It was only days after returning home to Los Angeles from a full month of an extensive yoga teacher training in Costa Rica that Sarah was invited to enjoy a sunny November afternoon trying out Stand Up Paddling (SUP) at Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey. There was no question that she was immediately excited for the opportunity to go out on the water as she just returned from a place where she had spent day after day in the magnificence of the Costa Rican jungle practicing yoga and in her spare time, she was hiking, swimming, and exploring everything the tropical jungle had to offer. Sarah was clearly still thirsty for any activity in which she could maintain a consistent presence in nature. She had never been on a stand up paddle board before that November afternoon but found it to be quite natural for her.
With her obvious passion for yoga, it was not long before Sarah began to experiment with yoga poses on the boards which was the spark that would lead to YOGAqua to come into being. For the next few weeks, Sarah ventured out onto the water with a SUP board, experimenting with yoga poses and sequences, testing them out, then revising again, and this process over and over until she developed a sequence that really worked, that any level of yoga practitioner could enjoy but still be challenged by at the same time. From there, she began teaching weekly classes at Mothers Beach through Poseidon, a new Stand Up Paddle Board shop in Venice, California. It didn’t take long before every week new and returning students would come out for the class, each class filled up to it’s max. Sarah felt the locals need for a new yoga experience and saw their joy in being outside on the water, under the bright sun while flowing through their new form of yoga practice.
Sarah is a Brand Ambassador for BOGA Yoga Paddle Boards, Lululemon Athletica, Calavera Swimwear, Freestyle USA Watches and Kialoa Paddles.
Ashley’s adventurous spirit and ambitious pursuit on life have always been her compass. Her passion for new cultures, cuisine, photography and people have taken her through Europe, Asia and South America. Fitness and health has always been important to Ashley. “When I became pregnant with my son, I decided to eat only organic produce and have a weekly workout regiment. Ultimately my son was the catalyst to my yoga journey.” While living in Thailand for 2 months, Ashley traveled through many countries in South East Asia using Bangkok as home base. “In the days I would ride elephants, hike through jungles, scuba dive etc. and at night I would do sunset yoga. My yoga teachers rarely spoke english and this forced me to communicate on a intuitive level in class. I had to focus inward and my practice became very personal. I was amazed how the inner peace I achieved on the worn wooden floors of the outdoor yoga studios carried on with me throughout my days in Asia. I was hooked! When I arrived back to the states I knew I wanted to deepen my yoga practice”. Once back in the states Ashley dedicated herself to an intensive 3 month yoga training program at Core Power Yoga- thus becoming a certified yoga teacher.
Ashley brings her unique teaching style of compassion and determination to SUP board yoga through her vigorous yoga sequencing. Allowing for a mind, body and soul workout. “ I build my students up for success, I push them physically to their max. Once the body is fatigued the ego silences, their minds are calm and their hearts are open. Nothing is more satisfying than watching my students start to move with ease and grace on a unstable surface, I see the glow… It’s beautiful.” Ashley’s warmth, upbeat and love filled outlook is what allows her to relate and care for all her students.
Riyaana Hartley is the founder of Divine Yoga & Vinyl Vinyasa, a live dj outdoor yoga event. She also works as an ambassador for the Wanderlust Festival and recently incorporated a new passion, teaching stand-up paddle board yoga for YOGAqua.
Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, she realized the power of yoga as Movement Medicine while attending the University of Florida. It was also here that she fell in love with break dancing. This was her primary outlet but when life began anew in California, yoga was there to take her to the next level.
Riyaana studied with Shiva Rea in Venice, CA and became certified to teach Prana Flow Energetic Vinyasa in 2009. She now resides in Los Angeles, teaches locally and produces events to bridge community and artistry. She is proud to now be a part of the YOGAqua team and looks forward to teaching YOGAqua in Skiathos, Greece this Summer 2014.
Riyaana shares openly and passionately from her experiences. At times incorporating her background in breakdancing or studies in personal growth and transformation. It is her intention to create space for authenticity, awakening and joy for every student!