1- In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you?
I am a stubborn Capricorn and a relentless optimist. I believe that you can make things better by taking advantage of life’s lessons. Help others. I rarely see evil or meanness in people. I give chances (up to three). I grow out of struggle. I am a doer. I am a disruptor. I am fueled by the love I received from my parents. I am molded by the fire of struggles I encountered, mostly as an adult, but I did my best to turn my life around. If you're hearing good things about me it's because I am all about making noise. And waking up other people as I wake up myself. I do things differently. I hate monotony. Particularly in my field. Many are doing, very few are thinking ahead. I don’t want to be stuck in the same place, teaching the same thing. As the world evolves, we all have to do the same. Upward, onward. No complacency. People think of yogis as easygoing and chill. I have a bit of that, but I also have a strong will and that makes me who I am today. Some people appreciate that; others get scared and disagree when you break the mold. I go to bed and think of all the love I received and of all the people who in one way or another have been positively affected by my teaching or our foundation, and that is fulfillment. I am grateful for our colleagues who inspire me daily to give 100 percent.
2- What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
In my twenties I became independent by moving to a different country. I built myself from scratch. No help. No safety net. I am a minority—I am gay, I am Latino, and, for a while, I was an illegal alien here. I didn’t dwell in sorrow. I was faced with challenges every step of the way. The most difficult challenge that I am still overcoming was being diagnosed with depression. Being slapped in the face with the fact that I, the strong-willed person, could also suffer, and need help. The second thing that I am still learning to understand is how life changes and people come and go, particularly by dying. My mom left. It was the most traumatic experience of my life. But it gave me insights that nothing else could have given me. I knew then why I am on this planet. After my mom’s death, there was an internal shift. I learned not to sweat the small stuff. I got better at prioritizing. I got better at knowing how to use my time and how to live my life. I am an eternal work in progress. But I don’t look back. I look forward. And either you are with me, willing to change and make this world a better place, or you are not. No hard feelings. Life is short. I am committed to making the best out of it for myself and for others.
3- Why did you choose this field? Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are?
I was divinely guided to move to a new country, so I wouldn't have to follow anyone’s expectations of me. I fell in love with Miami because it gave me the wings to be freely gay without feeling inferior. It gave me the freedom to live and love the way I wanted. It was hard to be away from family, but it gave me the strength to become an adult and find my voice. I was divinely guided into yoga; it just appeared in front of me, and I said, “Why not?” Moving to Miami and taking a yoga teacher training were two of the best decisions I have ever made. It came with a lot of pain because I didn’t see my family for more than five years and my grandma passed away. It was bittersweet. My mom and my dad gave me unconditional love, and that's why they are my role models. And it is because I was always given love that I feel that it is my duty to love in return.
4- What is your legacy? Do you care about leaving a legacy?
My legacy. Hmm . . . can I answer later? This Argentinian guy who came to the States with nothing, barely speaking English, lived in Miami and New York City, made some people happy through yoga, helped some people through his foundation. And provided an example of what is possible with determination, tenacity, and, in Spanish, cojones. He didn’t care much about what other people thought, and he followed his gut.
5- What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
At this particular moment, if you are a white person, open your mind and learn. Learn about racial oppression and systemic injustice, watch documentaries, read books, ask questions, and learn about our brothers and sisters who are not white and what they are going through. Learn that because you are white you already have privilege and responsibility. Learn what white fragility means. And together let's make a difference.
6- In less than a minute, without sounding like a used car salesperson, tell us where to find you and what is the next big thing that everyone should be anticipating from you?
Help me make the world a better place. Sign up for Warrior Flow TV. Help us grow. Help The Warrior Flow Foundation. Give, because that is the only way to realize change. Go out today and say “I love you” to someone, even if it’s a tree. Oh, and there is a book in the making.
Warrior Flow Insiders is a series highlighting leaders and change agents in yoga, movement, mindfulness, mental health, social justice, and community outreach. Subscribe to Warrior Flow TV to receive future Insider profiles and other news from Warrior Flow TV. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Warrior Flow TV offers hundreds of classes including Vinyasa yoga, meditation, HIIT, Pilates, Barre, full-body workouts, Yin yoga, Restorative yoga, and much more, all for one low monthly or annual subscription fee. And a portion of every subscription supports The Warrior Flow Foundation. Click here to learn more.