Shiela Advincula's path to becoming a seasoned yogi started with a Sufi master in a San Diego artists commune. She fell in love with yoga and all it has to offer, welcoming wellness and gratitude into her life and practice, and today, she regularly posts about her journey on Instagram. Shiela's kindness inspires all of us at Alo constantly, as does her endless positivity (she captions every Instagram post with words of wisdom, and we drink them up like coffee). To find out more about her story, we caught up with the yogi to talk about where her practice began, what she's learned from her experiences on the mat and how she perseveres when the going gets tough.
How did you first get into yoga?
I first got into yoga back in 1991. My husband and I were living in a commune called The Loft in downtown San Diego on 6th and Broadway. It was the crossroad of technology and spirituality coming together with a mix of eclectic artists—musicians, DJs, computer programmers, graphic designers, ravers and yogis—guided by Sufi master Murshid Isa Kadre. They offered Sufi chanting and dancing, Kundalini Yoga and a form of Tantric Yoga meditation called Rudra, as taught by swami Rudrananda (Rudi). A must-read is Spiritual Cannibilism. Kundalini Yoga was the first style of yoga that I practiced. And then Ashtanga.
How has your yoga practice impacted your day-to-day life?
My yoga practice has taught me to be grateful for everything in my life, to always be positive and see the good in every bad or unfortunate situation. It has helped me cope well with anything stressful that happens and showed me to live mindfully and be cohesive with life.
What advice would you give to people who may be interested in yoga but feel intimidated by it?
You can start practicing at any point in your life and benefit from it. I will be 47 years old this year, and I feel great! My advice is to always keep an open mind and remember that everyone starts as a beginner at some point in their lives. When practicing yoga, be patient with yourself, and go at your own pace. It takes practice getting to practice. Be consistent, and in time you will settle into a rhythm and see growth.
What intention are you setting right now?
I intend to see, own and grow into who I really am to the fullest. To live every waking minute of every day conscious, awake and aware and in the present moment, while manifesting happiness, love, creativity, abundance and calmness.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your yoga practice and how did you overcome it?
I tend to get discouraged and critical of myself when I hit plateaus and am not progressing as much in certain postures. So, I learned to encourage myself with positive thoughts and be more focused in working on my yoga progression goals. I have learned to go with the flow with the highs and lows of my practice.
What do you hope to accomplish next in your practice?
I would like to continue to nurture and grow my practice to the point that I am more comfortable, and exude confidence in my abilities and knowledge when I share my love for yoga with everyone.
Inspired by Shiela's journey? Keep up with her on Instagram!