while challenging me to learn how to control my breath through the fast paced sequence. In a way I felt the sequence was a metaphor for my anxiety and that if I could flow through it with a controlled breath I would be able to master my body and mind. This made me choose Power Yoga as my main yoga method.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Yoga has helped me overcome every single obstacle in my life. Everything from a bad day at work, breakups, deaths of loved ones … It has allowed me to live a full life despite my Generalized Anxiety. It has helped me overcome the fear of speaking up for myself and living a life that follows my convictions. Now I can stand in front of a crowd without fear of judgement and be my most authentic self.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
My mind set depends on the day; my practice never looks the same. Some days I step onto my mat feeling creative and inspired. Other times I step onto it as if it were a place of worship, a place I come to recognize and acknowledge myself just as it is in that moment. I can hide from my mat, I can lie to my body. When I step onto my mat I am honest and ready to listen to whatever it is my body wants to tell me.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
When practice was not enough, when I realized that I had something to say and share with others, when I found out that my journey could help inspire others. When Alyssa Brown approached me after class and told me I was ready to be a teacher.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
We rise by lifting others… Being a yoga teacher requires vulnerability, opening up to strangers, sharing my truth in the hope that it resonates with someone in the room. When that happens – when a student approaches me to simply say, thank you, or hugs me, or cries, or feels comfortable enough to share a story – that's the most rewarding part, seeing others embrace vulnerability without fear because it is in that space that we can find acceptance and love for who we are and everything around. The most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher is seeing my students’ truest selves shine with radical self-acceptance.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
We are living through some very confusing times, times that could make us angry, bitter, frustrated, leaving us uninspired and worse, convincing us that there is nothing we can do to make things better. We are living a life commanded by algorithms, where feelings are disposable and connections are losing authenticity. Yoga means union, it is an act of discovery and truthfulness, a journey inwards that creates physical, mental, emotional and spiritual awareness. Practice allows this awareness to translate into action, as we practice we organically start to make better decisions, we eat better, we are kinder, boundaries begin to fall down and we become our best self, one that can have a positive impact in this sick and tired world. We have the power to inspire and little by little cause a ripple effect that can truly change the world. Why is yoga so important, because it can change the world, all we have to do is practice.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
Living a healthy lifestyle is essential. Clean eating habits, hydration, surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals that build us up are habits that could help us avoid disease but more importantly, habits that could help us battle diseases when they knock on our doors. Illnesses can happen, and will most likely happen, but by implementing healthy habits we have a better chance of successfully battling disease and remaining strong through the process.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins that you recommend? And why?
Vitamin D; to keep me happy during the winter months, prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and keep my bones strong. Vitamin B12 to supplement my mostly vegetarian diet, and Vitamin C as a general immune system builder.
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
Drinking water is essential for any lifestyle but as a power yoga teacher I tend to sweat a lot! So keeping hydrated means staying healthy and at the top of my game. Drinking water cleanses our bodies, gets rid of toxins, something we are constantly looking to do as yogis. Drinking water also keeps me mentally balanced, alert, and able to perform at a higher level
Your favorite quote?
“Words are living things΅ and “Vulnerability breathes vulnerability” both by Jason Russell
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc
You can follow me on instagram @yogaconcoral // Facebook “Yoga con Coral”