Alexa Parashos finds peacefulness and purpose through Yoga for a Cause
By Shanee Edwards
The lithe and lovely Alexa Parashos first discovered yoga as a way to skip class when she was a teen.
“They offered yoga at my high school — they were strangely progressive in the area of P.E. You could take it as a zero period class, which means you get to leave school early, so that was the initial draw,” she recalls.
But something about yoga stuck.
“I just really liked it,” she says. “My teacher was really spiritual, had a lot of cool accessories like bowls and oils, and I thought, ‘I could really get into this.’”
Now Parashos has her own business called Yoga in House, where she brings yoga to workplaces and schools to “improve employee [and student] moral, health and productivity.”
Parashos explains that she didn’t want to work in a typical L.A. yoga studio.
“You can go to a studio here in L.A. and everyone is so fit. They’re all about the mirror, and they’re all so good,” she says. “But if you bring yoga to interesting spaces like a park or corporate offices, I see all these different types of people who benefit differently from these classes. They’re not afraid to get weird or be in awkward positions. They’re also not afraid to be a little bit joyful. You wouldn’t see that in a normal studio.”
Because her students are so diverse, she needs to be creative in her teaching style. At a preschool in Marina del Rey, “We do sound effects with every pose. If you’re in downward dog, we do a lot of barking. If we’re in cow pose, we moo.”
There was no mooing, however, on July 8 in Playa Vista’s Concert Park, where Parashos led Yoga for a Cause, a free monthly class where participants are encouraged to donate to charity. July’s cause was the Wounded Warrior Project, whose mission is to honor and empower injured veterans.
For Parashos, yoga is also a way to help people decompress.
“We hear things about anxiety, OCD, all these kinds of things that people take medication for — wouldn’t it be nice to have a natural solution to those problems? I would never discount anyone’s medical issues like depression, but if you can do your best within your own body to cure or at least alleviate the ailment for the day, for the hour, for the minute, who wouldn’t rather do that than go see a doctor and spend tons of money?”
When she’s not in tree pose in a park, Parashos also volunteers once a week at the ACLU by bringing yoga to them.
“Charity is a part of yoga,” she says. “I really wanted to do something that is bigger than me so, when I’m done here, I feel like I’ve accomplished something more than just making people fit.”
If you missed Yoga for a Cause, Parashos will be teaching free yoga classes at 6 p.m. Wednesdays at the Central Park Bandshell. For more information about Yoga in House, visit yogainhouse.com.