Meet Mandy: MINDBODY's Yoga Blogger

I first found yoga, or maybe I should say yoga first found me, in sunny San Diego, California.

But the road leading to my mat had so many twists, turns, and detours that “flexibility” was a necessity long before my toes first touched a yoga mat.

Some of my earliest memories involve shuffling through busy airport terminals and hanging with friendly flight attendants as my dad’s job took us all over the world. Our first big family move was at the age of 8 from our home on the East Coast to Puerto Rico, where I was immersed in Latin culture and the Spanish language throughout elementary school. From there, it was off to explore Europe, then the UK and eventually ending up in California for college.

Three high schools in three different countries left me with a passport full of stamps and memories to last a lifetime, but also with a profound sense of uncertainty, never knowing what it was like to have roots. I imagined what it would be like to feel grounded. I craved, dreamed about, even longed for a place to call home.

And then, yoga came into my life. A surf-inspired yoga studio near the beach in San Diego was the first place I felt a sense of grounding. Both physically in my body through the postures, but also spiritually through the connectedness of the community, I felt as if I had finally come home.

Like many practitioners, I was so inspired by my yoga practice that I found myself talking about yoga to anyone and everyone that would listen.

Daily classes at that enchanting seaside yoga studio led me to enroll in their 200hour teacher training, which eventually turned into teaching my very own classes there. Three years ago, when the opportunity arose to take our surfer-yogi community on the road, I jumped at the chance to coordinate the studio’s very first yoga retreat abroad.

And let me tell you, nothing is more beautiful than 22 people leaving the country as strangers and coming back as friends. Powerful changes and transformational shifts can occur when we are on the road. I’ve been lucky enough to see it happen, firsthand, retreat after retreat.

Everything about travel is unpredictable, unnerving and forces us to open ourselves to whatever may come up. The parallels with our yoga practices are countless. On our mats, on the road, in a sleepy seaside Mexican village or in a bustling airport terminal in Bali, we are reminded that ... Home is where your mat is.

In the coming months, I look forward to sharing with you some of my tales from being a traveling yogi. You can expect to read about lots of hits and a few misses in my search for vinyasa flow around the globe, like: teaching yoga on a stand up paddle board in Croatia, savasana-ing to the sound of howler monkeys in a Costa Rican jungle, how to squeeze in your practice in a teeny-tiny hotel room in Paris, where to find the perfect post-yoga green juice in London, and many more.

So, if you’re entertaining the idea of taking your yoga on the road, I say, GO FOR IT! Life is short, take the leap! In each wrong turn you take that turns out to be the right one, in each new native dish you get to taste, in each hug from a stranger who is now a friend, a light in your soul ignites that can never be extinguished.