The practice of wellness is so vital to each of us here at The Moment, and we’re determined to share our wellness journeys with you. It’s a cause very near and dear to our hearts, as it brings a fullness to our lives, and allows us to welcome change and growth. However, the path to total wellness isn’t always as simple as the internet portrays it to be. We’ve found that the keys to wellness success are finding the right places, like the MNDFL meditation studio in Brooklyn, the right food, like Renew Juicery’s superfood-packed pantry line, and most importantly, the right people to guide our path.
Luckily, one of these incredible wellness advocates works right here, at The Moment! Amanda Chase founded her company, Coconut Yoga, to inspire wellbeing in young people from an early age through yoga. Her mission: to bring “the calming, balancing and relaxing essence of being by the sea to children in her yoga studio.” In between emails and conference calls, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Amanda on our meditation pillows to learn about her personal wellness journey, how she began Coconut Yoga, and her best practices for cultivating a greater sense of wellbeing for all ages.
The Moment: Hi, Amanda! Can you talk a little bit about what Coconut Yoga is and where the idea for this collective came from?
Amanda: Coconut Yoga is a children’s yoga company that offers playful, nurturing, and creative private and group yoga classes in NYC. Classes are filled with imaginative yoga adventures, animated poses, mindful breathing techniques, and creative activities to keep young minds, bodies, and hearts centered.
The Moment: How did you decide upon the name, Coconut Yoga?
Amanda: The name came to me on a summer evening in Norway, watching the sunset at 10pm. I kept asking myself what does my kids yoga company stand for and what word or brand name could embody that message? Coconut came to me because, when I think of coconuts, I am instantly transported to the sea, and at the end of the day, I want kids to know that at any moment of their day, they can feel like they’re standing at the edge of the ocean with the weight of the world off their shoulders.
The Moment: What about the ocean inspires you?
Amanda: When the body is surrounded by sun, sand, and salt water, the body begins to naturally ease a lot of anxiety. Staring out at the massive ocean, realizing that you’re standing on a planet that is spinning in space, you can’t help but feel the stress of everyday life slide off your skin like sunscreen on a hot day. Taking in moments like this, moments that are bigger than you, help you express gratitude, feel more grounded, calm, and help you breathe a bit deeper. For me, I get the same feeling being by the sea as I have when I am on my yoga mat.
The Moment: When did you get into Yoga and when did you realize Yoga was an essential part of your wellness ritual?
Amanda: I was first introduced to yoga in a college course ten years ago. The course taught me everything from philosophy to asana, and it was then that I started to introduce mindfulness into my lifestyle. And then five years ago, my practice became more intense when I found myself at Golden Bridge Yoga, taking a kundalini class. I was surrendering into pigeon pose and a stream of tears came rolling down my face. This is when I started to understand the importance of yoga on a mental, emotional, and physical level.
The Moment: What other rituals do you practice to keep a balanced mind and healthy body?
Amanda: Every morning, before emails and text messages, I meditate for 20 minutes. Depending on how I am feeling that day, I either start by sitting quietly on my floor, or following a RAMA TV meditation on YouTube. Recently, I have been doing Sobagh Kriya to increase prosperity. Then I journal for 30 minutes, writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. I also take some time to write poems on my typewriter. This helps me stay in the moment and have some fun in the morning before a busy day. I try to exercise as often as possible – running, walking, taking a yoga class, or just dancing in my room. Any movement is good movement! I like to spend as much time as possible with my friends, so I will usually go to coffee or on dinner dates with my friends a couple times a week. The relationships I have with people are the most important things in my life, so I make it a point to reach out to my loved ones as often as possible.
The Moment: Why is it important to you to work with kids?
Amanda: I believe everything happens for a reason. The unpleasant and unhappy experiences I had as a child provided me with the intuition to understand what children need from adults. Why else do we go through things if we can’t learn from them and teach others? I teach kids yoga because I want all children to have the tools to live every day to their highest potential. I teach kids the secrets of living a happy, honest life: how to self-regulate their emotions, meditate, express gratitude, and the power of our breath.
The Moment: Why do you think it’s important to introduce kids to yoga?
Amanda: It’s a common misconception that all kids are running around happy and free. Kids are so young and new to the world that they don’t know how to express their emotions in a genuine way. They act out when they’re misunderstood, they put on a smile, and run away when they are scared. I know this because I used to be like this. This was my childhood, completely incapable of expressing myself.
The Moment: How have your own childhood experiences shaped the way you work with kids today at Coconut Yoga?
Amanda: I remember going to daycare every week day from 7am to 7pm, from 6 weeks old to 13 years old. I remember wanting to be a grown up so that I could make my own decisions. I remember my parents being too busy to talk to me and ask my how I was doing. I remember being quiet and never speaking up and to my busy parents, and to them, that meant everything must have been okay. I wasn’t okay. I remember wishing someone was there for me. I teach kids yoga because I want to be there for kids who maybe need someone to talk to or to be there for them and to give them the tools to help themselves when someone else may not be there to help them.
The Moment: Where are some of your other favorite wellness spots?
Amanda: Maha Rose, MNDFL, Kula Yoga, Modo Yoga, Lighthouse Yoga, Medi Club, Big Quiet, Breathwork by Erin Telford, Golden Bridge, RAMA Institute, Renew Juicery, Lift Floats, Butcher’s Daughter, Natropathica, Credo, Summers Juice, Sweetgreen, and Pressed Juicery.
The Moment: How do you define and practice inner and outer beauty?
Amanda: Inner and outer beauty is practicing compassion, gratitude, and following your intuition.
The Moment: How do you stay in the moment?
Amanda: I stay in the moment by coming back to my breathe.
Special thanks to Amanda Chase!
Photo by Amanda Chase