Interview with Montserrat Arias aka “Sassyyogagirl” – a honest talk about mental health awareness and women´s rights!

Get to know one of my loveliest friends, far away from Motivation Monday this week, but a truly inspiring Wonder Woman and Yogini, fighting for women´s rights, spreading love and beautiful art! Sassy is such a unique person – read more about here! And promise me to watch her page! 🙂

From Ayurveda With Love means compassion and finding our Dharma in life, so can you tell us what you are compassionate about?

Pretty much every living being on this earth, humans have become so selfish, values are all confused, and for me compassion is the only way to make a real change, compassion to the earth, the animals, to other human beings and yourself. The world is upside down, but I have so much hope that there are so many people that want a change, and that change starts with love and compassion, no other way. And I consider myself one of those persons that want a change.

Tell us where do you come from, what you are doing and what your plans look like for 2019?

I am from Mexico, I am a freelancer at heart, so I don´t have a particular job. I work in so many fields, and my plans for this year is to open an online jewelry store. I am a firmly believer to the power of crystals, amulets, symbols, and I want to finally give life to that project.

Where do you teach and work actually?

As I mentioned before,I have different types of jobs, I work as a Yoga teacher in workshops for women empowerment. I work as an English and Spanish teacher. As I do some work as a model.

Tell us more about your latest project on Instagram – you work there on a project on domestic violence. What it is exactly about and how did you get started about this one?

At some point, social media became so confusing, even toxic in some way, although it has lots of beautiful benefits, as reaching out to amazing people but the dark side, is pretty dark. April is my birthday month and I had the need to make something meaningful, more than just upload photos. So I contact this group, and as April is the month of domestic violence awareness, and I know they do an amazing cause helping men, women, even children and persons with trafficked background to heal through Yoga practice, I decided that was going to be my birthday present.

You also donate for this project; tell us where people can help with and how!

The campaign is called #healmetoo, the groups name is @exhale2inhale and you can find them on Instagram with that name and they have an ongoing fundraising, and this April you can go to my Instagram account @sassyyogagirl and there’s a direct link to make a donation. Going back to the first question, its all about compassion, even if you don´t feel related with the subject, you are a human, same as them, and the fact that people support them in the healing process through Yoga is so meaningful. Because they are humans, as you, as me and we all deserve compassion.

You represent a strong female character in your art and social media accounts, what are your thoughts on feminism?

Feminism for me means equality, equal rights, and equal opportunities, stop that conception that women are either fragile things that need to be protected, or whores and sexual objects, for doing exactly what men can do and they are not condemned.

Do you think that the Yoga scene is also a problem with it´s mostly white, skinny, privileged role models they show on magazines and social media?

This is such a deep question, I mean I love to see beautiful images but it´s sad at some point that social media is projecting Yoga as wearing matching outfits, that are ridiculous expensive, doing super advance postures, and so many girls are so obsessed to become part of that movement, it seems sometimes that the practice becomes to get to a posture and post it with certain outfit, and that´s so far from the Yoga wisdom. I fell into that pattern for sure, giveaways, challenges, likes, followers, and that’s when I realized how toxic this could be. I am very open with my followers about dealing with depression and anxiety and how much Yoga has helped me in the darkest moments, but there´s so many people that look to those photos with crazy postures and beautiful sets and the trendiest outfits in super skinny bodies and they just feel like Yoga is not for them, because they don´t fit with that images. The world needs more Yoga, I can´t imagine what could happened to me without it, and this image of perfection can create so much confusion for people that, as in my case, Yoga could save their life. What do you know about Ayurveda? Do you practice it already?

I am just opening to it thanks to Jasmine, and it’s such a huge world of wisdom, mind, body, soul, and the importance of balance and interior work. I am just starting to learn about it, and how can I open myself and integrate it to my life, moreover with the disease that I deal with, I think it will be so helpful.

I am curious…What are your thoughts about Ayurveda?

As I think about it ´s like programing your mind to work for your benefit, to use the great power of it to live your best version. 

Do you know which Dosha you are?   

I don’t, but I will.

How does your perfect morning routine looks like?

Begin the day with a gentle Yoga practice, a deep meditation, and I take a lot of care of my skin, since I started with mental issue I developed cystic acne so my routine takes a while, but I like to give myself those couple of hours, before I start with my obligations.

How do you integrate Ayurveda into your day to day life?

I am so interested in the relationship with the food, and I would love to know more about it.

You obviously practice Yoga – what is your routine?

Yeah I practice pretty much everyday and I try to have a morning and night practice.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

You know that´s a question I really avoid, when you have a mental disease the first person you have to be compassionate is with yourself, some days you are a functional person, you can even go out and have a social life and suddenly you are afraid to even get out of your room, and you feel so much pain, and loneliness, and because of the huge stigma around mental disease, you isolate yourself from the world. And is really something that you have to take day by day, so I rarely thing about anything but the 24 hours ahead of me, and set goals for the day and try to accomplish them, if I can´t I don’t beat myself anymore, tomorrow it´s a new opportunity.

What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

My disease. Understand that it is a disease, that it can be cured, and that I am taking the correct steps, and moreover and what really changed the game is becoming really compassionate with myself.

How did you find the path you are on right now?

I always have been very active, and I use to practice Yoga but not really getting into the whole world of it, but Yoga is so magical that even if you don´t realize it you get the benefits! When my condition began to be something I was not controlling anymore, I wasn’t eating or sleeping and I went from alcohol to meds, and things just got so out of control. I ended up in the hospital- and that day I decided, I need to do something, or I am going to die. And that same day I enrolled to my first 200hrs of teacher training and literally it saved my life. And it gave me the need to share how amazing it is.

How important is meditation to you?

So important, before I started to practice it, and understood it, which is not easy -and I had panic attacks the first time, which is something I really don´t wish to anybody – meditation has become my hand break, when I feel the first symptoms, I just stop everything and do some meditation, and it definitely works.

What is your personal philosophy and spiritual path?

Love is the only way, and you are in this world for a purpose, trust your path, and let your spiritual self guide you, let go of control.

What have you done into the last year to improve yourself?

I know I have repeated a lot, but I learned the importance of self love and compassion, when you deal with this type of diseases you always feel guilty, ashamed, a burden to everybody, and it´s not easy, but I practice compassion towards me all the time and the fact that through my experience I have reached people with the same issue in a positive way, that means the world to me.

Who has been your greatest influence?

My mother, she´s such a special human being and do so much for so many people, and is always fighting for the indigenous people rights that sadly in Mexico they are so mistreated, she practice equality and love. And I know I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for her and her unconditional love.

What is your greatest strength?

I would like to believe that I have opened channels that allow me to impact lives in a positive way.

How do you handle stress and pressure?

I don’t hahaha, but I guess I avoid falling into destructive patterns with Yoga, meditation, time and self-love.

What are your favorite self-care practices and rituals?

My skin care routine is a most, I am always searching and trying different natural mixtures that improve my skin, and also my crystals cleansing techniques are such an important moment for me, as the practice of Yoga itself.

Where do you find your ideas for your creative content?

I am very lucky to have very close an out of this world artist, such a genius, and for me creating different characters for photo shoots is like therapy, and I embrace my sensuality with no guilt or sense of look at me.  It’s my body, my rules, my ideas, and in that area I don’t care much about criticism or the opposite of men thinking you are that way to give place for them to be disrespectful, I really have learned to be myself and don’t let anybody make me feel bad about it.

Where can we find you on Social Media and in the World Wide Web?

I am working on my website, which I intent to blog and open the subject of mental health, so many people live with this condition in different ways and the stigma is so big, if I can reach one person and make them feel they are not alone, I will feel so fulfill, moreover if I can get to more people. I have my Instagram account @sassyyogagirl and YouTube channel with the same name where I want to share so many things but I haven´t really develop it as it should be, as I said sometimes you feel that little things that you really want seem like a marathon ahead, but I will make it, and in Mexico I have a Facebook page with the same intention and spread positivity and Yoga.

Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share with us?

“Life is a journey not a destination.”

Thank you so much

With love, Montse

Thank you so much Montserrat for taking all the time! And now – let´s donate for a great cause and watch Sassy´s page on Insta! I am sure we all have some extra money left after the Easter holidays! Spread some love and see you on Sunday,

Namaste! 🙂

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