We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Elizabeth Helt and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sarah Elizabeth, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
For me there wasn’t any other option other than creative endeavors. I have always been a very conscious observer of human behavior & body language. As a child I would color and draw and dance and sing all the time. While my parents were generally supportive of my creative energy, there were many times when I was told to be quiet or to be still. When you become an adult, guess what? You get to be and do and express yourself however you want! I have been obsessed with the body as an instrument since my youth as a performing arts participant. Instruments inspire movement, transformation, stability, change; learning how to refine movements in the gross body effect the way we feel about ourselves on the inside. I think I became a creative because we each need a method tuning our instruments. There are different apparatuses for individual instruments, and it’s the same for people. Sometimes you need an internal revolution of sorts. If we can recognize that we are not separate from the mind or the body, that, in fact, the body is the mind and visa versa we can stop repressing and suppressing integral feelings that support our personal and global transformation.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a teacher of the art of mindful movement and meditation.

I help others develop a love and understanding of their body through the vehicle of movement. As we turn the body, we turn the mind. Sometimes I call this yoga, because everything is a form of ‘yoga’ to me. Sometimes I call it tension release technique, sometimes I call it mindfulness or mindfulness-based self-compassion, or Nidra. I think my students would describe it as a form of therapy, but I am not a clinician. I work from an educated and intuitive place.

I got to where I am today because of my unyielding passion for self-discovery. I am constantly surprised and amused by the trouble we get into as human beings on a mental and emotional level. Endlessly fascinated by the body’s ability to gain, adapt, loose, relearn. My intention is always to reduce suffering, and increase honest, compassionate, self-exploration.

Early into my yoga career I was introduced to a team of athletes with disabilities that encouraged me to adapt and augment the poses I knew to fit their unique needs and bodies. This lead me into a whole new world of possibilities relating to movement, yoga, and pain-reduction. I began teaching integrated classes for all levels and abilities for with a number of organizations that supported trauma-informed gentler movement practices for all bodies. Places like the Triumph Organization, BackbonesOnline, Dare2Tri, Semper Fi fund, etc. I met my mentor Jivana Heyman, co-founder of Accessible Yoga in 2015, I was soon invited to lead their program across the US! This traveling and teaching opportunity was literally my life’s goal at that time! Enter 2020- and how the world has changed!

Over the course of this past year, I have created my own website of online classes and trainings called Grounded Source Yoga. My teaching philosophy borrows significantly from Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Tao, as well as, the Yoga Sutras. I think that this is what really sets me a part from other teachers, not only do I have a background in the more fitness-oriented aesthetic-forms of yoga, but I have experiences with a broad array of student bodies, pains, and movement challenges and I love philosophy!

This is where Yoga teaching becomes an art. Merging western models of anatomy and biomechanics with the poetry inherit in ancient Buddhist, Hindu, and Chinese studies into something digestible and relatable and functional to a modern-day student is an art.

I am merging my love of movement and nature in this new website Grounded Source Yoga and the coming offerings. I hold seasonal self-massage and accessible anatomy trainings. I have a set of weekly classes on zoom, as well as a monthly Women’s Writing Collective each month that is so fun and brings me tons of joy. I take on private clients in the Pasadena area online and in-person. The Accessible Yoga Training School has expanded and gone online, I love their weekly podcast and the way they’ve grown so organically and quickly through the pandemic. It is a wonderful resource for teachers of all levels, and a really safe place to explore best practices in yoga. If you want to understand more about why being a yoga teacher is both innately political and an art than their work is for you.

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 think the most exciting places in LA are the natural places, but sometimes I get friends who are only in town for a day or two and I give them this one full day mural & food tour of the city.

We would start at the mountains and drive towards Silver Lake, catch a few good murals on Hyperion, get a delicious coffee & pastry at Cafecito Organico (tucked away on Hoover).

Then travel via Pico Blvd towards Venice, there are tons of fabulous murals on the way to Venice and then in Venice we have lunch on the beach or overlooking the beach. Take a long walk after our meal on the beach, and then head back via Culver City, take the 10 towards the Arts District for mural observations that end in a bar crawl of the Arts district and dinner in little Tokyo!

Its a lot of driving but it gives you a taste of all the sub cultures of Los Angeles in one go! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been teaching for about a decade, so there is an extended list of people I have learned from, have deep gratitude for, and continue to

1. The Accessible Yoga Organization, mentor and founder Jivana Heyman
2. Joan Hymen Yoga – Mentor and Teacher
3. Book: Waking by Matthew Sanford

Website: GroundedSourceYoga.com

Instagram: Sarahehelt

Facebook: @saraheheltyoga

Image Credits
Beach and Studio shots by Alexander Feliciano

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.