The Real Flying Yogini: Meet Nancy Alder

Once or twice a month on Annapurna Living, we spotlight a creative entrepreneur who chooses to do business with integrity and soul. Today, please enjoy our conversation with writer & yoga teacher Nancy Alder.
Photos by Sheryl Sapphire Photography

Photos by Sheryl Sapphire Photography

Hello! Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How does your heart manifest in the world?

I am a mom to elves, a writer and a yoga teacher living in the enchanted forest of Connecticut. I write and teach about living your yoga on and off the mat through honesty, breath and mystical spirituality. My heart is full when it snows, I laugh to tears and my students and readers gain tools to living authentically and peacefully through my writing/yoga teaching.

My work is important because____.

I remind people that we are all similar in our need for ease, acceptance and breath. I create community in my classes and writing in a way that helps people feel connected and not alone in a world that can sometimes create that illusion.

As an entrepreneur, who in business do you admire, and why?

I admire Liz Vartanian who is an inspired yogi and mama who lives her truth authentically every day. Elena Brower is a business woman and mom who seems to effortlessly balance it all while still taking time for herself and those she cares for every day. As a writer I admire Dani Shapiro for cultivating a community of writers and for speaking her truth in a way that seems to resonate deeply with everyone who reads her words.

What does soulful business mean to you?

Running a soulful business means that what I offer and what I live are the same things. I see business as an extension of life and that means speaking and offering your truth. To find a community that resonates with your words and offerings, it is essential to offer a piece of your true self and that is what I try to do in all my ventures.

Why do you create? Why is a soulful business important to you? What motivates you?

Writing is as essential to me as sleep and breath. I feel compelled to get words to the page, and when I do not write my life feels stagnant in a way that is not comfortable. Sharing my words and my teachings to help people feel a kinship with each other, rather than as separate individuals, is what motivates me. If I can create a sangha of like minds and souls I know I have done what I am meant to do.

What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

Once I was told by a fellow yoga teacher to teach what I know, to share what I live and I have never looked back from that advice. Trying to be something or share something that is not authentic to you is the surest way to not find success.

What is the best business advice you would give?

Do not try to duplicate or mimic what someone has done successfully because that is their story and not yours. Only offer what is authentically, and deeply personal to you and what you most would want to seek out if you did not already have it. Share what you love and who you are; your tribe will find you.

Nancy Alder

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? How do you work with or around it?

My biggest challenge is juggling what I want and need to do for my career and being a present as a wife and mother. My family is my first priority always, but I do struggle with making sure my career choices and desires are met. I set some boundaries that are generally non-negotiable for me: not going away too often or for too long, not missing birthdays or special events and minimizing how often I work when my kids are home from school. However, I know my family is proud of my successes and I think it is important for my kids to understand that my job is a key part of me as a person. They get that my teaching and writing is essential to my being and appreciate how necessary it is for me. This understanding helps them navigate the times when I am busy or gone, and as they have gotten older my kids are much more tolerant of my needing to do things away from home.

When you feel burned out or uninspired, what lights your fire again?

Meditation is a key to keeping my creative spark going. I find that my clearest and most inspiring words come after a good session sitting and going in for at least 10 minutes. Reading other writers and attending trainings with teachers who inspire me keep the spark going on days when I feel little uninspired. And just when I think there are days I might want to quit, an email from a reader or chat with one of my students reminds me what I am doing is necessary and important.

How do you start your work day?

I start each work day with a cup of coffee in a favorite mug, currently one by Studio Chenoweth that has “say yes” on it, looking into the enchanted woods around my house. I drink in the coffee and savor the beauty and majesty of the natural world and these inspire me to get going on all I need and want to do.
If you could do something else as a vocation, what would it be?: I would love to be a professional surfer because I love the ocean and the idea of being part of that is so inspiring to me. I also am so inspired by the dedication of athletes of that caliber.

When do you feel most creative?

I feel the most creative after meditating and in the morning. Meditation sparks so many creative thoughts and sometimes a really hot shower can do the same.

What did you want to be when you were a little girl?

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a doctor, a pathologist specifically. My parents are both physicians and I loved everything about microscopes and investigating. I thought a pathologist would be a great way to utilize both things.

Do you have a first memory from childhood that connects you to what you have created today?

My parents always got the New Yorker and I loved picking up the issue each week and reading the cartoons. I wanted to be part of the New Yorker and I think that inspired me to write.

What did you learn from your childhood that impacts you today?

I learned that if you are a female your job can be just as important as any male's. My mom was one of the only female doctors where we lived and she garnered respect because of it. Her career made me realize that anything is possible for me and that it is important for women to have their own voice, their own passion outside of the family.

If you could do or make something every day that you give away, what would it be?

If I could give away something every day it would be the knowledge that you are perfect being exactly who you are. I work very hard to create that space of acceptance with my students and readers, and if I can impart that knowledge on even one of them each day I consider myself a great success.

Nancy Alder

What are your favorite entrepreneurial resources? Business mentors? Please share books, websites, and more.

My favorite entrepreneurial resources are some of my biggest inspirations: Anna Guest-Jelley, who was a partner on our website Teachasana, inspires me daily. She has cultivated a community of acceptance and honesty like no one else I know. She has creatively carved out a niche that was so needed and that offers support and community for individuals that might not find it elsewhere online or in person. She is honest, kind and funny and lives her yoga. Michelle Martello is one of my go-tos for business advice. She is so unbelievably smart and savvy and yet is so down to earth and practical. Her suggestions are easy to implement and have big impact. Her e-book about online entrepreneurship is one of my bibles and I cannot say enough about how much she has helped me. Alisha Sommer is one of my writing inspirations. Her online course liberated lines sparked such creative juices in me I was astonished. She creates a community of words and talent that is a well of inspiration for me. Her words and photos are magical and speak with such truth. I am constantly in awe of her offerings. Finally one of my favorite sources of inspiration and connection is Instagram. I have found so many collaborations and sparks through people I follow or who follow me on Instagram. I am constantly astonished by the creativity and light people share.

Tell us a story or describe a time when something occurred in your business that made your heart leap and you KNEW you were doing the right thing.

Last year I reached out via Instagram to the Sedona Yoga Festival (www.sedonayogafestival.com) on a whim thinking they might have a slot or two for yoga teachers. Amazingly they responded, I applied to teach and was accepted. I took a leap of faith that they might consider me for the festival and it paid off in so many ways. I had an incredible time sharing my words and yoga with the community in Sedona and made some important connections and collaborations at the same time. Heather and Marc who run the festival are big inspirations to me because they show how a collective can be created if you lead with your heart. I cannot wait to return in 2016!


Nancy Alder

About Nancy

Nancy Alder is a mom, yoga teacher and writer based in Connecticut. She teaches yogis to find their wings with ease through anatomy, acceptance and humor whether instructing arm balances or Savasana. She is known for making the esoteric approachable for all through intelligent sequencing and language. Nancy is trained in many styles of yoga ranging from vinyasa to yin and blends all of those influences creatively in her classes which are never the same. Her emphasis on Sangha, or community, shows in the way the yogis on her retreats and in her classes become a family. She currently is in a 500H mentorship with Rolf Gates. Nancy has been featured in and writes for both Origin Magazine and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, the latter of which she is also an editor. She is a contributor to actress Carrie-Anne Moss’s Annapurna Living. Her projects have been highlighted by Yoga Journal online and she writes for many of the most well known yoga websites. When not teaching or writing, Nancy explores the enchanted forest behind her house with her elves, dreams of talking yoga on the Jimmy Fallon show, and counts the days until the next snowfall.

Connect with Nancy on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.