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Balancing Work and Life Through Yoga and Breathwork

In this episode, Allison Landis of Breath and Flame discusses her journeys with yoga and breathwork, emphasizing the community’s crucial role in these practices. She shares insights into balancing entrepreneurship with personal growth, offering practical tips like letting go of non-reciprocal commitments and journaling for self-reflection.

Allison explores her yoga business, Breath and Flame, which has evolved into hosting candle-making workshops, and breathwork’s potential for manipulating states of consciousness and boosting creativity.

Listen to the podcast episode here!

Allison Landis joined the podcast community today this episode is packed with tons of inspiration and value. Allison owns Breath and Flame, and they offer a variety of services from breathwork yoga classes to guided meditation, and now locally made candles. 

Now Allison’s ability to move through life and find her calling is inspiring something that inspired me. Now, of course, it doesn’t come without challenges as with any one of us, but her ability to lean on her experiences to help guide her and help her figure out what she is passionate about, and really, really enjoys doing is something that I thought was super inspiring when chatting with Allison. 

So in this episode, we talk about building a community how she has leaned on her past to help shape her future, and how breathwork can transform your life. Hope you enjoy this episode with Allison and let us know in the comments what your takeaway was from this episode. Let’s jump into it. Welcome to the show. 

Allison, I’m excited to have you here.

Thanks. Glad to be here.

So your business, Breath and Flame. You do some yoga and some one-on-one coaching. You make some candles. What I want to start with is yoga,  what does yoga mean to you?

So yoga, if we break it down into just the word itself is to yoke it’s to unite to bring together. And so all the practices that I’ve found through yoga, and there are lots of different ways to access the practice, have brought me into more union with myself with whatever that divinity’s highest self is, it’s brought me into a deeper connection with that.

I love that. Where did how did yoga start for you? Where did you get introduced to it? And, when did that start? 

So actually, yoga found me unconventionally, I was doing some CrossFit and loved Olympic lifting and kept kind of tweaking back here and there. And of my, one of my buddies that were working with me, his wife was a yoga teacher, and she started coming in and doing classes with us in the CrossFit gym. 

I just fell in love with it and slowly started doing less and less lifting and more and more yoga. And then when I moved down to this area, I found just a community in yoga, this is where it’s where I started to develop friendships and relationships here. 

So it was just a cool way of kind of exploring a different practice and being able to create community through that as well. 

What do you enjoy about yoga?

Sometimes nothing, and sometimes everything. No, I think what I enjoy about yoga is it’s created a structure for me. So for me as a person, I’m kind of all over the place, I have a lot of water energy just kind of very fluid and can change my mind a lot. And so yoga has taught me to, to build some structure for myself and to do it with some grace.  I can, just showing up on my mat every day and being able to  check in with myself has become something that I choose not to live without

Interesting. Do you think you had that in CrossFit that that structure checking in? Or do you think yoga? 

I think that’s kind of what I was always really looking for And I think even though different, different activities, and different communities, the thread has always been the people. 

It’s been the connection and the community that I built around those things that I do to take care of myself because I think that we all are responsible for our vessels for our well-being. But for me, I do much better when I have a little bit of accountability.

So let’s talk about breath and flame and, where did that where did that start? And kind of just dive into that. 

So in 2019, I was getting ready to finish up teacher training and was just kind of having fun with the creative project of creating a yoga business. And so I came up with this name, breath and flame I love breathwork I love the pranayama portion of yoga. And so I wanted that to be a primary focus in my business and to the students that I attracted. The flame refers to the third chakra which is money pure which is responsible for your willpower energy and standing up for, who you are and what you believe in. 

So for me, that’s, that’s part of yoga part of yoga is social justice and being involved in your community, and just contributing. So I wanted the name of my yoga business to attract the kind of student that I wanted to be teaching. And so that’s where it started. And then, in 2020, over Christmas, I made candles for everyone as a gift, okay. And I have a friend who has a pretty successful soap business, and he came over and saw what I was doing.

He was  I think you should do this your name, your business name is already breath, and you don’t have to change it. It kind of feels like you’re stepping into this thing. He went home and took his mom’s home. And she was my first order, she ordered a bunch of little lemon-scented candles that she was leaving for her clients for a house cleaning business, okay. And so it was just kind of the first, Aha moment in the candle business where I was. 

Maybe this is what I’m gonna do. And so I started creating custom candles. And that was cool because I got to start connecting with my students more personally. So they’d be going through something and oh, let’s make a candle that’s, create some alchemy around that. 

So we started making grief candles and birthday candles and candles when babies were born. And it was so much fun. And then an event came by and somebody said, you should make a bunch of candles and bring them. And so breath and flame kind of got born at a women’s day event. I showed up with a bunch of candles, and it was just being well received. 

I just felt this was the next thing that was this was how I could marry all the things that I’ve been doing. And create an extension of the teachings not only that I was absorbing, but also the teachings that I was trying to put out into the world.

I love that. What did you do before you’re ready? Did you teach at all? Or where did that piece come in?

So before yoga, I still have a degree in photography and marketing. Okay, that’s my background I graduated from school down here at International Design and Technology in 2009. So I had a, I had a photography business and Bushnell for a little while, had a studio there. And then I also worked for a chiropractor. 

So I worked for a chiropractor for about five years in the villages. And so that’s where I started to,  absorb the wellness information, and start getting more into holistic, just ideology and thinking about the whole being and as I had my daughter in 2010 just being more mindful about what we were bringing into our house. 

One of the first things I did was clean out all the household products out of my house. And so it’s really interesting to me that now I’m making these safe non-toxic candles to bring into others. So it’s really cool. All these things have just kind of started to accumulate and become the next thing. So, I just have kind of followed one passion to the other.

What did I want to ask you? The yoga side of it. Did you or the business side? Did you always picture yourself owning a business? Or is it something that just kind of fell into place?   

I was wishy-washy for a long time. I’d go back and forth between, I want to work for myself, I want to own my own business. And then, I just want to take a paycheck. 

Owning your business is hard and quite a spiritual path, if you allow it to be and so I think that working for myself has kind of always been the thing that I’ve been resistant to, but always the thing that has, probably been the thing I’m supposed to. Does that make sense? 

From what I’ve been working through. , it’s a lot of just self-worth stuff believing that I’m capable and knowing that I am. And I think that the biggest antidote to that, for me has one been yoga showing up for myself every day. And the other thing is surrounding myself with community at this moment in my career, and in my life, I am more surrounded by supportive, powerful women than I’ve ever been. 

I think that that goes to show for just kind of what we can do together. Because when I’m kind of pouring candles all by myself in my, in my kitchen, I think I can do a little bit. I think I have this, this idea of a little bit that I can do. 

But then all of a sudden when I step into community, and I have all of a sudden we have people affirming the things that we’re doing.  it just, allows us to elevate what we believe we’re able to do.

That’s a great point, and you bring it up because I think that’s a common misconception about, being in business as a business owner,  you’re in it by yourself there are times when it can be extremely lonely. But it’s important to. What have you done and built this community around you? Whether that’s bringing on staff to help grow the business or having, the support system around you to bounce ideas share wins and losses, all that stuff.

I mean, one of the coolest things, and probably one of the reasons I will continue to teach yoga for a very long time is my students are some of the best community that I have. And I’ve learned so much from them and being able to share kind of what I’m going through I, I teach in yoga, and so there’s a lot of time to be filled they’re holding poses for a really long time, we’re not moving fast. 

So a lot of what I’m talking about in class are things that I’m going through and things that I’m trying to figure out how to navigate. And it’s so cool at the end of class when I have a student come. 

How old is your daughter? It’ll get better And that’s what we need from each other. We need we need these connections to know that, we aren’t in it alone.  But you have to come from, you have to be vulnerable in those moments, too Which can be challenging.

It can be, and we go back to just sharing personal things and letting go of that fear of, oh, it’s gonna come back to haunt me It’s no being vulnerable doing the thing. It’s the thing that releases that. It’s the thing that lets go of that. Because I’ve already told you my story, I’ve already told you that thing. And so what you do with that is kind of on you, but I’m sharing it from a place of, I learned this. And, I think all humans are just we’re just here to learn. I don’t think we’re all gonna have it all figured out. 

No, no, never. Never. , that’s pretty cool. What’s been like since starting your business? What’s been one of the most challenging pieces for you? Balance?

That’s how it’s been, it’s been the hardest part. And I think also because I have such an acute awareness of it, It’s  I’m very aware of when things are feeling out of balance. And so the last three years have been very dedicated to building the candles side of things. And so being present at home, I just celebrated my first year of marriage, my husband. 

So we’re, we’re looking at different life goals and different things. And so, kind of redirecting that and being, okay, my focus is on this family unit first, and then letting everything else be an extension outside of that, and learning how to navigate that has been challenging for me. Because I can get I’m, I can get very caught up in the things that feel they need to go fast.

With candles with business, when things are going well, it almost feels like you have to keep going, you got to. And so I kind of experienced that through Christmas this year scandals, and so it’s marketing, it’s all these things that were so I’m pouring at night selling during the day, I’m teaching doing all these things. 

I just had this kind of moment where I was, I want to go take my kid to see some lights and I was, okay,  we’re pausing cancelled a market. Let’s use these because that’s what I’m doing it for. And I think that no matter who we are, or how much we practice yoga or meditation, the idea is that we practice so that we can recognize these moments so that we can say, Al.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, why am I doing this? Can I, slow it down and just be more present in the places that are here now? I have this amazing friend that I speak with pretty often and she, she’ll read my show me my tarot cards, and we’ll kind of just have these conversations and she said to me one time people are always gonna buy candles, you can always pour them and your family is here now. 

It just had this huge impact on me that starting in January, I just started to make a big shift of, okay, these are having stricter boundaries around my time so that I know that I’m pouring into the places that I want to pour into,  it’s what makes you more creative.

Balancing Work and Life Through Yoga and Breathwork

That’s true. I think balance is different for everybody and even in different seasons of your life balance can change,  what does balance mean for you now? And then what are some, some prac practical tips that you can share with somebody who is trying to find balance in their life?  

Absolutely. So for me now, balance is looking at letting go of things that aren’t energetically reciprocal. And so if it feels  I’m doing something, and I’m putting way more energy out than what I’m getting back, and energy can be anything it can be time, it can be money, it can be the feeling that you get when when you do it. 

And so if I, if that’s not feeling reciprocal if it’s the maybe that’s something I need to let go of? And so that’s one of the that’s just kind of the first thing that I do to check in with is this feeling balanced? Can I let go of this?  

Are you sorry to interrupt? Are you setting a time,  every week to, let me check in with how the business is going, how life or how I feel balanced? 

So, I check in daily, I check in in the mornings, I’ve got kind of my little routine, I walk with my dogs and when I walk in the mornings, my phone is at home. And it’s kind of my it’s I think sometimes in yoga and meditation thinking gets a bad rap. 

But this idea of contemplating of contemplation, of letting go of the judgment of thinking, and just letting the thought roll, and that’s really where I, where I come from, with that, observing the thoughts. It’s, okay, so, if I, if I let go of this commitment, what would that make time for? Where could I fill that time? What would I do with it?

Can I get honest with myself and say if I let go of this? Let’s I don’t know, for example,  if I let go of this class that I teach once a week. 

Okay, well, that’s about an hour and a half to two hours of my time a week, am I going to do something substantial with that? Am I going to rest with it? Or am I gonna sit at home and scroll on my phone? And I just have to be, very honest with myself about that. 

I think that the more that you check in, with those questions you’ve learned how to get honest with yourself, because nobody can teach you how to do that. That’s just one of those things that you have to practice. 

You just got to figure out, what your truth is. And so my morning walks are when I kind of contemplate and figure out, where I want to pour my energy and for the day, what’s, and that’s also a time of reflection? Did I check in with my daughter yesterday?

Did I  sit down on the couch and cuddle her that I, make her feel seen? Do I know what’s going on with her and her friends? , these are those things that, I give myself the time to just wander? And, and that has given me a lot of freedom. 

Because before I would just spend a lot of time thinking and doing the same repetitive thought, and it would be, it’s almost  Doom scrolling. It’d be, thinking of, all the things that were going wrong. And it’s, no, can I flip this and start to, think about what could go?

If I let go of some of these things. And sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But I know that I only have so much time and energy to give each day. And so it’s my responsibility to choose where that’s going. , and just as far as some practical tips, journaling has been a huge thing for me.

\Even just writing down every day,  one thing that you want to be a priority for me. Because I think sometimes when we think about balance, we think that we have to,  have all the pieces we’re hovering them or something. But for me, balance is about, choosing where I’m pouring my energy And not just letting those things pick me. 

Because that can happen. People can oh, come do this thing. Come do that thing. Oh, come on. Don’t you want to come? And it’s, well I do. And this thing is a priority now.

I love that I think for me,  journaling is I’m working through that now.   Thinking those thoughts and, trying to think through different scenarios. And journaling, I feel that’s an evolution.  You just practice it, and it evolves or whatever. 

But one of the things I do now is just whatever is top of mind, or whatever I’m trying to scenario I’m trying to think through.  I’ll just start writing down thoughts about that and questions that I have and stuff. One thing I want to do I haven’t done is go back to, and read what I wrote down. 

I stumbled upon a journal from a time where I was, I was in a pretty dark place. And it was cool to, read it because I didn’t even feel  I knew the person crazy that wrote those words.  I remember it, I’m familiar with it. 

But it didn’t feel me anymore. And so even just those little things of, because we tend to, remember the good and forget the bad,  what I mean? That’s just kind of our coping mechanism as a human And I think that there’s a lot of value. And when we’re in a healthy place being able to look back and go wow, I’m here. 

Because these practices of yoga, happen, kind of, not at all. And then all at the same time? It’s, you’re, you’re doing this practice every day, you’re getting on your mat. Sometimes, sure, I have an aha moment, and the tears flow, and there’s a release, and most of the time, I’m just getting on the mat, and I’m taking the path, and I’m doing the movement. 

I’m just showing up and that is the practice, I think just showing up how you want to show up in life is, gosh, it’s half the battle. Being able to,  you said, show up how you want to show up to have this idea of how I want to show up. I love that. So I want to talk about breathwork a little bit, something that you mentioned before, I’ve read a few things on breathwork. I’ve been to one of Amy’s classes, meditations and stuff there, but just want to hear your thoughts on it, and how it can impact a person.

I feel my whole body light up when my breath works. So breath work, for me, has been a pivotal practice. One of the main practices that I facilitate is somatic release breathwork. And so essentially, it’s controlled hyperventilation, we are bringing the oxygen purposefully out of the brain temporarily and pushing it into the body. 

So I  to give that visual, because what we’re doing is kind of just, we’re not turning off the thinker, or just letting the thinker take a break. We’re turning, we’re just turning down the volume a little bit. And what that does is it allows you to hear the body, it allows you to feel the body’s wisdom, because everything that’s always happening that energy, we keep it in our bodies, it’s not just in our minds. And so this is part of that,  observation. idea.

Is that when we can zoom out and know that we’re not our thoughts, or not our feelings and emotions, but rather, we’re something kind of beyond that And the breathwork technique gives you just this portal into that it gives you a window into knowing that you are so much more than your thoughts and your emotions. 

It gives you a window into your energetic bodies because we have all these different layers and subtleties that are happening within us. I mean, anybody that’s taking high school biology, you start to look at how cells and things interact this is magic? 

And so what’s cool is when we can use our breath to kind of manipulate different different states of consciousness and our bodies, then we kind of get a little window into that magic we get to see some of that inner working, and it’s a little bit different for everybody.\

It can be intense. And so people who are working through complex traumas, people who, are working with a therapist,  doing things breathwork do that with a mental health professional do that with someone. 

For someone who’s looking to be, creative and wants to explore and open up, let’s, and let’s work through those blockages and those things that are keeping you from feeling you can be as creative and as open as you want. 

Typically, those are just the mind judgments that are getting in the way. So that’s where breathwork is really just kind of helped me and I think has been a big tool and helping me refine that skill of zooming out And being able to look at things from more than one perspective. 

Did you learn the breath work through,  the practice of yoga? Is that where all that came together?

So I always give my best friend credit because she called me one day and said, you want to go do some hippie stuff? I sure do. And she took me to a breathwork class down in St. Pete. This really amazing space that used to be open is called intense space. And it’s no longer there, but we went in Did breath work one night? 

The drive home from St. Pete? I was, What did you Where did you just take me? What just happened? And in the weeks following, I was, Okay, this is I think, I think I want to explore this more this is this is really interesting. 

It’s different. And I was just starting yoga teacher training at the time. And so I ended up doing a breathwork training with my teacher, David Elliot, who is out in LA, and it was through when everything was shut down. 

So our in-person training is cancelled. I did my training online with him. And was feeling, again, a little resistant, I don’t know if Is this mine to share is time for me to facilitate this. And I just had this group of people that showed up and said, Will you do this for us? , we heard you doing this leader. 

Easy, and so it was, just one of those things that again, it just opened up. And it’s the practice that I probably share the least often in a group because it is so powerful. And it’s one of those things that,  it’s a labour of love for me to hold that space. But it’s also the most powerful practice that I share. , it’s it’s incredible, especially when people are breathing in the community. 

The healing and the stuff that happens there is cool. So where can people take your classes? Learn from you all that kind of stuff? 

So the candles are kind of popping up a lots of different places now, and super excited. So I’ve got a couple of community partners on meditation and wellness and Safety Harbor. I’m there twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

And I teach at 1030 and 1230 on those days. So my candles are always available there, as well as some of my room sprays, and just little daily ritual tools to help make things more mindful. And then I’m also at savage yoga, in downtown Palm Harbor. 

So I’m there four days a week teaching yoga. And then I also teach an awesome class on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 730. It’s called Hot LSD. And it means a long, slow, deep stretch. So it’s a 95-degree heated room. And then very similar to a yen class, in that we’re holding poses a little bit longer. The music’s a little more vibey. 

It’s just one of my favourite offerings. And then so escape route juicery. carries my candles. They were they were one of the first. Maria’s just been an awesome supporter of mine. I worked there for a couple of years, just as I was starting my business and stuff, so it’s been cool to see them support the candles and then Moon Berry mercantile and tarp and just started carrying them. 

So we are we’re growing and super excited to be able to connect more in the community. 

It sounds like you got all the major cities,  covered now. Spread out it’s, and so what’s nice is I’m hoping that as the wholesale stuff picks up, I’m able to be a little more available for events. And we started a project called the BF Campbell bar. 

So we do private parties and candle-pouring events. And so the next one is at home on May 4, and so we’ll be doing candle pouring and all kinds of yoga nidra and sound healing and stuff. So, it’s been cool.

That’s awesome. Well, Allison, I appreciate you being here. Appreciate your time and sharing your story. 

Thanks so much, Donnie. It’s a pleasure.



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Balancing Work and Life Through Yoga and Breathwork
We Love Local
April 29, 2024
Categories: Podcast