I first met LA born yoga teacher and health coach, Rosie Acosta, in my 200 hr. YogaWorks teacher Training. She was our amazing co-teacher. Rosie always helped keep our sangha upbeat through tough training days with her bubbly and playful spirit. So, I was super excited to bring her into Evolve for a YogiSpotlight so that we could share this Portland gem with all of you!
Rosie, introduce yourself to us!
I’m an LA native, born and raised in a suburb outside of East LA. I essentially grew up and even went to college within an 8 block radius of the hospital where I was born. I live with Torry, my partner, we’ve been together over 10 years. We moved to Portland together about 2 and a half years ago. We have two frenchies named Rocky and Benny and a little Shih Tzu named Chewy.
Tell us your yoga love story!
I remember as a kid my mom put on the P.B.S. yoga in the morning. She’d wake up, turn that on, but she wouldn’t do the yoga. She’d just watch it on TV. A few years later my older sister began taking classes, and I became really curious about the different shapes and different movements. Finally in my early 20’s I started to practice consistently as a form of training for a marathon. I was in LA which is like the mecca of yoga, and I became very intrigued by the community and togetherness that I saw, but it took a couple more years for it to evolve into a deeper spiritual practice for me. I had begun taking classes consistently so I knew the shapes, and really began to enjoy what I was getting out of the practice. Then one day, my teacher said something about ‘being present, just being where you are, and accepting what is’, and I had been going through some tough things in my life, and it finally just clicked. I got it. My practice became so much more after that.
What made you want to become a teacher?
I don’t know yet! Hah! Honestly, yoga had started to infiltrate my life, and it became my medicine. At the time I was sick of doing what I had been doing. So, I began my teacher training to deepen my practice, and I really liked it. I did my teacher training through YogaWorks and that really served as an incredible base to start to teach yoga asana and philosophy, and it set the template for my career.
My passion was always to work with young impressionable people who could really use the practice to better their lives and feel connected. I grew up in East LA which wasn’t the safest place, so my big thing with yoga was to use it to help kids. I got involved with programs in LA to work with At Risk Youth and develop programs to bring into school, but it was difficult, and at that time I felt like I needed more training to deal with trauma effectively. Since then I’ve continued my training with this as a focus.
What do you hope you bring to your students in your classes?
I think that every class is different, everyone in my class is coming in with a different story and ideals of what they want to get out of the class. For me, as the teacher, my intention is just to hold space for whatever that is. I hope that what they get from my class is the opportunity to be where they are in that moment, feel supported to push themselves, and also to take a step back to pause. If they get a little gem that connects them to their inner-self, than that is plus. My business is to create safe space for that to happen. That is why I call my website “Radically Loved”. Everyone has the right to be where they are, who they are, to be loved, and to have that safe space.
Who has influenced you the most in your practice on and off the mat?
My teacher Rod Stryker, has definitely changed everything in my practice. Before I started training with him, I had all this training and was teaching 20 classes a week. I’m like I got this! I thought I had it all figured out, and then I started training with him, and I realized it was all wrong, and that I knew nothing. This was actually great because I love being a student. So, I think he has left the biggest impression with me on and off the mat because I’m always learning. His teachings have kept me in a humble place where I hope to never leave from. I don’t ever want to be one of those teachers who knows everything! The meaning of the word, “guru” is the teacher that brings you from darkness to light, so for me it is the students and the practice that are the guru.
What keeps your own personal practice fresh?
My asana practice is not what it used to be, so my practice has turned from being very intensive to maybe 30 minutes of deep stretching. My meditation practice is really key for me. It is the one thing I do daily, it is like drinking water for me. I don’t have to meditate for hours, sometimes and some days I’ll sit for 10 minutes, but if I can I will sit for 30-40 minutes, but that is a luxury!!
You’ve said before that for you the purpose of the Asana is more traditional in the sense that it is a preparation for your body to sit and meditate
Yes, my students know that in my class too. Often I’ll say this is the reason we do 50 chaturangas or a million sun salutes. It is to prep your body to sit for a long extended period without interruption. For me, it isn’t just exercise.
You’re also a Health Coach! How did you get into that?
The health coaching and nutrition actually came first. It was a passion of mine because I didn’t grow up with the best diet. I grew up having really bad food allergies. I was diagnosed with Celiacs when I was 16, way before the gluten-free thing, so no one knew what it was. I wasn’t able to eat a lot of things most teenagers eat. So, I was just unhealthy, overweight, and I struggled a lot. It was after a bad break-up that I decided to get healthy, and I decided I was going to run a marathon. By the way, I HATED running. I got really into yoga and running, and eating holistically. Holistic health really spoke to me.
I had lost a lot of weight, and a lot of people wanted to know how I did it. It was then that I realized I can really help people in my life. I knew a lot of people who couldn’t afford to eat organically and holistically, so I really wanted to figure out how to help people learn about food and how it affects their energy. During my first teacher training I went to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and got certified as a health coach. After that, I began to work with people privately who I still retain as clients today, which is amazing! It has veered into more life coaching than health coaching. I found that food is always a symptom in the bigger picture, so there is always a bigger underlying issue involved than the food we eat. It has become such a passion because I’ve seen people change their lives.
You have also started Meditation Coaching, tell us about that!
So meditation is my thing, yoga got me to the place to realize that. With yoga there are a lot of things that go into getting to class, and a lot more excuses around that. People worry about finding a studio, finding a time that works with their schedule, or finding the right clothes. With Mediation it is free, and something everyone can do. You just need to find a comfortable seat, without distraction. I have found that meditation is highly effective and can change your life substantially and quickly. You can’t help but feel the change that it brings.
Tell us a little about the #justbeherewithme hashtag and the Hush Meditation Project that you’re working on!
The Just Be Here With Me Project was started by a good friend of mine, Morgan Day Cecil. She and a few others got together and created this movement. It is all about unplugging and being present. We are so distracted so much of the time with technology and media. The purpose of the project was to pledge to unplug. Some did it for a few days, I did it for a week, and Morgan did it for a month. It was just so that we could be present. We spend the majority of the time thinking about the past or looking into the future, so we already have that working against us. Then we add all these things like media, technology, social media, etc., and we see all these people with anxiety and stress. Most of that comes from not being present, because we are never just here.
So, we thought let’s sign people up to commit to unplugging and commit to just being present with whatever they do. I did this for a week, and the first couple days it was tough for me to give up netflix, social media, and connecting. I didn’t realize how disconnected I was going to feel, and there was this feeling that people were going to forget about me. Which I thought was a really interesting feeling to come up. After my week was up I didn’t even want to come back. I felt really released from the “status update”, like “oh wow I’m free!”. I am back, but I try to limit myself, because it is so easy to go down the rabbit hole. My teacher Rod Strykr says, “With all the scrolling and clicking, ask yourself what destiny is not happening”. When you are able to unplug and just be here, you find that is actually why we are here!
You have a great sense of style that blends fun rocker chic with femininity, what do you look for in your yoga gear?
I love yoga clothes! I live my life in yoga clothes if I could do everything in yoga clothes I probably would, and mostly do! I even went to a fancy art gallery and I wore my beyond yoga tights! You can do anything with yoga clothes. I love the comfort and the flexibility. I really love fun pants and cool designs. They show your personality! I love Spiritual Gangster that was my first yoga purchase ever! I love Beyond Yoga, Alo, and Onzie’s designs are cool and the fit is great. I love pants that holds everything in. I really like a higher-waisted pant!
Plug yourself! What are your current projects? Where can our readers find you?
If you’re in Portland you can come practice with me at NW Yoga Space and Yoga Pearl.
I also have my website; radicallyloved.com where you can find my teaching schedule, free online workshops and downloadable guided meditations. You can also find more information about my health coaching there as well! I’m also leading two retreats next year, one in Bali and one in Puerto Vallarta, and the information for those are on the site!
I’m also hosting events with City Silence. City Silence is an organization founded by novelist, playwright, and embodiment educator, Stacy Sims. What we do is infiltrate big cities and host events where you just come and sit in silence in public space. My big draw to this was of course meditation and to be able to sit anywhere. We find a public place, meet, and sit with each other in silence we dedicate time to just be here with each other, and hope that it leaves a ripple effect. It is a free thing! we host events in cities all over the country and all are welcome!
Thanks so much to Rosie for coming in and sharing so much about herself! I highly recommend checking out her guided meditations on her website, and following her on Instagram where you can see adorable photos of her dogs, her leather crafting beau, and all the awesome healthy treats Portland has to offer!