Lindsay Gonzalez ~ Yoga, Surf & Breathwork in El Salvador

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

Welcome to the Native Yoga Toddcast. I’m so excited to introduce to you Lindsay Gonzalez. 

Please check Lindsay out at her website, lindseygonzalezyoga.com. I’m gonna put multiple other links in the description below of places that you can find Lindsay. You can find her on Instagram, the handle @lindsaygonzalezyoga, you can also check out her yoga and surf retreat center in El Salvador Central America called Balance Surf and Yoga on a website called ElSalvadoryoga.com. They also have a website called sunzal.com. And there’ll be a couple of other links in there as well. 

I’m so pleased to have this chance to meet Lindsey and to talk about her life down in El Salvador taking people surfing teaching them yoga, as a birth doula and in leading transformational breathwork workshops and classes. And so with that being said, also, if you all enjoy this show, if at the end, if you can write a quick review and or leave a rating and review. I really, really, really, really appreciate it. Thank you. 

All right. So let me go ahead and let’s get into the discussion. Here we go. I’m so happy to have this chance to speak with you. This is Lindsay Gonzalez and Lindsay, you’re joining us from El Salvador. How are you today?

Lindsay Gonzalez

I’m doing well. Thank you so much for this connection.

TM

I’m really appreciative of my friend Alexandra, who lives down in El Salvador. She recently wrote me and said, “You’ve got to come do a yoga and surf retreat down here in El Salvador.” She sent me your information which led me to be able to get in touch with you. And therefore I’m so appreciative for you to take time out of your busy schedule. Can you tell me how your yoga journey began?

LG

Oh, so it’s actually come full circle in a way. I was a young girl just out of high school and I moved to Costa Rica, and kind of did it on a whim. I thought, I don’t know if I’m gonna go to college right away. But I know I need to go and get better at surfing. And so I bought a one way ticket to Costa Rica, almost over 20 years ago. Wow. And I lived on the beach with these two women that were just a few years older than me. But they were both yoga teachers from California. And they were they’re doing the traveller thing. And they had a little tiny yoga room set up. And we would invite all the local surfers over and they would teach yoga. I had come off of a life of being an athlete. I was really flexible, so they said, “Lindsay, you have to be a yoga teacher. You’re good at this.” That was the first nudge. And it’s interesting that I’m back in Latin America at this point in my life, still doing exactly what they nudged me to do.

TM

Oh, that’s amazing. Yeah, very cool. So then I’m guessing in that 20 year period, you went back to the states and then had been traveling back and forth between US and Central America?

LG

US and all over, really. I went back to the states and I said, Well, I think it’s time, I was 21. I said maybe I should go to college. So I went to college, but I ended up spending all of my time in the yoga studio, just down the road. And you know, being from the East Coast, you may have heard of Charm City Yoga? It was in Baltimore for a long time. And they recently were bought by YogaWorks. But I trained at Charm City 20 years ago with Kim Manfredi. She’s given so much love and respect over the last 20 years. She’s really been a guide in my life. Then I’ve always had this love of surf. So, you know, I was back and forth between Central America and the US and different states that I lived in in the US.

TM

Nice. And how long have you been in El Salvador now?

LG

It’s been about six years. 

TM

Wow. And both you and your husband, is it Adrian? You guys work together and manage the whole center together?

LG

We do it all. Family life and work life.

TM

Nice. Do you have children?

LG

We do. Yes. Yeah, we have two little babies. Our son Luca is three and a half and our daughter, Olivia. She goes by Olivia Paloma. So she kind of has two names. But she’s one and a half.

TM

Nice. Congratulations. Did you both meet in El Salvador or here in the States?

LG

So funny enough, we met in Colorado, and he walked into my yoga class in the middle of winter. And I had just gotten back from leading a retreat in Panama. And I was telling my regular students about the event and how much I love visiting Latin America. He was just very kind and sitting in the back of the room. And he said, “Have you ever been to El Salvador?” And I said, “No, that’s the only place I haven’t been in Latin America.” And he said, “Oh, I should tell you about my project down there.” And we became friends. You know, it was a two year friendship before we before we started our romance. And he invited me down to El Salvador, actually, for a job. He invited me down to help him open and run the yoga retreat center, and really bring it to what it is now. And very quickly, we found that we would be great partners.

TM

That’s amazing. Very cool story. So what is it like running a yoga retreat center in El Salvador?

LG

Oh, gosh, it’s a lot of work. I think we have to prioritize time for surfing now, where before we did this, we would surf a lot. Yeah. But it’s, it’s really been such an amazing project to work on together. And now after being closed for about a year, we’re reopen. We have new rooms. We have a retreat here right now. 

TM

That is wonderful. 

LG

We have another small group of professional young surfers from Panama. So there’s a lot of life here, and a lot of good vibes. So it is a lot of work, of course, but the work is fun. I get to go surfing with the customers. So that was great.

TM

That is amazing. That sounds like the dream job for sure. Your center looks really beautiful. It looks like it has an amazing pool and rooms. I saw from looking at your Instagram today that you have a new cafe opening that is inspired and Balinese style architecture and decor. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

LG

Yes, so separately of each other. My husband and I both spent quite a few years going back and forth to Bali for different reasons. I was there to teach yoga teacher trainings and he was there to go surfing. Years and years ago he had a small jewelry business with his mother and they sourced a lot of jewelry from Bali. So he was spending time there and then finally we got to go to Bali together and when we were there together on our last trip right before the pandemic, we said this is it. We have to take as many pictures as we can and we have to remember this feeling and bring it to Latin America and then create it. We did it in a Latin American way. But I think the Balinese style is beautiful with hardwoods and natural fibers and lots of very intelligent details that make the stay feel luxurious and rustic at the same time.

TM

Nice. That sounds amazing. Did you find an architect and/or builder in El Salvador to build for you? Or is that something that you both were hands on with?

LG

Very hands on! We worked with a local architect. And we had fun meetings where we would come to her with all of these ideas, and then she would put it onto paper. And a lot of times, she would say the builders have never done anything like this before. So we’re going to be able to teach them a new skill. And that was an exciting project, even in regards to like the thatched roof in one of our buildings. The thatch is done in a Balinese style versus a Latin American style. So very different, very challenging. But it works. And it’s beautiful. 

TM

Nice. 

LG

We’re so proud.

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No Shave Yoga Event – #yogabeardsunite ~ Ascending the Mountain with David Miliotis

Day 8 – No Shave Yoga Event – #yogabeardsunite ~ Ascending the Mountain with David Miliotis  
Today David Miliotis taught a workshop at Native Yoga called Ascending the Mountain. In essence we took a detailed exploration of back bending by practicing some of the asana of the Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga combined with sanskrit mantra recitation and pranayama practice.

  
David presents the application of breath, movement and visual attention in a way that you feel like you are not just practicing some random sequence of movement. He encourages you to bring every ounce of your attention into the precision of total awareness. Yet at the same time it felt very fluid and it helped to shake off some of the apprehension that appears when the body struggles with the challenge of the practice. I feel that I noticed how much my mind gets in the way of staying present and that somehow through the practice session I was able to chip away at that agitation and replace it with focussed care.

  
The analogy of Ascending the Mountain feels very apropos for this type of work. Symbolically speaking the mountain we are all ascending is an internal adventure that requires diligence and consistency. I remember the first time I went on a relatively serious mountain climbing expedition with some friends in Northern California. They were all very experienced and I was a novice, being from Florida and all, and I went into not even realizing how demanding it was going to be physically and mentally. What a humbling experience to say the least. When we finally reached the top the view was so spectacular and the senses seemed so clean and clear that the sense of accomplishment overrode the pain my body was feeling from carrying a way to heavy pack high up into thin air. What came as an even greater shock was that coming down seemed more challenging than going up. I came away from that experience thoroughly transformed and quite a bit more careful about agreeing to go mountain climbing without proper preparation.

  
Deep back bending is very much a similar experience. Proper preparation is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of the practitioner. Through serious work, attention toward the goal, and persistent application over a long period of time we gradually make our way toward the vista of feeling freedom in our body and mind. Like the old adage says, its about the journey, not the destination. 

  
As we make our way into the second week of the No Shave Yoga Event it is important not to loose focus on our goal. Our goal is to help raise awareness about our plight, to help inspire a greater sense of health in the community. An additional application of this goal is to help raise funds for those suffering through cancer now. Please help us achieve our goal and donate today.

  
 No Shave Yoga Event is a group of yoga teachers who have banded together to help spread the word, grow hairy, raise money and inspire health through the practice of yoga. Our fundraising team is called Yoga Beards Unite and we aim to raise at least $1500 by the end of November. Please help us achieve our goal by donating to our team page at https://www.no-shave.org/team/yogabeardsunite. When you post on social media please tag us to show your support and share your story to help us in our endeavor. Together we can make a difference! @adampolhemusyoga @brianmilleryoga @davidmiliotis @gregnardi @juankgalan @nativeyoga @willduprey

Day 7 – No Shave Yoga Event – Yoga with David Miliotis

  
Yoga with David Miliotis

This weekend Native Yoga is hosting Ashtanga Yogi, David Miliotis, for a series of workshops and practice sessions. David is originally from coastal Los Angeles and he now resides in Orange County, California. He flew here for a return visit to Native Yoga Center and we feel really lucky to have him here.
  
I originally met David in Mysore, India practicing at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Center in 2004. I was set up next to him one morning and I was so inspired by his practice that I immediately afterward introduced myself to him. I learned then that he was living in Santa Barbara and that he was teaching Mysore practice there. I remember thinking that he seemed really down to earth and I appreciated the time he took to speak with me. 

  
Fast forward 10 years and a friend in South Florida reintroduced us and we invited him to come and teach here at Native last year. It was such a treat to have his perspective and skill at our studio that we are honored to have him return this weekend. 
During last nights class he took us through the Primary Series in a really fun and engaging manner. One thing that is obvious when practicing with David is that he has cultivated an impeccable connection with breath, bandha and drishti. He has the ability to verbally communicate the elements of internal anatomy in a practical fashion which produces a deep sense of connection between the breath and the perception of the mind. He also has a great ability to connect with the students and give pointers for all levels to help the engagement process. I really enjoyed the practice immensely.

  
Today we return for a session at 12-3pm titled Setting the Foundation: Breathing, Bandhas & the Niyamas and tomorrow, Sunday at 12-3pm for a workshop called Ascending the Mountain: Backbends from Primary into Intermediate.
David is a member of our team #yogabeardsunite and we are working together to raise money for https://www.no-shave.org/team/yogabeardsunite during the month of November. Get inspiration from David by checking out website at http://www.ashtangayogaorangecounty.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AshtangaYogaOC/?fref=ts. 

David Swenson coming to Native Yoga Center

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David Swenson coming to Native Yoga Center

Come and practice with Ashtanga Yoga legend, David Swenson, at Native Yoga Center in Juno Beach, Florida during the weekend of February 14-16, 2014. Visit http://www.nativeyogacenter.com for details. There are still just a few spaces left.

David is an incredible Yogi! My first introduction to Ashtanga yoga was with his Primary Series VHS some 14 years ago. I will never forget my reaction to seeing his opening demonstration on that video for the first time. My mind was completely boggled as I had never seen someone demonstrate so much talent in yoga before. That moment completely altered my yoga practice and I began to practice at home while watching his instruction. I can hardly believe he is now going to be at our studio! This is sure to be a memorable experience. We can’t wait!!!!