S1E3: You Can Be a Non-Suffering Artist feat. Anna Cantwell

 

In this episode, we speak with Anna Cantwell, a Los Angeles-based yoga instructor. Anna is an RYT-200 certified yoga instructor and affiliate of Mind Tribes. She offers group and individual sessions along with yoga teacher training.

Anna discusses her experience working as a full-time teacher and full-time grad school student struggling to keep her mental and physical health afloat under the demands. Yoga introduced her to a new level of health and mindfulness that she took with her to the sunny beaches of California.

We ask Anna about her transition to consistent yoga practice, her thoughts on creating art and healing from trauma, and she offers tips on “shattering the mental limits you put on yourself.”

As always, this episode features the following music: Aspire by Scott Holmes, and Purple Light by Blue Dot Sessions.

To learn more about Anna visit: www.yogannala.com or follow her on IG: @yog_anna.

Listen to Episode 3 and read the full time-stamped transcript below or tune in on the following podcast platforms:

Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Google Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Podbean, PlayerFM and Blubrry.

Enjoy the episode and remember to Create & Connect!

 Anna Cantwell

Anna Cantwell

You Can Be A Non-Suffering Artist

How can you stay healthy mentally, physically and emotionally as an artist? I sat down with yoga instructor Anna Cantwell to discuss meditation, consistency and shattering mental limitations.


Full Transcript

Narrator:                                 00:00                       Meraki to do something with soul, creativity or love.

Narrator:                                 00:07                       Welcome to Meraki Mentors, the podcast featuring women who create. We interview creatives from every field and round the globe to discuss art, risk-taking and what it means to live a creative life. Here's your host, Candace Howze.

Candace:                                  00:25                       You're about to hear an enlightening discussion with Yoga instructor and creative writer Anna Cantwell who was based out of California, one of my favorite people, and someone who admires so much for her, inspiring and empowering words about mindful living and affirmative wellness. Some of the things we learned from Anna's conversation in this episode is the impact of our thoughts, the power of our habits, and the importance of mental and emotional health in being able to create the life that not only we desire, but that we all deserve as divine human beings. I just know you're going to absolutely love this episode. All right. Welcome to Meraki Mentors. Thanks for joining us everyone. Of course, This is your host Candace Howze, and today we have one of my favorite people in the world. She's so positive and very talented. She is a yoga and meditation teacher in California as well as a writer, and so today we are very, very happy and honored to have Anna Cantwell, with us for Meraki Mentors. Anna, thank you so much for being here today.

Anna:                                         01:35                       Thank you Candace. It's such a beautiful thing to reconnect and, you know, even though we're on opposite sides of the country to create this together.

Candace:                                  01:47                       Absolutely. And as just a little background, I met Anna during our undergraduate days at the University of North Carolina, kind of through our Creative Writing department. And so yeah, we just kind of been keeping in touch in a way over social media is so many of us and it is great to be able to actually talk and kind of catch up on the things we've been doing the last few years, um, and the work that she does as a yoga instructor. So I guess we'll just get started with. I'll let you give us a little introduction of kind of what your path was to yoga into California after you graduated.

Anna:                                         02:28                       Yeah, so when I graduated school I had it in my mind that I had to I work full time and school full time and that led me to Houston, Texas for a Masters in Education and a full time job as a high school English teacher.

Anna:                                         02:54                       I am still really passionate about education. And what I discovered in my time in Houston was that I was kind of serving over my happiness and my mental and physical health were crumbling. I was working 14 hour days. I had night classes and classes on the weekends. Um, and I knew that it wouldn't be forever and even so I just found that my schools didn't necessarily value the work that I was putting in and I didn't have the resources that I needed to be able to really do my job well. I loved it. It was so rewarding and I really wanted to continue to serve the education system. Um, and I thought there's gotta be a way to do this, that I don't have to sacrifice my personal health because what I started to notice is that it was absolutely negatively affecting the students.

Anna:                                         04:04                       Um, and, you know, I still believe that I was, I was making a net positive impact. Um, I really, really cared for my students and many of them I still talk with, but at the end of the day I was just too stressed out to really do my job well. Um, and it was this intense stress that led me to yoga. I found that no matter what happened during my day, I could go to yoga for this one hour and kind of leave all of those problems at the door even if it was just for that little bit. So not only did I get back into my body and get back into physical health, but also I learned how to tap back into my mind and my mental and emotional health. So with this discovery, I thought there's gotta be a way to bring these kinds of tools, yoga, breath work, meditation, to schools because kids are dealing with all of these same intense stressors that us adults are. Maybe they look a little bit too friendly. Um, but how much were helpful would that be? Because the students that I was serving were, many of them were severely traumatized and you know, we're way more worried about what they were going to eat or their weekend job than their English homework. So I stumbled across this amazing nonprofit, um, that has now that have now linked up with and they trained me to become a yoga teacher and this experience was so transformative for me. It really, I basically rewrote the story of my life.

Anna:                                         05:58                       And in that I asked them, um, my teachers if they were interested in spreading this work of yoga teacher training for public servants. So social workers, counselors and school teachers if they would be interested in taking it out to L.A. I had already decided that I wanted to live in California. And to my great surprise, they said yes. I hadn't even graduated training at this point. This was like, I think after right after week one and the day after I graduated yoga teacher training, I packed up my car and drove to California. Yeah, it was a really wild ride. Since then I have expanded my practice, so I teach at a couple of different studios out here, um, and I also lead meditation, which has been a really beautiful new practice for me in teaching, um, and I still work with students, so I tutor some students one on one and it's been amazing to bring some of my yoga and meditation into those sessions for students that are traumatized for students that have adhd. And then I'm very, very pleased to say that we actually just wrapped up our first Mind Tribes, which is the name of our organization, Mind Tribes, a 200 hour yoga teacher training in La and graduated five new school teachers. We had a counselor and a behavior analyst, um, that are now fully certified yoga teachers.

Candace:                                  07:46                       That's awesome.

Anna:                                         07:48                       So that was like a huge fulfillment of my dream and to say that that happened just a year after moving to a totally new city. Feels incredible.

Candace:                                  08:00                       Absolutely. That is, um, it's great when you're able to see, you know, in so many ways, like the fruits of your labor kind of coming full circle and impacting the lives of other people. That's, that's probably one of the greatest rewards that anyone can have.

Anna:                                         08:15                       Absolutely. And you know, especially as a teacher, sometimes you don't see the fruits of your labor for years or maybe you even never really see them. Um, so to have something that was a very concrete goal that I set and that I know is just going to make ripples in the world. It does, it feels really amazing.

Candace:                                  08:41                       I know that you mentioned how, you know, like getting started with Yoga, how it really helped you to feel healthier and a lot of ways, um, you know, and contrast to a lot of the stresses and other things that you were dealing with with working and being in school full time. Would you like to share a little bit of what you feel yoga kind of helps to, um, to edify in a way, you know, is it just a meditation aspects? Obviously the physical benefits. What do you think in the practice of yoga kind of helped you to reach a clear mental space?

Anna:                                         09:19                       Absolutely. When I graduated college, I was still dealing with some trauma that I had experienced and this physical trauma left me really not wanting to be touched and it left me really uncomfortable in my body. Um, and it also, I had a lot of. I had a lot of fearful thoughts still. So what yoga gave me access to was actually getting back into my body. I'm experiencing a safe touch in, um, you know, in a safe container and a space where I could meet, challenge on the mat that felt like, um, you know, confronting those really dark fears or the really intense stories of the past and traumas in a safe space. And by facing those, you know, difficult poses that you just have to breathe through and that often, you know, we store emotions. We trap them in areas of our body.

Anna:                                         10:44                       If you've ever, I would highly recommend the book. The body keeps the score, which basically talks about trauma's affect on the brain and how places like our stomach have more neurotransmitters than our brain even does. Um, so that we can actually, instead of influencing our body by way of the mind, we can influence our mind by way of the body and that it just gave me a lot of freedom and not to mention the physical benefits, um, when you start to see progress, especially in Yoga, you can see progress quickly, um, with consistent practice that is a really empowering feeling and what the feeling that I left school with this feeling very disempowered. So in short yoga gave me access to tap back into my physical body to hijack my brain and actually activates my parasympathetic nervous system and take myself out of this anxious fight or flight and then start to really challenge myself and grow in my physical strength. And that kind of starts to shatter the mental limits that you place on yourself.

Candace:                                  12:11                       I love that and I think it's great looking at, like you said, we always think about like the mind then impacting the body and not the other way around. So I think that's, that's so, um,

Candace:                                  12:27                       I can't even think of the word at this moment, but that's a really, it's really interesting. When you think of being introduced to other perceptions or other ways to approach some of the challenges that we have. I know you mentioned something too about being like finding consistency, which I always find in anything physical that I do is like the hardest thing of all. Um, there was a, there was an article somewhere I think I read in, um, I want to say it was women's health and they were talking about how to practice yoga to the point of a head headstand. My main goal when I was in high school now almost got there and then I just kind of got off of the whole thing. So what would be your, what would be one of your points of advice for anyone who was kind of struggling with the idea of consistency and how to find that time for themselves to really be able to achieve their goals?

Anna:                                         13:27                       I think that first addressing that if you don't take care of you yourself, somebody else is going to have to. And that it's our highest calling really to, to tend to ourselves. It's, I see it as very sacred that if we, if each of us are divine, that tending to ourselves as caring for the divine, um, and we're such complex beings and in this day and age where so much is thrown at us, so much information, um, you know, in America the mentality is very much gogo go stay busy. Uh, that yoga is very much in contrast to that. So it can breed a fabulous reprieve that going to the gym or something like that may not necessarily give you. As for the consistency piece, what really helped me was, and I think probably

Anna:                                         14:36                       Anybody that recommends certain types of physical exercise will recommend that you have a buddy. I had a fellow teacher at my school and essentially our word to each other was our promise, our commitment so that if one of us didn't show up, that was breaking our promise to a friend. Um, and that sounds kind of intense, but on the, you know, on those days that you really, you're like, I just remember coming home from school being so exhausted and saying, okay, I know that my friend is going to be there and that she's going to be next to me on the mat, sweating it out just as much as I am, so I'm just going to make it happen. And sometimes it's really like kind of pulling the bandaid off. I'm a little bit more positive. Piece of advice would be "celebrate small wins".

Anna:                                         15:37                       So I participated in several different, a 40 day yoga challenges and 40 days is how long it takes to solidify the change of a bad habit or to establish a new one. So for 40 days we would go to yoga six times a week, which was really, really pushing it for me. And every time I said I don't have the time, there's no, I'm going to be able to do this. And in my time that I spent in Houston, I finished six of these challenges.

Candace:                                  16:13                       Wow.

Anna:                                         16:14                       This was at the same time that I was doing. I was in a Master's program. I was a full time school teacher. I'm now granted at this time I didn't have much of a life outside of this, but yoga was really a really filled my cup and a lot of ways. It was physical exercise. It was mental reprieve and also community. A really a really great way to meet people and connect and be experience, authentic connection and vulnerability in a very unique way.

Candace:                                  16:49                       It's really interesting and it's been coming up so many times. I'm in all of the interviews as season, which I think is just a wonderful reminder and that is the importance of a form of community, whether it's the buddy system as you mentioned, or a wider community of people in a classroom or where you live, but that whole concept has been coming up time after time of how that support and that outside accountability or that outside encouragement helps to sustain us when we're in these transitory periods or these challenges of trying to create something or form a better life for ourselves. And I think it's beautiful to see people be able to share these challenges and have someone there in their space physically helping them to, to obtain a new height in their life or just overcoming a challenge.

Anna:                                         17:46                       I think it's so crucial and you think about any, any great thing that you have ever accomplished. It was never by yourself. Whether you have the support of a mentor, the support, um, friends, um, even, you know, even someone that's not necessarily directly contributing to the project itself. Um, you know, I feel like I had, I had friends, especially out here in La people, a lot of people told me before I moved out here, oh, you're going to be really lonely when you first moved there. And it's really hard to find community and to build authentic relationships. And I have found the complete opposite, that there's actually some really beautiful, powerful communities, people that are here to, um, lift me up. And then you see that all our lives, we've been told that to grow, we have to push other people down when in fact everyone grows better when we support each other.

Candace:                                  19:02                       Exactly. Just in the community that you found in La and through yoga, how has, has that changed at all your perception coming from, how should I say this as a, as someone who is artistic in many ways, whether it's from your writing background or as Yoga, has that kind of changed the way you have interacted with other people as you know, being more encouraging towards, um, either people that you work with or even people that you just meet in passing?

Anna:                                         19:42                       Absolutely. I think that when people understand how powerful cocreation is, competition dissolves. Um, I, one of my friends from high school, we hadn't talked in seven years and I met up with her out here right when I moved and she, we were actually on the high school yearbook staff together. So funny to think about the things. She was a photographer. I was the editor, um, and since she's been out here, she's done some really, really amazing photography work, video directing. Um, we just connected and went on a hike and she took some photos and it ended up, um, you know, we got some really, really amazing, amazing pictures. Um, and then this, that kind of led to one thing and another, and this was just a few weeks ago, she, uh, texted me on a Friday night and said, hey, I really have this creative urge, um, I'd love to get together and do a shoot, when are you free? And I was like, how's tomorrow morning? So he came over that morning and we had this concept to, you know, branching off of the me too movement that's happening right now and we have, we've always shared writing and um, you know, she has photographed me several times and I've given her yoga session, so it's been this really beautiful relationship that had been building. But we thought how cool would it be to express something a little bit dark but also feminine and beautiful and powerful in,

Anna:                                         21:37                       you know, without really saying anything. But with some, with some writing, with some poetry, which is my preferred medium. And with Yoga and with music. So she brought this black Kimono. She was like, do you have some other black outfits? Like 10 minutes. I got ready, we went down to my parking garage, um, and shot in one take just five minutes of me doing an intuitive yoga flow to a song and she edited a video. I wrote some words and some stuff over to her. We kind of went back and forth and then see what seems like, just like that we came up with this beautiful, beautiful video at expressed everything that I think both of us were feeling about this, this tension that's happening right now as um like we were saying how women are coming to the forefront, how they're standing in their power and that although this, this kind of dark me too movement is going on. It's an opportunity for the beauty and the growth of women to actually shine. And that was, that to me was the perfect representation of powerful, inspired cocreation. Both of us, you know, using our strengths and producing something really moving and beautiful in the world.

Candace:                                  23:12                       That's amazing. And I'm so glad that you, um, that you told that story because that's definitely something I wanted to ask you about. And for everyone listening, please, please. I'm definitely, of course, um, and I'll have her share it later, but follow Anna on Instagram, first of all, she has so many incredible affirmations and inspirational things, but you'll also be able to see the video that she is referring to and I, I'm glad that you, you mentioned it because when you watch the video it's still moving. It's so, um, we are call emotionally from the music to the movement, the editing. It's just a beautiful work of art and. Yeah, and I was definitely going to ask you how that came about. I think it's wonderful when you see artists come together not only to work as a unit and as a team, but to be able to create things kind of on the fly to be able to, like you said, Hey, lets shoot tomorrow you have this idea. There's always kind of this concept that a great work of art has to be this long labor that takes years or hours and days. And obviously sometimes that is the case. Um, a certain work might need that kind of time to kind of sit for awhile. But it's great to know that whatever is falling on your mind at that time, if you act on it, you know, something incredible can come from that moment.

Anna:                                         24:41                       Yeah, absolutely. That's, that's been my experience that a lot of, of course it takes the practice and the consistency, right? The continuing you just right. And you know, this like sit down and write out a little bit every single day.

Candace:                                  24:58                       Exactly

Anna:                                         24:59                       Something that's really been a supporting me in my growth as a writer, which, like you said, has it, has developed into creating mantras, creating affirmations. And I'm exploring yoga philosophy and personal development. Um, but also really the power of words. Um, and one way that I have done this is through Julia Cameron. She wrote the artist's way. She has this little technique called morning pages, which in the morning, the first thing that you do before anything else is just sit and write three pages, three full pages, just stream of consciousness. So that's something that I do. Um, I switch it up. Sometimes I do that before my meditation to kind of get out, you know, get it out of my head. Um, and then sometimes I do after meditation to kind of process some of the things that might have come up, um, and just that consistent practice of every day pen to paper I think has tapped the wellspring of creativity so that now I, sometimes it does just flow out and I just, you know, will write for an hour and something really incredible and inspired. Well just come well, you know, quote unquote just come to me, you know.

Candace:                                  26:29                       Yeah. That's awesome. How, um, how would you say that you have evolved as a writer over the past and you can choose the timeline, maybe a few or a year. Um, how has your perspective on it, and obviously your practice, as you just mentioned with writing in the morning, how has that evolved since you first started writing?

Anna:                                         26:56                       So when I was still a school teacher, I took a couple of different writing courses which were amazing. And to me, it's always valuable to put time and effort into this not only the study, but also the community, like, like we've been saying, um, it's just invaluable to have someone give you feedback on your work to read it aloud, to hear other people's work and be inspired by their stories. Um, so that's, that's something that's kind of ebbed and flowed. My writing community, um, as a writer, I've definitely strayed away from poetry and I think grown a lot in the poetry that I do still write. Um, I love to write creative nonfiction and just really dive into what does it look like to explore truth but from a particular perspective or lens. Um, I've also studied a, um, a lot since then conscious language and, and kind of exploring, um, writing, speaking and thinking and how our thoughts and our words shape our reality. Um, so if we, you know, declare I'm no good at writing or if we declare I'm, you know, as a yoga teacher, I get this a lot. "I'm not flexible" or you know, "I'm not good at x" that anything that comes after I am creates,

Anna:                                         28:50                       um, let's just one simple tool of conscious language and using, I think now I, you really use language as a tool to create my life, whether it's setting goals, whether it's processing emotions or whether it's creating affirmations or mantras. It's taken on kind of a whole new, a whole new perspective for me I suppose. Um, and now I'm kind of delving into what it looks like to create, intentional journaling prompts that prompt self inquiry and I'm processing of emotion. So kind of like how you process emotions physically with your body on the mat. Journaling is something that I have used as a tool to work through some really, really tough stuff and quite literally rewrite beliefs, rewrite stories of what happened. And I'm working on a book of those prompts that should be ready in the next few months.

Candace:                                  30:09                       First of all, I'll be first in line, writing in the book. But I love that idea because I know even personally like I started, I remember getting my first journal. I had saved up my money for it and I just scribbled across it, but it was really the beginning of what's continued to be like a very therapeutic process for me and I've noticed at certain times in my adult life where things have gotten hectic and there's moments where I, I back away and I'll open up the journal and it's been like a month or two, but that constant process of kind of writing my thoughts or my hopes or my fears or whatever has been very helpful.

Candace:                                  30:51                       But the practice that I've never tried before was writing with prompts and I think that is even thinking of it now. I can. I can already imagine just how beneficial that is to, to have your mind in a space where you're thinking about things that you haven't. Or even if it's challenging, forcing you to kind of work through things in a way where you can kind of clear that out on the page and see it and have more clarity. So I think it's fantastic that, um, that you're working on that project because it's definitely something I encourage everyone to do. Even if it's just a line or two or it feels weird to start journaling in some sense.

Anna:                                         31:30                       I love that you said that because I have a lot of friends that are verbal processors, but it's also nice to have a record of, of what you're processing.

Anna:                                         31:41                       So voice memos are amazing for that. Yes, we can go back and listen to it. Um, you can also do speech to text if you want to have some kind of written account of that and it's just a cool, a cool other way to try different modes. You know, does writing in a physical journal work? Does typing work best for you and it's just about um, whatever. Whatever works best for you.

Candace:                                  32:09                       Yeah. And it's, it's so weird for me. Even now, like almost all of the work that I do, everything is kind of on the computer for the most part. Like it's very um, digital and very convenient. But I always find myself when I'm writing, whether it's for myself or even if I have an idea for something coming back to the pen and paper and it might seem so weird. Like I feel like most people I see them and they're always typing on their laptops, but it's kind of that thing that keeps me sort of grounded where I can come and actually see my own handwriting and see how I was reacting in that space.

Candace:                                  32:44                       You almost get a sense of your emotions or your urgency or your reflectiveness in that moment when you can see your, your handwriting. So, so absolutely everybody has their, has their thing, like you said, whether it's hearing their voice and just finding what fits you and taking the time to do that is most important.

Anna:                                         33:04                       I could not agree more.

Candace:                                  33:07                       Now I know I definitely wanted to ask you that. From as a person who understands creativity from a lot of different places, how would you recommend that meditation can be an asset to those who are creatives, regardless of what level they're are at beginner professional? Um, how could they benefit from meditative practices?

Anna:                                         33:37                       So glad that you asked this question because this has. This has been a whole new world that's opened up for me. I lead meditations at a couple of different music management companies and for musicians and a lot of what we've seen in the music industry and especially for artists of all kinds, is that art is suffering, right?

Anna:                                         34:09                       That it's painful to make art and thats what makes it so beautiful and I personally believe that artists, musicians, whatever kind of creative that you are, um, that you should not have to, your health shouldn't have to suffer and that really artists do not have to die for their work. And that's what, that's something that we've seen,

Candace:                                  34:34                       Yes

Anna:                                         34:34                       You know, even this year. Um, and it's so sad to me and I think that meditation is one of these solutions. That by stepping into a peaceful place, really by reconciling what's actually going on in your mind, um, and being able to observe it from a, an objective perspective and allow you to travel to these dark places that maybe is some of the fruit of your creativity. And take yourself out of those places, recognize that that was a particular time and place that that's not happening right now. And that actually your body is fine. Your mind is healthy and you don't have to stay there or wallow in that or feed those thoughts to create art from those places.

Candace:                                  35:45                       I am so happy that you mentioned that and that you brought this up because it's something that I've definitely been kind of sitting on myself and then I wanted to talk about, um, and I've seen a few people mentioning it as well, like on blogs and in different platforms that it's so important to recognize that you don't, like you said, have to suffer. I have to keep reliving certain traumas or just in general be unhappy to create, um, something that's worthwhile or something that's affecting to other people. Um, so I'm absolutely, I cosign everything that you said because it's something we have to remind ourselves of because beautiful art can come from, you know, those little moments, but we don't have to stay in those moments for our work to mean something. That's so important to remember.

Anna:                                         36:43                       I love, I love the way that you said that you don't have to, you don't have to stay there. Right. And meditation is, I see it as, not only a way to tap into those places, but also a way to come out, um, and to realize that really we, the one thing, you know, we try to control so many things in life, but the ones we actually can control our thoughts.

Candace:                                  37:10                       Mm Hmm absolutely.

Anna:                                         37:12                       The one thing you have power over or, and really ourselves in short,

Candace:                                  37:18                       What I know you mentioned of course the, um, the journal about what other projects do you have in place coming up, um, or what kind of goals are you kind of setting in front of yourself that you would like to do? One day?

Anna:                                         37:37                       My, the next main projects that I'm working on is this book that I mentioned. Um, that's really come from deep, deep inner work that I've done using writing as a pathway to rewrite my story. So definitely be on the lookout for that. That's kind of my next big goal. Um, I have a goal to go on tour with a musician or a band to help keep them, uh, well, mentally healthy, um, throughout the tour because it's such just with my friends that are in production working these really long hours having to perform and then not to mention, um, you know, all these other negative influences, traveling all the time, nutrition, I'm not, not getting time for yourself or movement or quiet, so that's kind of the next big goal. Um, and I'm really excited that I'm working on a project right now with Livenation to, um, launch a mindfulness program in all of their offices.

Anna:                                         39:02                       So really spreading mindfulness and meditation, these practices wherever I can is my biggest goal. Um, and the beautiful thing about that project is that they are matching every single one that we launch. Um, and this'll be in the next couple of months as well with a program in a school. So for every new office that gets a meditation program, a local school will get one as well.

Candace:                                  39:35                       That's awesome.

Anna:                                         39:37                       It's really amazing and I'm just so happy to be able to continue to give back, uh, to the education system and support it with these powerful stress coping skills, positive stress, coping skills and tools.

Candace:                                  39:56                       Absolutely. And I just want to say that I'm so, I'm so happy for you and I'm so inspired by the way you were able to take a lot of these things that you are passionate about and that are important to you and your own personal journey to work through experiences that you've had and to be able to kind of encapsulate that into a life that works for you. And we're, all of those things can come together because so often everyone tells us, you know, we can't have it all or that a lot of things that are interesting to us don't intersect at all. But there's so many ways in life, whether it's through our work or something that we're doing personally, where we can find a place for all of those different parts of us to coexist in a healthy way. And I think it's fantastic that you've been able to do that.

Anna:                                         40:47                       Thank you so much. Candace, and if there's any, you know, one thing that I could say about this journey that I've been on, it's that if you can dream it, not only can it happen, but that's exactly what is supposed to happen, um, that when you put something out there, when you put that pure, pure desire and intention behind something and that you're not attached to how the outcome will look, that that's what gives you the fertile soil for these incredible opportunities that, I mean, I could have never even really dreamed these up to flourish and to come true.

Candace:                                  41:38                       Absolutely. Absolutely. That is. Yes, that just makes me smile.

Anna:                                         41:46                       It's so good.

Candace:                                  41:50                       So I always, I'm like to close all of our interviews with our guests with, I like to call it our mate rocky picks, so it's like three different questions. Um, and whatever kind of comes to your mind. They're really fun. Um, yeah, whatever's on your heart, then that'll be your answer.

Anna:                                         42:10                       Oh, I love this. This is great. I'm ready.

Candace:                                  42:13                       First one is, what is a restaurant that you wish just everyone in the world can go to at some point?

Anna:                                         42:21                       Sage, sage, Vegan beast show in la, everything there is amazing. None of it even looks or, or tastes Vegan at all. And every single thing is damn delicious.

Candace:                                  42:37                       Oh my gosh, I want to go there so much and you know, I've been reading so much about like plant based diets and it's actually really starting to get me to that point.

Anna:                                         42:47                       Yess!!

Candace:                                  42:47                       Like I've had so many different dishes. It's just like, it's amazing. I feel like once you start adopting that practice, you're not even going to miss all of the horrible meat that we consume all the time

Anna:                                         43:01                       And it's such a cool form of creativity to see what vegan chefs can come up with these days that eats like meat and tastes like meat, but you don't have to actually kill any animal or um, it's not like a factory farmed animal. It's just really, it's really cool.

Candace:                                  43:24                       It's awesome. That is awesome. I will definitely, when ever I could tell you, I will definitely have to stop by there.

Anna:                                         43:32                       Yes!

Candace:                                  43:32                       Okay. Number two is what is a song? And if it's not one song, what is maybe an artist that you can't stop listening to you right now?

Anna:                                         43:44                       This is so hard for me because music is such a big part of my life. Yes. Oh my gosh. Uh, I would say

Anna:                                         44:01                       this song "Aura" by SG Louis. So St Louis is kind of like a Funky r and b hip hop meets electronic kind of.

Candace:                                  44:16                       This sounds amazing.

Anna:                                         44:18                       Aura is, it's such a jam. And I'll let you in on a little secret. I had my first a lesson as a Dj the other day. I am so, so excited because music is something I'm so passionate about and I haven't found my way to tap into it. Um, and Djing might just be it. That sounds incredible. I know I feel the same way because music, like I can't imagine doing anything without music, but it's like a, I don't play a lot of instruments and I used to dance but not really. So yeah, finding constantly trying to find that way to incorporating your life is, is challenging. I think deejaying is like such an amazing skill. Um, so that's super cool. It's definitely way harder than it looks.

Candace:                                  45:18                       Okay. So the music is always a hard one, but I feel this one might, it might be the hardest one. Um, but you can tell me. So the last question is always what quote or piece of advice do you come back to you when you need a little pick me up. What kind of do you live by?

Anna:                                         45:46                       Maya Angelou. A nothing can dim the light that shines from within.

Candace:                                  45:53                       That's, I love that so much.

Anna:                                         45:56                       It's really become a mantra for me, um, to, to radiate from within. And that just reminding you that your locus of control is inside and no matter what's happened in your life and your past, no matter what is going on around you, that you always have the power to shine, to be a light to other people.

Candace:                                  46:24                       That is fantastic. Where, where can we find you? So if we want to like follow you or if anyone's in La and they want to happy stalk you and take one of your sessions, Where can we find you?

Anna:                                         46:38                       I love it. So, um, instagram is the best way. My handle is at Yog: y-o-g underscore Anna, a-n-n-a, you can also check out my website which is yoga, Anna La.com. And if you're in La, I teach literally all over the city, Santa Monica, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Beverly Hills, um, summer asa centers, one of the studios. Um, and I also teach at another studio called Madre. Um, and yeah, really the best way in general is instagram. So I would love to have your support. Um, I'd love to hear any feedback or any, you know, if anything that anybody struggling with in terms of getting into yoga or meditation, a regular routine or if you're stuck in your creative process. That's what I am here for.

Candace:                                  47:46                       Anna it has been just a joy and a pleasure to have you here today. I wish we were here for like eight hours and so much more we could talk about.

Anna:                                         47:58                       Thank you so much. Candace. Um, it's really special to be able to reconnect and in such an inspiring way and I see what you're putting out into the world and just sifting through that, you know, it seems like yesterday that we were sitting in class together writing poetry and just to see the difference we have set our lives have taken and to know that writing and creation has still played such a big role is such a beautiful thing to me.

Narrator:                                 48:39                       You've been listening to Meraki mentors podcast with Candace Howze. We're honored you chose to spend your time with us today. To learn more about today's guest or the podcast visit Merakimentorspodcast.com.