We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Updated on Jan 30th, 2024
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Sasha Yoga & Wellness 2024: Yoga, Meditation and Nutrition

DeliveryRank has the pleasure of chatting with Sasha A Nelson, the guiding force behind Sasha Yoga & Wellness, who is dedicated to fostering holistic well-being through the integration of yoga asana, meditation, nutrition, and eco-conscious living. With a foundation rooted in dance, spanning over 20 years, Sasha's journey led her from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied dance and theater design, to obtaining an MFA in fashion merchandising from the Academy of Art University. However, her true calling emerged as she explored yoga, meditation, and nutrition, finding a path to serve others and promote mindfulness. Sasha's extensive background in dance and her studies in holistic health coaching converge in her mission to infuse time-tested practices into modern life for the benefit of mind, body, and the planet.

Sasha, can you share the pivotal moment or experience that inspired you to transition from being a yoga student to becoming a yoga teacher, and how did this journey shape your approach to teaching?

One of the first of many pivotal moments in my transition from a student to a teacher of yoga is one of my first yoga classes at my old local gym when I lived in San Francisco. I was a stressed graduate student looking for both another form of movement aside from dance, and a form of anxiety-relief. When we were laying in the final resting pose at the end of class, I envisioned myself in the seat of the teacher, wondering what I might say or share that could help others feel how I was feeling in that moment (much calmer, more embodied, relieved, connected, and centered).

From there it was a matter of time until other pivotal moments occurred, such as one of my teachers and mentors finally encouraging me to participate in a teacher training and start teaching myself. Her faith in me helped me have faith in myself, and gently pushed me a little further to begin - even if I felt a little nervous at first. These among other moments helped shape my approach by reminding me of one of my reasons for teaching: to connect with ourselves and each other via the vessel of the body (whether the poses are challenging or relaxing), and especially to learn how to utilize these tools off the mat / in daily life.

I’ve been teaching since 2012, and I continue to learn that even though yoga asana is so personal, when we have both an individual and collective approach to better understanding our bodies and minds, there is an opportunity to create clarity and compassion on a much larger scale. This is one of many feelings I felt in that first class at the gym that cracked me open, and I still carry it with me.

Your extensive training includes a diverse range of disciplines, from Breakti® to Mindfulness Meditation. How do these varied practices inform your teaching style, and how do you integrate them into your yoga teacher training programs?

As a dancer, I love exploring and integrating various forms of movement into how I dance and practice or teach yoga. We are all made up of such a variety of life experiences, so I feel it is only natural that it comes through us in various ways. The different yoga and mindfulness / meditation trainings I’ve done - and continue to do - are integrated into how I teach: from the words or descriptions that I use while instructing, to the way I organize my sequences.

Since 2016 I have been a student of Nikki Costello’s weekly Iyengar classes for teachers, and although I am not a certified Iyengar teacher, it has informed my practice and my teaching in a profound way. I continue to gain a better understanding of both the mechanics of the body and asana postures - including contraindications and modifications - which I use with private clients and like to infuse into vinyasa flow sequencing.

Mindfulness and meditation has given me tools to enhance my attention and compassion for the students that trust me to guide them, whether they are teachers themselves or not.

My dance experience comes through in my sequencing when exploring creative transitions, and my aim to infuse playfulness into a practice.

All the trainings I’ve done - both for movement and mindfulness - have taught me so much, especially that we are all unique individuals with unique needs, and yoga can meet those individual needs beautifully. This is relevant when working with students or teachers, groups or private / corporate clients, in in-person or virtual settings.

And when working with new or upcoming teachers, there are such an array of components to cover that it really has no end. There is of course a steady base that can be established with things like postural and anatomical comprehension, some yogic philosophy like the Yoga Sutras, sequencing, and basic teaching skills, but each of these - among a wide range of other topics - go very deep.

This can feel overwhelming for new teachers, but if my trainings have taught me anything, I now know that it is important to teach what we know in lieu of what we don’t yet understand, that there are many different methods of teaching, that teachers all have their unique gifts (some of which are obvious, some maybe not so much), and that there is always more to learn. One of my teachers once exclaimed that it was a relief to not be expected to know everything - I remind myself of that often!

As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Training Program, how does your background in holistic health coaching influence the way you guide students in your yoga teacher training courses? How do you address the holistic well-being of your students?

My background in Holistic Health Coaching influences the way I guide students and teachers in yoga by being present, and understanding that everyone has individual interests and needs (and that teachers also have their own unique gifts - for example some are passionate about prenatal or restorative yoga versus vinyasa, some prefer meditation and philosophy, etc). This can also change over time; it’s never fixed.

Addressing the holistic wellbeing of students comes from this baseline understanding, and using my own tools to support others in cultivating the tools that work for them - whether that is via health coaching or teaching yoga and meditation. New teachers, students, and clients all need to feel supported on their journeys in both their bodies and minds, otherwise they might teach or act / react from a place that is not very embodied. Just like myself as a teacher and coach, they need to be reminded to be open to creative solutions, and that there is always something to learn from each other. It can be a collective and not a hierarchical experience, even when the teacher has a lot of valuable information to offer.

My teachers have taught me the importance of learning from students, which has been an ongoing and invaluable skill. I also know that we can’t know everything about a student at first glance, which I feel is useful for all teachers to know - especially when teaching group classes.

For example: if I am teaching movement and postures, I know that there are things unheard and unseen that could be causing a student discomfort (aside from being in a difficult posture) that might not be as evident as if we were speaking to each other in a session. If we are in a coaching session, there are things in their body they might be feeling (or that I can’t see via a virtual session) that are also unknown, but could be a root cause of discomfort (for example: a rounded posture can compress organs and cause digestive or even respiratory pain). Knowing there are unknown components of a student and being open to uncovering them will encourage me as a teacher to be curious and humble; it gives students the space to be honest with themselves and their bodies, which is imperative to growth.

Healing and wellbeing is non-linear, and won’t be 100% addressed in 1 class or 1 session. A more holistic approach requires consistency, attention, creativity, a willingness to learn and unlearn physical and mental habits and patterns, and dedication - from both my end and their end; from any teacher. Addressing physical or mental dis-ease requires an exploration of all parts of our minds and bodies, our relationships and careers, our thoughts and past experiences.

This doesn’t mean we are broken or bad or wrong, it is simply an ongoing opportunity to continue to get to know ourselves better and cultivate the tools to create more balance when we feel we are lacking it. All of this understanding and willingness to learn more helps me to address the wellbeing of my students and clients.

In your wellness coaching, you emphasize integrating Ayurvedic ancient wisdom into lifestyle choices. How do you introduce and apply Ayurvedic principles to help individuals achieve balance, clarity, and overall well-being, and what tangible benefits have your clients experienced through this approach?

Integrating Ayurveda into daily life is not as intimidating as it sounds - even for myself. I try to introduce these and other time-tested principles in ways that feel feasible and sustainable, for example by introducing the possibility of adding even just one lifestyle practice, Ayurvedic principle, or food / recipe that might be supportive for them based on what they need.

Coaching for me personally does come from my experience with and self-study of Ayurveda, among other dietary modalities and theories, but making suggestions based on my own needs might not always be so useful. It’s important that I understand what a client or student desires before arriving at action steps together, or asking the questions and giving them the space to make the self-inquiries that lead to their own discoveries and tools. This will make integration much more attainable and personal.

Benefits from clients have included a better relationship with food and their body, empowerment to cultivate their own and use Ayurvedic or other healing modalities to support them in their health goals, a better understanding of what tools they can use and when (for example: ginger can aid in digestion, turmeric is great for inflammation, etc), more knowledge of cooking with and utilizing the power of spices, more awareness of seasonal cooking for year-round wellbeing and preventative care, making a shift away from demonizing foods like gluten and dairy (and realizing how stressing about it could be damaging, too), and more.

Your one-on-one sessions and wellness programs offer a personalized approach to yoga and meditation. Can you elaborate on the benefits of individualized sessions and how you tailor your teachings to meet the unique needs and goals of your clients?

I think I spoke a lot to this in the earlier questions, because I know from firsthand experience the importance of a more personalized approach - whether it’s movement, meditation, or what we eat.

Everyone is on their own journey, working with their own discomforts and stressors, dealing with different physical and mental health imbalances, navigating their own relationships with themselves / others / their bodies / food / careers / etc. There are also circumstances like time of year, where in the world we live and who we live with (if anyone), if we have / want kids or not, if we have allergies or other health issues, what we do for work, how we’re feeling emotionally.

Because of this and other individual factors, it is really important to understand that no single approach is the best approach for everyone (i.e. what works for you might not work for someone else); sometimes specific approaches can work well if they are modified to suit current circumstances (i.e. vinyasa yoga might not currently work for someone who is healing from an injury, but there are static postures that can be beneficial); it is an ongoing ever-changing journey (i.e. what works today might not work tomorrow). Thankfully yoga, meditation, and diet are all very modifiable to meet individual needs, even if they come from specific baseline approaches.

By understanding yourself and your needs, you are more equipped to cultivate and access the tools and practices that work for you on any given day - whatever your mood may be, however your body feels, whatever the weather is, etc. This is what has helped me personally soften perfectionist tendencies around the need to do everything a certain way

I believe that, in order for our physical and mental health desires to manifest, it has to come from an authentic place where the tools and practices feel sustainable and nourishing instead of impossible and tormenting - even if it and when it feels challenging sometimes. That’s where real transformation occurs.

If you would like to find out more about Sasha, please visit https://sashayogawellness.com/


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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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