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Sima Velez

BAREFOOT, EXPLORING HER GRANDFATHER’S GARDEN WITH PRECOCIOUS CURIOSITY AND A LARGE APPETITE, DISCOVERING CATERPILLARS AMONGST THE TOMATOES WHILE POKING UNDER THE LEAVES OF SQUASH PLANTS, SIMA CLIMBED HER FAVORITE - THE ALMOND TREE. UNAFRAID TO GET DIRTY, WITH HANDS AND FEET IN THE EARTH, THE TOUCH, SIGHT, FEEL AND SMELL OF ALL THESE ORGANIC ELEMENTS CONTRIBUTED TO HER CONTINUOUS UNRAVELING TOWARD LIBERATION.

YEARS LATER, AT 14, CONFRONTED BY HEARTBREAK, ONE OF SIMA’S FRIENDS RECOMMENDED MEDITATION. IN THOSE FIRST FEW MOMENTS - SERENE, WITH EYES CLOSED, THE OLD CURIOSITY FROM HER GRANDFATHER’S GARDEN CAME BACK. THIS TIME HOWEVER, SIMA WOULD BEGIN TO ROAM THE GARDEN WITHIN HERSELF. WHEN AT 16 SHE STEPPED INTO HER FIRST YOGA CLASS IT ALL CONNECTED. THE SEED OF THE SPIRIT OF INQUIRY HAD BEGAN TO SPROUT INTO A TRANSFORMATIVE JOURNEY.

THROUGHOUT HER TEENS AND EARLY ADULTHOOD SIMA WAS OFTEN BURDENED BY DEPRESSION, SELF CRITICISM, DOUBT AND A LACK OF SELF ESTEEM. EMBODYING CONTINUOUS PRACTICE, SELF STUDY WHILE STEPPING INTO THE BATH OF SELF LOVE SHE HAS COME TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THESE THOUGHT PATTERNS AND RELEASE THEM AS THEY ARISE.


AT 24, FEELING READY, SIMA PLUNGED INTO A 200 HOUR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING. SINCE THEN, SIMA’S PRACTICE ON AND OFF THE MAT, AS WELL AS STUDYING YOGA, BUDDHISM, PHILOSOPHY AND SELF TRANSFORMATIVE PRACTICES HAS BEEN CONSISTENT AND HER THIRST FOR INSIGHT UNABATING. SHE IS CURRENTLY IN THE MIDST OF HER ADVANCED 500 HOUR TRAINING UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF MARK STEPHENS.

THE MEMORIES OF THE ALMOND TREE HAVE STUCK WITH SIMA THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. CLIMBING UP THE TREE SHE FOUND STABILITY AND CALM WHILE SETTLING INTO SLIVER OF SPACE ON THE TRUNK OR DELICATELY BALANCING ON A BRANCH. WITH THAT SAME STRENGTH AND TRANQUILITY, LEAVING THE TREE AS IT WAS, WITH MAYBE ONE OR TWO ALMONDS MISSING, SHE WOULD LAND LIGHTLY BACK ON EARTH, IN THE SOFT, RICH SOIL. YOU WILL FIND THIS METHOD OF AWARENESS SPRINKLED THROUGHOUT POSTURES AND TRANSITIONS IN SIMA’S CLASSES.


THE PRACTICE OF YOGA ASKS US TO BE PRESENT, TO LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY AND TO BE FEARLESS. THE PRACTICE OF TEACHING YOGA HAS TAUGHT SIMA TO BE EVEN MORE INQUISITIVE, MORE VULNERABLE, MORE STRUCTURED AND TO SHARE WHAT SHE HAS LEARNED FROM HER STUDENTS, HER TEACHERS AND HER LIFE EXPERIENCES. SHE CONTINUES TO ABSORB NEW TEACHINGS, ALWAYS EXPLORING, ALL THE WHILE NURTURING GUIDANCE FOR HER STUDENTS AND EVERYONE SHE FINDS WHILE POKING AROUND IN THE GARDEN OF LIFE.