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The Awesomeness of Adriene

How this global YouTube star (12 million subscribers, y'all!) and native Austinite gets us growing

Her yoga and meditation videos have been viewed over a billion times around the world, but at home in Austin this yoga instructor, actor and entrepreneur feels happiest. Here, she tells about her plans for the rest of the year - including a wedding - and the true star of her videos, Benji, her blue heeler mix pup.

What does the word COMMUNITY mean to you, and why is building one - however we build it - so important for us?

Adriene: Community means a belonging that is based on a deep belief that everyone matters. For me it was always about creating a safe space for people to show up as they are, for them to show up authentically and honestly; that we acknowledge and even celebrate our differences - then we all agree - everyone is loved here, everyone is welcome. It is important that we actively create, cultivate and nurture these spaces so that we can become a more evolved society, improving our own life experience as well as the next generation’s.

All of your followers will be a big fan of your dog Benji. Tell us about him and why he is so special. How did you two meet?

Benji is an 8-year-old blue heeler mix, and was a gift to me as a very small 8-week-old puppy. I was heartbroken after the sudden death of my dog, Blue, and the new puppy was an offering to help balm my spirit. At first, I had trouble with the idea of replacing Blue, but soon I realized that Blue would never be replaced and I decided to receive the gift fully. We quickly bonded. He is an active pup, but loves to sleep and co-regulate with the room while we film yoga practices. For this reason, he is often in the frame - hopefully reminding folks that we are indeed just in my living room, practicing together. No smoke and mirrors here. Benji gets recognized a lot around town, but even when we travel, I have seen the faces of young and old light up as he crosses the street. Which then makes me smile. I delight that he can make someone smile and start talking in such a tender way to a stranger. He’s got the stuff.

How can you encourage our readers to take that first step to fitness? How does moving your body help in every area of your life?

 If anyone has ever practiced with me they may have heard me say that the hardest part is showing up. If you can just get to the mat, I vow to help you figure out the rest. But you have to show up. What happens after that is special because then people start to realize that the journey and the reward are actually in the showing up itself. The calm mind, toned muscles, relieved back pain, decreased anxiety along with a greater sense of self are all a by-product of that practice of showing up for yourself regularly. If you feel like you don’t have time or perhaps you are not worthy of such a courageous selfish act, I would lovingly urge you to be open to another possibility. It’s never too late. Taking that time for you, and being disciplined about it, will create a ripple effect that can transform the way you engage in and experience your relationships and the world. It will show you that how you move matters. And for me, there is no greater way to experiment with this than by making sure you are devoted to some conscious breathing and movement each day.

Describe your yoga journey.

Yoga came into my life through training to be a professional actor. I grew up in the theatre, classic and contemporary, and danced as well. It was not uncommon that we use tools from traditional yoga practice to warm up for rehearsal or performance and I always marveled at how it could change the energy of the room and unite the group, sometimes instantaneously. It was after spending a summer training in upstate New York aged 17 with a professional theater group called SITI Company, whose foundation derives from that of American Ballet and Japanese Noh theatre, both physically demanding methods, along with high-level vocal training (read: breath technique) that I put it all together and enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training at age 18. After graduating I immersed myself in the community eventually landing jobs at co-ops, the YMCA, studios, and eventually creating my own offerings in theaters, warehouses, parks, and art museums. By the time the invitation came to start Yoga with Adriene, I had already started two businesses for guiding and hosting yoga. The first was Love Kids Yoga followed by Austin Darling Yoga. We started the YouTube channel in 2012, uploading one free yoga video a week. As that started to gain traction and I started to see the impact it was having on people around the world, I put all my eggs in the basket. Ten years later, the channel still serves to provide high-quality yoga to as many people as possible at no cost. My personal yoga journey continues to evolve and I believe that also shows up in my teaching. It should.

What do you love most about Austin? Explain the vibe you get from our city, and how you embrace the changes? Name some of your favorite local businesses and places to go.

I was born in Austin in 1984 and I still live here. While I travel a ton for work, I love my hometown and it is a soft landing every time I return. As the city changes, I aim to go with the flow. I also do my best to contribute to positive change whenever and wherever I can.
Most of my favorite spots include good people and good tacos. I love the Valera familia at Tamale House East and I treasure and admire Sara, Edgar and the entire Nixta team. I get a sense of family and community while at these two spots. I also am a fan of those who do great work with impeccable integrity. People like Miranda Bennett and her team at Miranda Bennett Studios, and Val Mirza at Potion Function Skin Co-op. My fiancé and I love to walk Lady Bird Lake with Benji, sometimes finding ourselves walking up South Congress for a sidewalk lunch at June’s. I am also proud to be connected to Practice Yoga Austin, a studio that still feels like old Austin Yoga to me. One where you walk into what feels like a living room, kick off your shoes drop your shoulders and think I’m home.

What do you hope for more - and less - of in 2023?
I am getting married this year in Austin and could not be happier. I feel inspired to slow down and savor more. I feel pulled to operate less out of a people-pleasing mode, and see what happens if I devote each day to creative abundance.

For more information:
Instagram @adrienelouise & @fwfglife

"I was born in Austin in 1984 and I still live here. As the city changes, I aim to go with the flow. I also do my best to contribute to positive change whenever and wherever I can."