MEET ALLY: Introducing writer, yoga teacher, and entrepreneur – Ally Maz. On a mission to help women come together to rise, Ally founded Girlvana Yoga in 2012 as a way to empower teen girls to build confidence, physical awareness, and spiritual clarity for themselves. Shortly after, Ally created Ladyvana Retreats – Girlvana’s sister business geared towards women of all ages looking to reflect, grow, and explore. In true babes supporting babes fashion, Ally has lead thousands of women through retreats, weekly classes, and workshops around the world. Ally recently moved to New York City and is currently working on her first book to be published with Penguin Random House in 2019.
What does babes supporting babes mean to you?
I have always been a huge advocate of women and girls. I have devoted my life’s work to unifying females by creating safe spaces for them to express themselves through yoga and raw dialogue. It is the very ethos of both my brands Ladyvana (women’s yoga retreats) and Girlvana Yoga (teen girl yoga retreats, classes and mentorship and soon to be a book!)
Do you have a life mantra/motto that you live by?
People can only meet you on the level that they have met themselves, so don’t try to change anyone, just seek the ones who get you.
What does an average day for you look like?
I haven’t really had an average day in a while to be honest. Over the last few years I have split my time between running a yoga studio in Vancouver, to living in the jungle of Nicaragua with my now fiancé and dog. We just moved to New York, so once I am back from the last six weeks of work travels (NYC, Tokyo, Vancouver, Panama) things will start to level out. My ideal would be walking the dog in our neighbourhood in Brooklyn and finishing the final draft of my book soon to be published by Penguin Random House.
What inspired you to start pursuing yoga?
I was 20 years old and needed a place to heal my body, heart and mind. I came to the yoga practice as a broken dancer looking for a healthier way to move my body. I never anticipated it would change my life the way it has. The practice gave me access to my real self and helped me develop a relationship to my intuition so I could start living a life that honoured who I truly was.
What is your most used app?
Instagram and my period tracker app.
What product would you seriously stockpile if you found out they weren’t selling anymore?
Does Annie’s mac n cheese count? White cheddar obviously.
What emoji best describes you?
I’m currently obsessed with surfing, so I will go with the surfer girl.
Who should EVERYONE be following right now?
@traceeellisross is an absolute queen and keeps a beautiful balance of play, fashion and illuminating the real issues going on in the world. Her use of celebrity and activism inspire me.
What is your favourite place to travel to?
Central America has very special place in my heart. I met my fiancé in Southern Nicaragua and spent a lot of time there and in Costa Rica. As I currently write this, I am deep in the jungle of Panama leading a Ladyvana retreat. I’m in love with the rawness of the ocean and jungle and the genuine happiness and kindness of the people here.
Tell us about a Babe who has supported you?
My mom is the ultimate babe and has been my unwavering cheerleader through all of my incarnations thus far. She is real, creative and open minded. She is a true teacher and a beautiful embodiment of wisdom and grace.
How would you describe your personal style?
I somehow find a way of wearing pyjama like clothing in all climates and situations. Effortless comfort while remaining chic is the goal.
What is the most fulfilling part of your career?
Showing teenage girls a new possibility for their life. They often come to Girlvana Yoga retreats anxious, depressed, suicidal or dealing with an eating disorder or trauma. Watching their lives shift from the power of yoga, mentorship and sisterhood is one of my life’s greatest gifts.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
Absolutely not, I thought I was going to be a back up dancer for Janet Jackson!
Do you have a morning routine?
When I am home, it’s a family cuddle in bed with my fiancé and dog followed by coffee and journaling. Regardless of where I am, as soon as I wake up, I pray. I take a moment to say thank you for my life and then give myself a pep talk for the day.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Anything to do with sleep. Also, tequila. Tequila and then sleeping.
What quality are you working on yourself right now?
Currently I’m devoted to staying present. Traveling a lot for work can often make me want to be in two different places at once. Committing to staying connected to each moment is my greatest work, without feeling the pull to be elsewhere.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in business?
So many! I think making the choice to close my studio The Distrikt last Spring. We had an incredible five-year run and I am so proud of what we accomplished however, I knew my heart wasn’t fully in it anymore. Saying goodbye to our community and navigating business, money and the emotional side of it was incredibly challenging. I am so happy to be pursuing Girlvana and Ladyvana full time whilst having more of a personal life for the first time. Seeing myself through that time taught me the most incredible lessons and allowed me to identify a deeper fortitude and resilience I never thought I had.
What advice do you have for those trying to break into your industry?
It takes time to refine your skill, so don’t rush it. It can be easy to compare yourself or want to cross the finish line, but trust me, go slow. Delivering a quality product or service with intention should always be the goal.