This week we’re inspired by yoga instructor and #AerieREAL girl, Dana Falsetti from Nola Trees Yoga! Read on to learn more about how yoga helped her discover self-love and what #AerieREAL means to her.
We love that your passion for yoga has taught you self-love and given you the strength to believe in yourself now more than ever! What are some of your other interests or hobbies?
I’ve only been practicing yoga for about a year and half, and in that time my reality has shifted so much. Before yoga existed in my life, everything was about music. I’ve been singing since I could speak. There were times that I felt music was the only thing that understood me. You know when you listen to a song and it just sounds exactly like how you feel? I pretty much always felt like that. And on the flip side, singing and making music with my friends did and still does bring me more happiness than almost anything else. Just like my personal yoga practice, music is a way for me to express myself and to better understand myself. I also love to travel, especially road trips, and I even love to do them alone. 20+ hour drives with nothing but me, beautiful sunsets, and my favorite music. I always loved spending time alone more than most people. I find it comforting.
Aside from the physical changes, what other benefits did you experience from yoga?
The physical changes were pretty unexpected, so were all the others. When I started practicing I never dreamed my practice would look like it does now. Yes I’ve gotten strong and more flexible in my body, but the most dramatic changes are the unseen. Yoga showed me how to believe in myself after years of feeling like nothing. Growing up as the fat kid isn’t easy. I felt unworthy. I didn’t understand why I had to be different when all I wanted was to fit in. I came to my yoga practice after years of binge eating, and after a year of focusing on my health. At the time I had lost a significant amount of weight, but absolutely nothing changed. My body changed, but I brought myself with me to my “new body.” I still felt unworthy, I still felt limited, I still felt stuck. When I started practicing yoga I thought my body would limit my practice. But when you show up everyday and put in the work, things change. This is where the magic happens. I started getting poses I convinced myself I could never do. When those moments happen, it’s a huge paradigm shift. I started wondering what else I was telling myself I couldn’t do that I could have been doing all along. I started realizing that limitations are in the mind. Slowly over the last year and a half I have learned to love myself, to believe in myself and my worth, and to work for the things I want and deserve. Yoga does not look like a handstand or a backbend, it looks like love. Self-love first, and then it starts showing up all around you. But you have to show up for it, too.
What advice would you give someone who is interested, but never tried yoga before?
Just go. You have to just go. I know how intimidating and scary walking into your first yoga class can be. I couldn’t hold a down dog when I started. I felt like (and was) the fat newb in class. We all have insecurities and you’ll bring them with you into the room. But honestly, that’s kind of the point. Most of us come to yoga from a place of darkness when we are looking for healing. At the end of the day, you show up on your mat for you. You have to decide you’re worth it despite anything else. I promise if you can dedicate yourself to the practice, or to anything really, you’ll get exactly what you didn’t know you need.
What is your favorite yoga pose?
This answer changes all the time, but right now it’s probably Pincha Mayurasana, also known as Forearm Balance. This is a tough posture, one I never dreamed I would be able to do, and I put in a lot of work to find a place of ease in it. When I’m balanced upside down I kind of feel like I’m flying or defying gravity. It’s pretty amazing what we are capable of.
Get Dana’s Look: Long Sleeve Bodysuit
You offer trainings and workshops ALL over the United States! Where can our Aerie girls go to find more information?
Yes! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world most days. All of my workshops are on my website, nolatreesyoga.com. I also occasionally host retreats and team up with other teachers on trainings, so look out for those. I’m about to launch some online content as well, so we can practice together even if we never get to meet 🙂 I’m also on Facebook as Dana Falsetti, and Instagram as @nolatrees.
What does being #AerieREAL mean to you?
I’m all about knowing your worth, so to me, that’s being #AerieREAL. My worth isn’t defined by my body, my stretch marks, or my yoga practice. And honestly, knowing your worth brings immense freedom. Mostly freedom from your own mind, but it will permeate throughout your entire life.