// The Wellness Files // a wellness-focused interview series featuring the badass ladies that inspire me.
I connected with yoga teacher Alexa Ibarra during my partnership with YG Studios earlier this fall. She’s legit a pint sized bundle of energy and good vibes. We both live downtown and would walk back home from the studio together chatting about just about everything.
Read on for some amazeball beauty tips (I’m taking notes over here!) and her reasoning for why it’s SO important to be selfish
First of all thank you SO much for including me in your feature! A little about me: My full name is Alexa Rae Ibarra…I know super shocking to those who think my name is Ari. My mom was a huge Billy Joel fan so she named me after his daughter, Alexa Rae… original, mom.
Professionally I teach yoga publically through YG Studios, corporoate private yoga for various companies such as The Cultivist and Knotel, I teach privates, I teach for two travel retreat companies called ‘SurfYogaBeer’ and ‘Soulcation’ where I teach yoga about three times a day in awesome locations such as Oahu or Tulum.
When I am not teaching or doing I am usually modeling for Adidas, Paul Mitchel Hair, Negative Underwear, Nokaoi Clothing and a few swim lines!
What made you decide to take the plunge and become a yoga teacher?
I was living in LA pursuing the music career I had always wanted… or so I thought. They say the west coast makes you soft…I beg to differ. I have never in my life felt such coldness from people — and in such a beautiful place.
Three years later I made a list of why I should stay and why I should go and although I was living many people’s dream, it wasn’t my dream anymore. So I decided to do what MANY of my yoga instructors told me to do…I went through training.
I packed up, gave LA some love and jetted to Hawaii where I lived for two months and became a certified yoga teacher. And NEVER look back.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to “make it” as a yoga teacher?
Don’t give up.
I know this may sound silly, but when you are in the process of teaching somewhere new you are auditioning and it’s a pretty vulnerable feeling. Feel confident in what you do because people can FEEL that.
Another piece of advice, when beginning your journey, don’t say no to any awesome opportunities…paid or not. I have found that companies I helped a while ago for free have now completely taken me on and compensate me (more than I deserve probably!) and it’s because we have to practice what we preach, which is that in this field its not all about money.
You are working with people’s bodies, one of the most sensitive things to discuss, so be patient with the processs. Don’t give up and if you aren’t teaching or practicing…make content! Always stay busy!
Where does your motivation to lead a healthy life come from?
My family is from Medelin, Colombia. Growing up it was always rice and beans for dinner and a lot of grease. I never cared or noticed because I was naturally a small figured girl.
When I turned about 16 and started to eat on my own, people were just starting this whole gluten-free kick, naturally I wanted to follow the trend so…I ate all gluten free.
The point of the story is that I am not gluten-free nor do I eat greasy foods everyday, like I did when I was a kid, BUT I have tried many times to be very healthy and what I have found is the best healthiest lifestyle for me, comes when I am happy. When I am happy I eat what I feel I need and want.
So the motivation stems from my background, but its also taught me to pull the reigns back and enjoy what I put into my body especially because I work out about 50 percent of my day!
What’s your go-to spot for a healthy meal or snack in NYC?
Whole foods without a doubt. I could go to the hot food aisle section and just look around in awe and excitement for the food.
What’s your proudest fitness moment?
So far my proudest fitness moment was being Adidas national yoga girl over the summer which not only included a shoot and feature of me but a huge event! It was very exciting!
What work out, if any, are you currently obsessed with?
Personally right now I am LOVING playing with my bands. I have them from all size (light, medium, heavy) and do various arm and thigh exercises.
I also LOVE my Dharma wheel. If you know me or have seen my instagram you know that I love to bend, none of that insane bending would be possible without my dharma wheel, it really has given me the form I need to control my back muscles. BOTH ARE MUST HAVES!
When you’re tight on time but want a healthy, homemade dinner, what do you make?
This happens everyday….call me a child but I love a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Its light and easy, I can walk with it and its super tasty and filling without putting me into a food coma.
What’s the last great book you read?
I am going to say my favorite book because I reread it all the time and I think everyone should read it. The book is called Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not only is this my favorite band, but the book is absolutely mind blowing and so well written. If you read this, you will not regret it.
What beauty products do you swear by?
This is one of my FAVORITES! So I am going to start with hair.
If you know me, you know I have got a mane for days. This takes major upkeep which if you know me is something I don’t do ahahah.
SO, for my hair upon showering, I put on John Masters hair milk to thicken and soften the hair. Then I put just a pinch of defrizzing serum on the ends of my hair. KEY COMPONENT: coconut oil. I recently just booked a job with Paul Mitchel and the stylists doing my hair were in shock my how long and healthy it was and when I told them my process — they were taking notes! Coconut oil is my go to for everything.
Face: I LOVE John Masters rose water face foaming wash. I ALWAYS carry around rose water mist for my skin in between classes. Rose water helps maintain the skins PH balance and also helps reduce dermatitis, irritated skin and gets rid of acne and eczema.
Body: I keep it simple here, I just use TeaTree Soap by Paul Mitchel and I moisturize often with pure coconut oil.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Best piece of advice I have ever received is Protect your heart first ALWAYS.
Some may call this selfish, but ever since I have used this in my everyday life I feel I have more control and power over what I want to happen, rather then letting it happen. If I am not protecting the one thing that balances my life and determines my happiness, what justice am I doing for myself? What purpose am I really serving if I am not protecting what makes me me….which is a loving, bubbly girl.
I always want my heart to stay full of gratitude and love and will forever protect my heart whether it froms work or relationships…we have to be selfish with certain things and this is definitely one of them.
What’s one piece of advice you would give someone new to fitness + wellness?
Don’t give up, again.
I say this because I can’t tell you how often people come to a yoga class, don’t come for 3 weeks and come back, realizing there was something good there.
I love New Yorkers but they love immediate satisfaction, so with yoga I always feel it’s tough because yoga isn’t like a bootcamp class where you are lifting weights and going full force. Yoga is a practice…a practice of self love, of patience, of self gratitude. It is not just about your physical appearance.
Barre or Yoga? Yoga, duh.
Spin class or run? Not a runner but I would say spin class because I am pretty sure I look silly running.
AM or PM workout? AM, always.
Smoothie or juice? Mmmmm depends but usually a juice.
Group fitness or solo workout? Group! Love a community feel but being a trainer I need to be trained to keep up so I love my solo moments, but there is nothing like being in a class with incredible vibes radiating.
Where I can find you on social media and teaching fitness?