Other posts from the On a visit to.. series:
- On a visit to… Katie aka The travelling light, Brisbane (Australia)
- On a visit to… Krystal Lynn, Albuquerque (NM, USA)
- On a visit to… Ali Kamenova LA (California, USA)
With every interview, I’m getting happier and more optimistic about our blog rubric “On a visit to…”. It is such a bliss to have so many inspiring people from around the world here on the blog with whom we are making meaningful connections no matter the distance between us. We support each other and all grow together.
I wanted to start this blog series for two main reasons. From one side the interviews have a focus on different locations which is great because we all receive local tips if we consider visiting this city, state, or country.
On another hand, the interviews are about showing different personalities, fascinating projects, and ideas. The world is full of people who impress with their example and all the achievements. Putting the spotlight on them is the recognition they deserve.
And I hope all this can help others to pursue their dreams and goals, to be themselves and be curious enough about the world and the things surrounding them.
Today, we are on a visit to Alyssa Kuzins in her hometown Pittsburgh (PA). I wanted to have her here because she has so much to say and to show, and she proves this every single day. She is a great example with all the things she does and she reflects on the others in so many positive ways (see her work here). Today is her birthday and she is also releasing another new local project for Pittsburgh residents. See more about her new Femme PGH by Alyssa Kuzina here. I hope you will enjoy this interview as you enjoyed all the previous ones. Read on!
How do you imagine the perfect “om trip”?
Essentially my Saturday or Sunday mornings are OM mornings, which include yoga then coffee and brunch with friends, and possibly a hike later on in the day at one of our many parks, such as Schenley.
If you want more fire to your practice, check out Suzanne at Om Lounge. If you want some chanting mixed in with your flow, try out one of Megan’s classes at One Point One. And if you want the full downtown experience, head to where I teach, Inhale Pittsburgh. Now if you’re in Pittsburgh, you’re probably thinking of sports, so you might as well hit up a baseball, football, or hockey game while you’re here. The Gateway Clipper also does river tours and the History and Landmarks Foundation does excellent tours of the city!
Is it possible to take an “om trip” to Pittsburgh?
Absolutely! Pittsburgh has developed a very dynamic, strong yoga community. We had tons of yoga events and even hold Yoga Fest every summer. Even our museums have yoga in them! I have lived here my whole life, and it was never this way, which is why I thought I would move, but Pittsburgh has become pretty trendy and dare I say, cool!
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us when traveling to Pittsburgh?
Umbrella. Rain boots. Yoga Mat.
How to look like locals?
Depending on where you go, depends on what you’ll see people wearing. In Shady Side, it’s more uppity with beautiful old homes and a very quaint vibe which translates into Lululemon and more casual-chic dress. But if you go to Lawrenceville, it’s like a mini Brooklyn. I will say that you definitely don’t see the Cali vibe, super high-end vibe, or “gym tan laundry” vibe too much. We’re a bit edgier perhaps? It is the steel city, after all.
What should we absolutely try when we’re in Pittsburgh?
We have a TON of amazing restaurants. My fav vegan restaurant is B52. My fav place for tacos is Round Corner Cantina. My fav place for cake is the Butterwood—you can sit and eat cake and coffee like a coffee shop. My fav place brunch cafe is Coca Cafe.
Where would you take us for a cup of coffee/or tea?
A special place in Pittsburgh you’d like to share with us.
The Farmer’s Daughter Flowers. Lauren is a florist, but this is also a boutique and she has amazing, unique finds + floral workshops. She’s a total girl boss crush and she did my wedding flowers.
We can’t miss the museums and the galleries in Pittsburgh. Show us your favorite ones.
My good friend teaches a yoga class at the Carnegie Museum of Art, actually! The Heinz History Center is a big draw, as well as the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I personally did not love the Andy Warhol Museum, but if you’re a big art fan, then check it out for sure.
Where would you take us for a yoga practice in Pittsburgh? Where can we practice yoga outdoors?
See above. Every summer Pittsburgh has Yoga in the Square downtown for free and does Open Streets Pittsburgh for cycling. Pretty much every yoga studio in the summer has outdoor yoga of some kind because we really appreciate the sun around here!
From historian to yogi. How’s that happened? What did you find more tempting in your yoga practice at the very beginning?
Wow. That’s a super loaded question. The short answer is that I had an awakening moment. I was in my Master’s graduate program and realized that these weren’t my people. I had started yoga that summer and only 2 months into my Master’s all of a sudden could NOT shake the feeling that I was on the wrong path. I was crying a lot and trying to explain myself to my family, but my intuition really knew. So, I summoned the courage to pursue a “yoga career” without having my training yet and without knowing what exactly that meant. I went for it, took up two part-time jobs to pay my student loans and picked up any social media jobs I could find that was in the yoga sphere; one was working for a yoga mat company and the other for The Business of Yoga presented by Yoga Journal Magazine, which was a biz course for yogis. I was always told “You gotta network to get work.” so I really put myself out there and plunged myself into the yoga culture soaking up whatever I could. It was pretty all-consuming, which ultimately led to my now husband and I separating, but it was for the best because I really needed to figure out what I wanted and who I was. So I guess I went ALL in.
What does the community mean for you and how that relate to your self-care moto? Can these two things walk hand in hand?
Community is vastly important to self-care. If you don’t have people around you who get you, it’s going to be a very lonely journey. I’ve looked for the kind of friendships I have now my whole life. These women get me on a deeper level. We don’t talk every day, but we make an effort to grab a coffee, go to yoga, etc. I can’t even express how much I look forward to when my girlfriends and I get together at one another’s house, bring homemade snacks, drink wine, mimosas, or coffee and just connect. We also get together at different pagan celebrations, especially Samhain.
You run many projects – The Journal Deck, Self-Care Spotlight Podcast, yoga classes, and retreats. How did you take courage to start them all?
Courage is a habit like anything else. You have to flex that muscle. Instead of saying “Who am I to do this?” remember “Who am I here to serve?” When I heard that advice from Christine Hassler it really hit me. At the end of the day, you can change your mind and you won’t know what you really want until you try it out, right? Course correct as much as needed and always look for what lights you up. Joy is your birthright.
The Journal Deck is about creating a habit for journaling and be aware of our feelings and thoughts. Tell us more about how you came up with this wonderful idea?
Journaling came to me out of heartbreak. I was never a journaler, but when my now-husband and I first separated and broke off our engagement, I was devastated. We were together for 10 years and I had no clue who I was without him. I hired a life coach and for 6 months she assigned me journal prompts and I did yoga, pulled oracle cards, spent time outdoors, prayed, meditated, and just truly focused on Alyssa. The Journal Deck came to me after this pivotal healing time of my life, and after Brad and I were back together, I was sitting on our couch and thought, “Why isn’t there a deck of cards in the form of journal prompts to dig deep?” I did a lot of research and found a local, eco-friendly printer and launched a crowdfunding campaign on June 2017. I made the podcast to promo the launch, and the decks shipped out that fall!
The Self-Care Spotlight Podcast is one of my favorite ones. What is the main goal? How do you pick the themes and the guests?
I want women to understand that self-care is not a Sunday, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just bubble baths. It’s a mindset. It’s a way of BEing. It’s counter-cultural to what society tells us is the recipe to success, but it feels so much better than burning yourself out and pushing so hard. I want women to unapologetically take care of themselves first and realize that by doing so, they’ll live their best life AND can give more deeply to others. There’s nothing selfish or pointless about it. It should be a priority for all.
Do you practice yoga while you travel? Tell us about your healthy routines on the road.
I do! Simply bring a travel mat wherever you go and try to stick to your self-care routines, even if you have to adjust to your travels. Don’t should on your self-care routine, allow wiggle room and give yourself some grace.
Your recipe for happiness.
Where should we go after visiting Pittsburgh?
Columbus, OH is nearby and I hear it’s wonderful!
“She has the mindset of a queen. The heart of a warrior. She is everything all at once, and she is too much for those who don’t deserve her. She is you.” R.H. Sin
Who is Alyssa Kuzins?
Yoga Teacher | Speaker | Entrepreneur. Inspiring a self-care lifestyle + aligned feminine living.
An innate bringer of light and ever the multi-passionate creative, Alyssa is the creator behind The Journal Deck, which includes a product line, workshops, retreats and a 5 star-rated podcast, the Self Care Spotlight. She also teaches vinyasa yoga in Pittsburgh, PA and speaks across the country on the benefits of self-care & journaling. She was recently featured in Whirl Magazine’s ’20s of 2018 for her work in the community.
Through her passion, offerings, and fun, real-talk approach, she teaches modern women a different way of living that’s about being overdoing and taking care of YOU first. No shoulding or obligations insight. In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven, masculine energetic society, she’ll help you rewire your mindset, make self-care a lifestyle and reclaim your feminine radiance.
Lover of dark chocolate, flowers, astrology, coffee, reading, and traveling whenever she can.
P.S. All pictures are kindly provided by Alyssa Kuzins.