Getting to Know Ellex Medina!
I am so thrilled that Ellex Medina, Registered Yoga Teacher and Professional Musician, has joined our Yoga Sol staff! Ellex now teaches Hatha Flow Mixed Level Thursday 4:30pm, Vinyasa Flow Intermediate Thursday 6pm, and select summer guest slots. She is also one of Yoga Sol’s featured Live Musicians – in July, 7/12 accompanying Christine’s 9am Hatha Flow and 7/26 accompanying Carrie’s Vinyasa Flow Intermediate.
A little Q & A to get to know her…
Rozanne: I absolutely love the vibrancy and grace of your classes! I can see the influences of your training with Rachel Silverman, your yoga instructor mom and sister and your musical background. Can you tell us a little more how they shaped your very own distinctive style?
Ellex: Well in the past year, I have really tried to allow myself room to sink into my own skin as a twenty something year old woman. This freedom in exploring my ins and outs has really allowed me the space to naturally develop my own distinctive style as a yoga instructor without judgement. I was greatly encouraged by my tribe, Rachel Silverman included, to never stop learning, always be a student, and be aware. In other words, I have a great tribe who supports my journey. Rachel Silverman inspires me to never hold back and give 120% every time one comes to the mat. I have a very similar energy and spunkiness in teaching-wanting to make my classes fun and challenging but still accessible to every individual and their practice. My mother and sister, both certified yoga instructors, encourage me to show kindness, smile, and move with grace. I want my students to feel cared and encouraged for. So knowing one’s name (and pronouncing it correctly), is a way for me to show this care and personalized attention. As for my musical background, being a classically trained vocalist and first violinist, required me to always be using my hands and expressing myself through the body and voice very clearly. It is the norm to see my hands floating and assisting my every cue while my words ring out in what some people think is an accent.
Rozanne: I know you have a varied fitness background, but you now have a home with Yoga. What do share with those new to yoga when they ask about the differences?
Ellex: In college I really struggled with this idea to constantly “work out.” I would walk to the gym, get on an elliptical (or something else I truly did not enjoy), and forced myself to pump away for a set amount of time. I figured, since I saw other females my age doing it, that it was the norm to participate in such activity. But I never felt good about myself outwardly nor inwardly, no matter how many squats I did. When I started yoga though, I noticed how it didn’t seem like “working out”. But after each and every class I felt light on my feet and calm in my spirit. I felt different. My perception began changing to this idea of “movement” and how I could incorporate into my every day life. I started focusing on how I felt inwardly first, and then outwardly. “Movement” can take on many different shapes like yoga, running, or yes, even lifting weights. But I no longer think of “working out,” even if I were to go to a gym. I think of moving my body. I explain to others that yoga, to me, is the uniting of movement with breath. It is an opportunity for us to go inward while moving outward in a safe place. I just absolutely love it and I think that comes across to whoever asks me what yoga is like. But usually, my first response is, “You just have to try it.”
Ellex: When I first started seriously practicing about two and a half years ago, I would attend Rachel Silverman’s classes every single day. If I had the time in my schedule, I would take back to back classes. Each and every time I walked in to the studio, she would talk with me and ask me how I was doing that day. During class, she would encourage me as I would hold a challenging pose and I feared failure. She would walk me through something unfamiliar and new. She would give me a smile and laugh with me when my balance would be off for that day. She would do all of this and more by calling me by name (and correctly pronouncing it). Her attention, encouragement, teaching, and now friendship, has made me the student and teacher I am today. If I can create a bond and nurture a student’s practice and self love in just a fraction of the way Rachel has facilitated within me over the years, then truly I will have succeeded as a yoga instructor. Every one should have that opportunity to be loved and supported.
Rozanne: Your musical talent and sensibility clearly influences your yoga? Tell us a little about that (and tell us about your August gig).
Ellex: When I was in first grade I begged my parents to get their hands on a violin for me. My other friends had started to learn, so of course, I wanted to as well. So for Christmas that same year, my parents surprised me with my very own violin. That started the trend for loving music and dabbling in cello, piano, and guitar. Singing always came naturally to me-but it was harmonization that set me apart. I didn’t even know what harmony was let alone that others could not sing it until I got to the 7th grade and I tried out for the advanced choir. I quickly realized what I was hearing in my head and singing out loud, was in fact called “harmony”-a specialty I pride myself in, now knowing its rarity. In actuality, I always knew I wanted to be a musician. I just never knew in what capacity I wanted to achieve this. It was not until I went to college that I decided to study voice classically, forgo violin for a while, and pick up guitar. Songwriting took me by surprise, even though I had always been an A+ student in creative writing and the like. To be honest, it was after a bad break up that I picked up a pen and let the floodgates of creative and emotional juices flow. I knew I had the ability within me to write music, and do it well. But I guess I just needed a little heart break to let it out. Since then, I have toured as a back up vocalist and opener in venues and festivals like House of Blues, The Constellation Room, South by Southwest in Austin, and more. I used to live and study songwriting under the direction of Rick Elias (songwriter for the motion picture That Thing You Do) in Nashville. But I wanted to be closer to my tribe, so moved to Boston, and then back to my roots in Anaheim not just four months ago. In August I will be touring up the coast to Seattle with a friend, fellow yogini, and musician, Karina Toriz. We will be performing a split set with only one other person joining us-my best friend (who will be my backup everything). It is proving to be a lot of work but will be so worth it when it’s all set and put together! Currently we are raising funds through donation classes (taught by yours truly) and a soon to be “benefit” show for gas, food, and lodging. Our goal is to pay nothing out of pocket so we can have the freedom to just do what we’re best at-make music. I am really excited to be moving forward in music career as well as my yoga career. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed by my tribe’s support to continuing chasing my dreams.