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A MOMENT WITH ACE YOGA LA

Alicia “ACE” Easter, is a Los Angeles based Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Reiki Healer. As a member of the Motherless Daughters Club, ACE faced undeniable grief after her mom died, which led her to the practice of yoga and an unusual job moving around the country. After taking a few yoga classes, ACE realized yoga was a lifesaver and longed for the day she could share its effects with the world. She created I AM FREE: Yoga, Meditation, and Intention Setting workshops which she has hosted throughout California. She has co-hosted retreats with National Best-Selling Author, Jennifer Pastiloff, in Italy and France and a proud graduate of Tracee Stanley Meditation teacher training. As a resident of North Hollywood, CA with her two Guru Cats, she is most proud of her laugh, essence of love, and willingness to always chase the sun. Now let's get to know Ace a little bit more...

Alicia AKA Ace, can you share a little bit about your story with us? How did you get to where you are now?

My name is Alicia Crysta Easter, which means “noble anointed one of dawn” (Eostre was a Germanic goddess of spring). I am the daughter of Cynthia Geneva Lawson, granddaughter of Eleanor Cecilia Lawson. I am a Yogi, Black Woman, Teacher, Podcast Host, Candle Designer, Liberator, Black Joy Beam, Writer, Facilitator, Lover, Sister, and Friend. I stand on the shoulders of the 10,000-plus ancestors who came before me, and I do not take my presence here lightly. I have the honor of being a pair of shoulders to stand on for those who come after me. My ability to claim who I am, fully, came through the beautiful practice of yoga. I was born in Baltimore, MD and raised in Atlanta, GA by a single mom who worked tirelessly to ensure my brother and I were healthy and safe.

In 2016, I created ACE Yoga LA, a yoga brand aimed to offer a more diverse experience of yoga in an industry where BIPOC were underrepresented. Over the last 4 years, I have hosted a number of workshops under my I AM FREE: Yoga, Meditation, and Intention Setting workshops with a special yearly workshop focused on Motherless Daughters around Mother’s Day. I have co-hosted retreats with National Best-Selling Author, Jennifer Pastiloff, in Italy and France and a proud graduate of Tracee Stanley Meditation teacher training.

Our co-founder Erin shared that you met each other at Jennifer Pastiloff's yoga retreat many years ago and that it was life-transforming for both of you. Can you share a bit about what you discovered? 

YES! I will never forget that experience and meeting beautiful Erin. I remember having a conversation with Erin and she planted the seed for what you have today in Electric & Rose. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a seed was subconsciously planted for ACE Yoga LA.

Additionally, I learned from those in attendance, how they made their self-care a priority if only for a weekend. They invested in themselves and I had never really seen anything like that before. My mother was a serial entrepreneur while holding down like three jobs at a time to provide for our family. I remember she sold Mary Kay, which was fun, but she never wore makeup so that was even funnier. She was great! I also learned at the Yoga retreat that I, too, could do this one day; host my own retreat and teach yoga. It was inspiring and kick-started my personal “organized” wellness journey.

Jen’s Ojai retreats were always so magical, life-long friendships are formed and I will be forever grateful.

Our co-founder Erin shared that you met each other at Jennifer Pastiloff's yoga retreat many years ago and that it was life-transforming for both of you. Can you share a bit about what you discovered? 

With COVID-19 still amongst us, retreats are off-limits. What advice or recommendation would you give for someone looking to experience connection in this way?

YES! I will never forget that experience and meeting beautiful Erin. I remember having a conversation with Erin and she planted the seed for what you have today in Electric & Rose. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a seed was subconsciously planted for ACE Yoga LA.

Additionally, I learned from those in attendance, how they made their self-care a priority if only for a weekend. They invested in themselves and I had never really seen anything like that before. My mother was a serial entrepreneur while holding down like three jobs at a time to provide for our family. I remember she sold Mary Kay, which was fun, but she never wore makeup so that was even funnier. She was great! I also learned at the Yoga retreat that I, too, could do this one day; host my own retreat and teach yoga. It was inspiring and kick-started my personal “organized” wellness journey.

Jen’s Ojai retreats were always so magical, life-long friendships are formed and I will be forever grateful.

 I would recommend finding your favorite teacher and support them during this time. I host Sunday Yoga Service, started by Seane Corn, on Instagram Live at 9AM PST so that’s been fun and it's growing. I read from our “Bible” but it's really a book by Londrelle called Sun Flower Soul, it's so good. If your favorite teacher isn’t offering anything virtual, then I would check to see if the studios you attended are hosting anything and signup. White Heat Yoga Studio Owner, Jordan, does Sunday’s in the Park. It's beautiful and nice to practice with people, even if it's only once a week for now.
Follow Instagram pages that make you feel inspired, GOOD, and where you can grow from where you are planted. I am a member of Ethel’s Club, a Social Club out of Brooklyn, and they have an app. They have all sorts of virtual classes, events, etc. and are catered to and for BIPOC creators.

Make lists of things that make you happy and see if you can organize a virtual connection with your friends/family. Now that we are somewhat in place where people are meeting in parks, beaches, outside places to connect with respect to space distancing suggestions. I know this is a less than ideal time for most, but I had to sit with a lot of my stuff the first few months and grief through a lot more than I imagined. I reached out for connection and made it a priority when I felt myself feeling lonely and isolated from the world. Gotta reach out, gotta do the work, gotta ask for help if you need it! :) WE ALL WE GOT! 

We saw that you recently held a group about the loss of one's mother. Do you plan on holding more of these?

YES! I do plan to host another one, very soon. I am planning an online course with special monthly focus on Motherless Daughters for BIPOC. The workshop that I host soon, will be open to everyone. The goal is to elevate the workshop I created three years ago to Honor All Mothers’ through yoga and sound healing. It will be a membership platform to include on-demand courses with live weekly check-in sessions. The new platform would increase the connection not only in Los Angeles, CA, but globally. It would be used to educate Motherless Daughters on grief and depression, to garner joy through healing modalities such as Yoga, Meditation, Therapy, and Reiki. The various on-demand courses and check-in would be used to liberate those who have recently experienced mother loss or who have lived a great deal of their lives without their mothers up until this point.

You're such a powerful energy. Have you always had this inside of you or is this something you've come to more recently?

I always knew I had a powerful energy inside of me, but it wasn’t until about two years ago I started to fully embody its presence. Now…there is no going back, LOL, so thank you for this compliment. And thank you for saying, Powerful and not Strong. There is nothing wrong with being strong, but as a Black Woman our pain is often overlooked because we are deemed as “strong enough.” That may be true, but we are vulnerable, brave, powerful, and beautiful as well! 

You're such a powerful energy. Have you always had this inside of you or is this something you've come to more recently?

 I always knew I had a powerful energy inside of me, but it wasn’t until about two years ago I started to fully embody its presence. Now…there is no going back, LOL, so thank you for this compliment. And thank you for saying, Powerful and not Strong. There is nothing wrong with being strong, but as a Black Woman our pain is often overlooked because we are deemed as “strong enough.” That may be true, but we are vulnerable, brave, powerful, and beautiful as well! 

What does yoga mean to you?

Yoga means to me, freedom, vulnerability, awareness, and breath. It means community, connection, bravery, and forgiveness. Yoga means so much and has taught me to remain open and practice non-attachment to how I think life should unfold. When I practice, I am not looking for instant gratification, but a peek into a portal of healing possibilities. I show up to practice to serve others, myself, and to hold space for those in the collective. I always feel more open, more aware, more alive. And that’s why I keep going back to the mat, all these years later. Yoga saved my life! 

What keeps you motivated to find #time2live, to live your best life?

I love this question! I find #time2live almost every day especially during the time of Covid-19. I had a day when I felt like giving up on life and I was talking to a dear friend. It was just a day when I wanted to quit…just end it all. Then he talked to me and reminded me I have more work to do and it's not my time. But he understood my pain and how I came to this way of thinking. He was supportive, loving, and not dismissive of my emotions.

From that day, June 7th, I committed to living my best life everyday in the work I do, art I create, classes I teach, and company I keep. I spend more time with my niece, nephew, brother, and sister in love. They remind me of what matters most, born and chosen family. I call my group of girlfriends, my siSTARS near and far. I have sisTARS all over the place but none as close as the ones in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Tel Aviv, Birmingham, and of course LA. #time2live is possible because of them!

You started a candle company as well as a podcast! Congratulations! It isn't easy to start either one of these! What is the inspiration behind both of these new endeavors?

Thank you! I know right…kind of wild that I started two things I had no idea how to start. Just started…and it's been a lot of fun! The inspiration behind the I AM Candle Collection was empowered by the 10,000 plus shoulders I stand on with a hope to inspire generations to come. I AM BEAUTIFUL, I AM BRAVE, I AM LOVE, and I AM FREE are my daily affirmations I was thrilled to share and bring literal light into people’s homes.

For the podcast, I was talking to Jen one day and we had been toying with the idea of hosting a podcast since the Netflix deal for our own show had not come, yet. LOL! We named it What Are You Bringing? from a conversation we were having about who we would like to have as a guest on the show. We have some fun guests lined up who have accomplished some pretty outstanding things. Nonetheless, we want to have real conversations about what they are bringing to life, the table, their community, and the BBQ?

We love you, ACE!!

Alicia aka ACE, can you share a little bit about your story with us? How did you get to where you are now?

My name is Alicia Crysta Easter, which means “noble anointed one of dawn” (Eostre was a Germanic goddess of spring). I am the daughter of Cynthia Geneva Lawson, granddaughter of Eleanor Cecilia Lawson. I am a Yogi, Black Woman, Teacher, Podcast Host, Candle Designer, Liberator, Black Joy Beam, Writer, Facilitator, Lover, Sister, and Friend. I stand on the shoulders of the 10,000-plus ancestors who came before me, and I do not take my presence here lightly. I have the honor of being a pair of shoulders to stand on for those who come after me. My ability to claim who I am, fully, came through the beautiful practice of yoga. I was born in Baltimore, MD and raised in Atlanta, GA by a single mom who worked tirelessly to ensure my brother and I were healthy and safe.

In 2016, I created ACE Yoga LA, a yoga brand aimed to offer a more diverse experience of yoga in an industry where BIPOC were underrepresented. Over the last 4 years, I have hosted a number of workshops under my I AM FREE: Yoga, Meditation, and Intention Setting workshops with a special yearly workshop focused on Motherless Daughters around Mother’s Day. I have co-hosted retreats with National Best-Selling Author, Jennifer Pastiloff, in Italy and France and a proud graduate of Tracee Stanley Meditation teacher training.

With COVID-19 still amongst us, retreats are off-limits. What advice or recommendation would you give for someone looking to experience connection in this way?

I would recommend finding your favorite teacher and support them during this time. I host Sunday Yoga Service, started by Seane Corn, on Instagram Live at 9AM PST so that’s been fun and it's growing. I read from our “Bible” but it's really a book by Londrelle called Sun Flower Soul, it's so good. If your favorite teacher isn’t offering anything virtual, then I would check to see if the studios you attended are hosting anything and signup. White Heat Yoga Studio Owner, Jordan, does Sunday’s in the Park. It's beautiful and nice to practice with people, even if it's only once a week for now.

Follow Instagram pages that make you feel inspired, GOOD, and where you can grow from where you are planted. I am a member of Ethel’s Club, a Social Club out of Brooklyn, and they have an app. They have all sorts of virtual classes, events, etc. and are catered to and for BIPOC creators.

Make lists of things that make you happy and see if you can organize a virtual connection with your friends/family. Now that we are somewhat in place where people are meeting in parks, beaches, outside places to connect with respect to space distancing suggestions. I know this is a less than ideal time for most, but I had to sit with a lot of my stuff the first few months and grief through a lot more than I imagined. I reached out for connection and made it a priority when I felt myself feeling lonely and isolated from the world. Gotta reach out, gotta do the work, gotta ask for help if you need it! :) WE ALL WE GOT! 

Yoga is sacred to me. I’m always trying to make enough space for my own daily yoga practice which I don’t show on social media, so that I can fully be present and surrender my ego. I feel like in this time and age we often forget the true principles of yoga and only see these mesmerizing poses, and the ego keeps feeding off of that. So right now, what I’m trying to do is coming back to reason why I started yoga in the first place, because it made me feel good and helped me to relax, and not to get into any advanced poses at all. 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others by police have inspired both worldwide protests and calls for action for this country specifically. What has that looked like for you?

For me, it has looked like fully embracing the fullness of my voice as a Black Woman, and no longer shying away from who I am authentically. I have been focusing my energy on making sure I show up in my full power, as a healer/facilitator, in order to hold space for those who are marching, oppressed, and on the frontlines in need of additional spaces to heal. I am focusing on regulating my body so I can be more aligned as a co-creator in this so-called life. I keep reminding myself that all forms of activism look different, but the most important thing is to use my voice, energy, platform, and gifts to amplify, support, and love. Building a business, I AM CANDLES, so we never forget who we are and who we are is good enough. Teaching yoga and asking my guides, daily, “What am I to learn today and how may I serve?” 

The yoga community is predominantly white - how did this shape your experience creating your career as a Black woman in this space?

 It made me want to practice, teach, show up, own the skin I was blessed to be born with and do heart check-ins with myself, daily. Not only because of the disparities in diversity and inclusivity but because my lineage and ancestors wouldn’t have it any other way. I am their wildest dream manifested each time I step into my power, vulnerability, bravery, beauty, and truth. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know other Black Yogi’s and Wellness Instructors. 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others by police have inspired both worldwide protests and calls for action for this country specifically. What has that looked like for you?

For me, it has looked like fully embracing the fullness of my voice as a Black Woman, and no longer shying away from who I am authentically. I have been focusing my energy on making sure I show up in my full power, as a healer/facilitator, in order to hold space for those who are marching, oppressed, and on the frontlines in need of additional spaces to heal. I am focusing on regulating my body so I can be more aligned as a co-creator in this so-called life. I keep reminding myself that all forms of activism look different, but the most important thing is to use my voice, energy, platform, and gifts to amplify, support, and love. Building a business, I AM CANDLES, so we never forget who we are and who we are is good enough. Teaching yoga and asking my guides, daily, “What am I to learn today and how may I serve?” 

The yoga community is predominantly white - how did this shape your experience creating your career as a Black woman in this space?

It made me want to practice, teach, show up, own the skin I was blessed to be born with and do heart check-ins with myself, daily. Not only because of the disparities in diversity and inclusivity but because my lineage and ancestors wouldn’t have it any other way. I am their wildest dream manifested each time I step into my power, vulnerability, bravery, beauty, and truth. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know other Black Yogi’s and Wellness Instructors. 

What does yoga mean to you?

Yoga means to me, freedom, vulnerability, awareness, and breath. It means community, connection, bravery, and forgiveness. Yoga means so much and has taught me to remain open and practice non-attachment to how I think life should unfold. When I practice, I am not looking for instant gratification, but a peek into a portal of healing possibilities. I show up to practice to serve others, myself, and to hold space for those in the collective. I always feel more open, more aware, more alive. And that’s why I keep going back to the mat, all these years later. Yoga saved my life! 

What keeps you motivated to find #time2live, to live your best life?

I love this question! I find #time2live almost every day especially during the time of Covid-19. I had a day when I felt like giving up on life and I was talking to a dear friend. It was just a day when I wanted to quit…just end it all. Then he talked to me and reminded me I have more work to do and it's not my time. But he understood my pain and how I came to this way of thinking. He was supportive, loving, and not dismissive of my emotions.

From that day, June 7th, I committed to living my best life everyday in the work I do, art I create, classes I teach, and company I keep. I spend more time with my niece, nephew, brother, and sister in love. They remind me of what matters most, born and chosen family. I call my group of girlfriends, my siSTARS near and far. I have sisTARS all over the place but none as close as the ones in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Tel Aviv, Birmingham, and of course LA. #time2live is possible because of them!

You started a candle company as well as a podcast! Congratulations! It isn't easy to start either one of these! What is the inspiration behind both of these new endeavors?

Thank you! I know right…kind of wild that I started two things I had no idea how to start. Just started…and it's been a lot of fun! The inspiration behind the I AM Candle Collection was empowered by the 10,000 plus shoulders I stand on with a hope to inspire generations to come. I AM BEAUTIFUL, I AM BRAVE, I AM LOVE, and I AM FREE are my daily affirmations I was thrilled to share and bring literal light into people’s homes.

For the podcast, I was talking to Jen one day and we had been toying with the idea of hosting a podcast since the Netflix deal for our own show had not come, yet. LOL! We named it What Are You Bringing? from a conversation we were having about who we would like to have as a guest on the show. We have some fun guests lined up who have accomplished some pretty outstanding things. Nonetheless, we want to have real conversations about what they are bringing to life, the table, their community, and the BBQ?

We love you, ACE!!