My name is: Alexandra Mazerolle a.k.a. Ally Maz.
I’m known for being: A yoga, meditation and breathwork teacher on Open, as well as the founder of teen girl yoga movement, Girlvana Yoga.
I'm talking about: The impact yoga, meditation and mentorship can have on female identifying Gen Z.
What inspired me to begin was: Yoga helped me heal from an eating disorder and showed me how to love my body and be at peace with myself. At 24, I knew I wanted to give back to the younger generation and show them there was another way to move through life. I started Girlvana a decade ago and the work feels more relevant than ever.
How it works is: Girlvana Yoga exists in many forms: online workshops through new mindfulness platform, Open; my upcoming book, Girlvana, will be published June 15th, 2021 with Penguin Random House; and, eventually when things open back up, we will host our 17th annual Girlvana Yoga Retreat, which is a five-day overnight experience for girls to explore movement, sisterhood and nature in a deeper capacity.
What makes this special is: That I am sharing the powerful tools of mindfulness with a younger generation in hopes that they don’t have to go through what I went through. I want young people to respect, love and appreciate their bodies, their hearts and their minds and to use their voices in this world. I see these practices helping teens feel more connected to themselves, to find belonging, acceptance and validation from within.
One thing you can’t miss is: The Girlvana book! I spent five years working on this project, and it is a culmination of my life’s work. It’s a coming-of-age memoir meets self-love handbook with real and accessible tools for young women to thrive. You can pre-order it
For me, addressing and de-stigmatizing mental health in this difficult time is important because: For so many, this past year has brought forward deep loneliness, disconnection and grief—especially for teens. There has been so much loss, in all meanings of this word. Not only speaking about mental health, but providing resources and tools to support mental health, combined with (digital) community, has been essential in order for me and my girlvana girls to stay well physically, mentally and emotionally. To combat loneliness, fear and uncertainty, we need community—a safe space to be seen, to be heard and to be accepted. That is what I aim to do, to create spaces where others can show up as they are.
One tool that has helped me personally throughout the pandemic/unrest is: Breathwork. On the days when I am too anxious to meditate or too tired to do yoga, my breathwork practice is a powerful way to create presence and clarity. It helps me process my emotions and gets me in touch with how I am truly feeling. I cannot recommend it enough! I teach breathwork twice a week on Open, and it really helps to do it in community.