• Dharma Nemani

Meet my mom friend: Elyse Nickell


Elyse and Juni

Elyse is a registered nurse, certified yoga teacher, co-founder of a super cool yoga brand and mom to the sweetest little girl - I mean, how impressive! I met Elyse after moving to LA and am so grateful for our friendship. We chatted about how she remains centered amidst her busy schedule, her daughter's fav yoga moves and more...


Can you share a little more about yourself?

I am a mom to a two-year-old, Juniper, who keeps me on my toes, ICU nurse at UCLA, yogi and co-founder of Sankalpa www.livesankalpa.com. Living in LA allows me to have an active and healthy lifestyle year-round which is very important to me.

You’re always so chill, basically the opposite of me ;) What’s your secret?

Ha, thanks! I don’t always feel chill ;) I think that I’m a calm person and mom because I’ve worked in the ICU for more than ten years. I’ve seen so many tragic and sad cases that I realize how precious life is. To me, it’s not worth my energy to get upset about the small things that won't matter in the long run. My yoga and meditation practice have also helped me remain centered and calm. I take “self care” days every other week to reconnect with myself, this usually includes yoga/meditation or a hike along with acupuncture or massage.


Why is yoga so important to you?

Yoga keeps me grounded, centered, and calm. I live such a busy life and am always on the go so yoga allows me to slow down and connect with my breath and myself. Yoga and meditation are things I do for myself but positively affect all those around me - I’m able to function as a more patient and understanding mom, wife and nurse.


What are some easy yoga moves moms can do with their kids?

Juni and I do what I like to call Stop Drop Yoga :) We stop many times throughout the day and drop into yoga poses and may do a short sequence here and there. Juni loves down dog, up dog and the occasional chaturanga (this girl is small but strong!) We enjoy acro yoga, I’m always flying her and trying new fun moves, it’s a great way to connect and laugh with each other.


We also incorporate quiet, breathing time into the day, where we’ll sit cross legged on the floor and breath and just be. Juni never stops moving so I believe it’s important for her to have that quiet, still time. Once she’s older I’m looking forward to introducing meditation and visualization into her life.


I think that easy and fun poses for moms to show their kids are down dog, upward facing dog, cat and cow, twists and of course svasana. Try out acro yoga if you can and have fun flying your little ones!


We love snacking at your place during playdates! What are some of your fav, healthy toddler snacks to give Juni?

I love to take Juni to the grocery store and farmers market with me and show her all of the colorful and seasonal fruits and veggies. She picks out the ones that she wants to snack on and once we get home she helps me prepare her snacks. It’s fun to get her involved in the process of preparing her snacks. Juni is proud of herself when she helps in the kitchen and is more apt to try new and different foods. Juni also loves green smoothies, hummus, chickpeas, pine nuts and hard boiled eggs.

Which aspects of being mom are most challenging for you?

It is challenging not to be able to go to a mid-day yoga class or last minute lunch or happy hour with friends. Prior to becoming a mom, I was not a planner and honestly planning my days off and/or making plans for the future gave me anxiety. Now that I am a mom, I've learned how to pre-schedule events or dates with my husband and my friends, yoga classes etc. I am becoming quite the planner these days!


What are some things you want Juni to learn and embody in terms of values?

I want her to continue being a good, kind person who treats everyone how she wants to be treated. I want her to be grounded and be true to herself, especially while growing up in LA.

Tell us a little more about Sankalpa!

Sankalpa is a yoga company that my husband, Josh, and I started while living in Chicago. Sankalpa offers artist designed yoga products specializing in yoga mats. Every purchase made supports an independent artist and yogi. We have kids yoga pants which are so fun and adorable! Check us out at www.livesankalpa.com and please use code Elyse20 for 20% discount.

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