We had the good fortune of connecting with Valinda Cochella MA, E-RYT and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valinda, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I never really understood I was an artist, a creative, until I started working full time out of University. I was craving the artistic life and missing my days as a dance minor at University after moving across the country and working for about a year. I decided to get my Masters Degree in Dance-Movement Therapy at UCLA and dove head first into the 2 year program and LOVED every minute of it. I got to dance again, and create, and perform. I also got to help people and study Psychology, which fascinated me! I started working as a Dance-Movement Therapist at group homes in Santa Barbara, CA after graduate school. I worked all day as a Dance-Movement Therapist, counseled troubled teens, worked at a run-away shelter and waitressed at night to make ends meet. I don’t think I ever ‘consciously chose’ an artistic/creative career. It chose ME! When I found Yoga & Meditation in 1994, while I was working in Santa Barbara as a Dance-Movement Therapist, I fell in love with a new form of Art! I started my Yoga business in 2000, and never looked back! I’ve always just followed my heart and have done what makes me happy. I feel blessed and grateful I get to do what I love every single day.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create Yoga & Meditation packages online and teach 1:1 on video online. I have been teaching more and more classes online for the past 3 months now. I deeply care about my clients, and love teaching LIVE classes (which I haven’t done in 3 months due to Covid19). I had no idea when I started my Yoga business in 2000 that I would have to become an expert in marketing, social media and being on camera. I just knew I loved helping people, and yoga and meditation classes seemed to be the ultimate in dance-movement therapy. In one class people would move, breathe, chant, meditate and have a completely transformative experience. In just ONE hour! I LOVE that! I love being a catalyst for that. Marketing was never easy for me, putting myself out there, traveling and ‘selling’ myself was very difficult for me. Mostly I let my students speak for me! I use video testimonials and written testimonials so my students can share their experiences of my classes. This has really helped me….letting them speak for me. I just want to share my gifts, my practice and help people. I know that I am a deeply sincere practitioner. For 26 years now I have been practicing movement therapy, yoga & meditation daily. I have a deep respect for the practice and know how it has changed me and helped me heal so deeply through my own story and trauma. My hope is that my journey and what I share, will help people process their life and trauma as well. To feel more calm in their bodies. To have self-acceptance. To love themselves exactly as they are. I truly want to help and I believe as we heal ourselves, we heal the ones around us, and it has a ripple effect into the world. This Chinese proverb sums it up nicely: If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. ~Chinese Proverb Yoga & Meditation give light to the soul.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
We begin the day in Redondo Beach, CA! We would do a yoga & meditation practice at the beach near the Riviera Village, then walk over to The Green Temple, my favorite vegetarian restaurant. Then go shopping at my favorite stores M’pressions & Frou Frou to get some spa/lounge wear. We would walk around the Riviera Village and have delicious coffee at the Yellow Vase. We would take a drive up Palos Verdes Boulevard take our time on the winding roads up the cliff along the ocean up to Terranea Resort where we have a reservation. We would spend the week at the resort going to the Spa, lying and reading by the pool, and taking long quiet walks around the property, doing our daily Yoga and Meditation practice. I would come home ready to teach again refreshed and renewed!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank Brenda Mercado in Santa Barbara, CA for suggesting I look into Dance-Movement Therapy as a career and telling me about the M.A. program at UCLA and Shira Musicant for being my Mentor in the Dance-Movement Therapy program and introducing me to Yoga in 1994 in Santa Barbara, CA. These 2 amazing artistic women had a profound effect on my life and career choices and belief in myself….that I could even get into UCLA Master’s program was a miracle to me!
Other: Valinda Cochella MA, E-RYT, owner of SouthBayYoginis.com, can be hired for local or online events. She is based in the South Bay of Los Angeles and teaches Yoga & Meditation (Kundalini Yoga & Meditation, Dance-Movement Therapy) full time. She has been practicing, teaching, and studying Yoga & Meditation for over half her life now and excited to share tools and techniques to calm your body, mind & spirit with you today!