Meet Paula Alva: Tammy Fit's Resident Yoga Instructor

words Madi Schenk
Paula is our first Tammy Fit yoga instructor and we are so honoured to be able to work with her and witness her love for this practice! We asked Paula a few questions about how she developed her love for yoga to share with our amazing community.

Here is what she said…

What initially sparked your interest in yoga, and further becoming
a yoga instructor? 
My dad took me to my first yoga class. I remember that class, how immediately it felt like home. I have always been interested in very artistic sports, so the physical practice of yoga was what took my attention in the beginning. But the feeling after class, the joy, peace and a sense of connection was what kept me coming back over and over again. It was just making me a really happy person. 
I honestly did my teacher training not to become a yoga instructor but to deepen my practice and my understanding about yoga. I knew there was so much more in there that I wanted to dig deeper into. What made me finally decide to start teaching classes was the love of yoga I had. It was not normal, I had to share that love. Wanting people to experience what I do, not only on the yoga mat but also off the mat. How it makes me feel every day, wanting to be a better person.

What are your top tips for those wanting to start practicing yoga? 
  •  To begin with an open heart and mind. In yoga there is no right or wrong.   Release any expectations of how things should be or look. 
  • Set aside a little time everyday for you. Even if that is 10 minutes for your practice. Don’t make excuses! Patience and consistency are key. 
  • Find a comfortable space for your practice at home.
  • A good yoga mat has always motivated me.
  • Never compare yourself.
  • Know that we use the physical practice of yoga to reach our minds and spirit. To finally find that connection with the help of the breath.
  • Understand yoga is a process and a lifestyle.
  • Try to start with beginner classes, but knowing that a beautiful aspect of yoga is that there are always options and variations. It's your process and your practice.
  • Always listen to your body as she knows best what she needs.
How important is flexibility for practising yoga? 
Not important at all. Flexibility is something you acquire with your practice but it's not the goal. When we come to our yoga mats its to explore the body, sensations, reactions, thoughts. To find a calmer mind and learn to breathe. The exact same yoga posture looks different from person to person. A lot of things can be the reason, flexibility, body shape, etc. but that doesn’t mean one is correct and the other one is not. The postures might look different but they are both correct. Everyone can practice yoga, no matter what.

Why do you think yoga is so important to incorporate in one’s lifestyle? 
The importance of yoga in modern life is endless. As we spend so much time of our days looking outside trying to figure out our lives, that we forget to take a little time to gaze inward. To see what is going on inside, to check in and to work on ourselves. We live in a very fast paced world and have busy lifestyles, so I find it super important to take a little time each day to stop, breath, find a calmer mind to help us keep going and to handle situations and people in the best way we can. Notice how much energy and time we waste thinking about the future or past, and notice how it makes you feel. One of the best lessons of yoga is to live in the present moment, as it's the only place where we will find true happiness.

Name your favourite, basic, intermediate and advanced yoga poses!
I don’t like dividing poses into levels as I think all poses have variations for everyone. Plus, it is almost impossible to pick just one of each, as they keep changing with time. So here we go:
  •  Basic favourite yoga pose: Puppy pose and tree pose.
  • Intermediate favourite yoga pose: Eagle pose and crow.
  • Advanced favourite yoga pose: Grasshopper and handstands.
What are the different styles of yoga? 
Nowadays there are so many styles and variations of this practice. Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative, Power, Iyengar, Bikram, Kundalini, Jivamukti, to name a few...
How has practising yoga changed your life? 
Yoga has helped me to live a better life. It's helped me make the right decisions, put me on the right path and has got rid of unhealthy patterns. It has helped me and still does, to find myself. It is a journey but really finding your true nature and be the best version of yourself is what we aspire for - my yoga practice helps me every day, one practice at a time, to achieve that. Apart from making me feel great in my own skin, giving me confidence and helping me to be a better person, yoga helps me to find happiness and peace wherever I go. I'm forever grateful I found this practice. 
We cannot wait to launch Yoga into the app and couldn't imagine partnering with a more deserving and inspirational yogi - thank you for sharing your love and beautiful practice with us, Paula.

Practice with Paula on the Tammy Fit app, iOS and Android versions available now 💪🏽
xx the Tammy Fit Team