We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Chua and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michelle, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Manila, Philippines, and my family immigrated to California when I was five. During my first few years in school, I struggled to fit in as a very petite Asian girl, often stereotyped and bullied because of my size, non-American accent and perceived physical weakness and foreignness. This experience impacts my deep value for inclusivity in cultivating a Yoga community through my business, Root 2 Rise Yoga, that appreciates diversity and empowers people of all body types and backgrounds to feel lovingly connected with their bodies and inner power.

Being the oldest of three remaining siblings, I was raised with the responsibility of caring for them most of my free time, since I was very young. I was was eager to design and facilitate learning experiences for them, mimicking my school teachers, whom I admired. I studied to become a schoolteacher and taught in LAUSD for several years before volunteering as a teacher abroad in Ghana and Costa Rica. My passion, training and experiences as a teacher impact my love for learning and cultivating a love for self-knowledge that I aim to instill through the Yoga classes and retreats I guide through Root 2 Rise Yoga.

Thirdly, I was raised with strict values of devotion (formerly with religion, and now non-religiously spiritually), discipline and purposefulness. These values continue to drive how I run my business. Because Root 2 Rise Yoga is about promoting conscious Self-care (physically, mentally-emotionally and spiritually), I do my best to strengthen and be consistent with my own Self-care practices, so that I am sharing the Yoga and Mindfulness teachings from a place of sincerity and lived experience. I believe that the best way to share the practices is through example, and then, of course guiding with loving intention.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As the name “Root 2 Rise Yoga” implies, this business is focused on reconnecting us with our common root, the essence of our being — pure love. And personally, one of the most conducive environments to viscerally experience that is immersed in the natural world. Our Yoga classes, community gatherings and retreats include mindful immersion in nature, where we sense our interbeing, as Mindfulness Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh would call the naturally inseparable nature of our existence together. In the spirit of inclusivity, most of the Yoga classes I offer weekly are donation-based and welcome diverse experience levels and abilities.

Founding Root 2 Rise Yoga came unexpectedly through a series of major life transitions through years of following a deeply heart-rooted calling, facing fears and learning more about myself and how I felt inspired to share what meant most to me in life–connection and well-being. The road was full of challenges and my commitment to living in alignment with my passion helped me overcome them. A lesson I learned and am still learning: Trust yourself. Trust yourself, Trust yourself.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live by Griffith Park and would take them on a variety of hikes there. We’d eat at some of my favorite vegan places, like HOPE in Studio City and Follow Your Heart in Canoga Park. We’d go dancing to wherever Jeremy Sole or the likes may be playing some Afro-Latin beats, preferably somewhere outside watching the sunset.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I honor all my teachers, as they have come in many forms! I appreciate my family and loved ones who have supported me throughout the evolution of Root 2 Rise Yoga and my major life transitions that led to it. I thank all who have supported or are a part of Root 2 Rise Yoga community. Thank you to the teachers and authors of Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation that I have learned from, especially Tara Brach, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Michael Singer and the Great Sage Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras.

Website: www.Root2RiseYoga.org

Instagram: @root2riseyoga

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/root2riseyoga

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/root-2-rise-yoga-la-2

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUu6fbshnT1qPkf3mKxWNQg

Other: TikTok: @Root2RiseYoga

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