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#ODDlight Feature, Kids Yoga Teacher – Bianca Cueva

Each month we bring a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminate their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those people you see in class!

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Name: Bianca Cueva

Nick Name: Binky, Bonky, Binks, Biancs, B. :))

Hometown: The Philippines

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Favorite Place: The beach. And wherever friends and family are. <3 

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Favorite color: Blue-Green (the color of the ocean approaching the shore)

What’s your sign? Sagittarius

Most embarrassing moment? I fell…not tripped, more like…ate the floor, at prom.

Most empowering moment?

When my little siblings were born. Being a big sister is the biggest and most empowering responsibility. I have a younger sister and brother who mean the world to me and who I am so proud of.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?

I used to be really into spinning fire. It’s a flow art known as “poi” spinning. I’m also an actress! Why else would I have moved to Los Angeles? 😉

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Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.

On a trip to Bangkok with some of my closest friends, I was almost stranded at the airport on the way home. Long story short (because it is a LOOONG story), I am dual citizen (Filipino-American) and at the time did not have the right documentation they required to prove that I was a Filipino resident. They thought I was just an American, and asked me how long I planned to stay in the Philippines when I had been living in the Philippines for majority of my life at this point. They wouldn’t believe me because I didn’t have the “right dual citizenship documentation” they needed. I presented my driver’s license, birth certificate, a document proving I was born of two Filipino parents, an authorization letter saying I was allowed to travel, and other major IDs, but nooooo. I had never made so much effort to convince people that I was who I claimed I was. It was crazy, felt a little like identity theft. :))   unnamed-4

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?

I love going to the beach when I can! And I love that California is perfect for that. When I have extra time and money, I also enjoy watching concerts and shows, seeing new places and attractions (like museums, record stores, book stores), or going out of town with friends. When I have good money and even more time on my hands, I love to travel whether that’s back home to the Philippines or to an entirely new place I’ve never been.

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How do you define yoga?

Yoga is a relationship, a connection, a FRIENDSHIP (I like to think) that you have with your physical body, your spirit, your breath, your mind…with people, and strangers, and living things, and unforeseeable circumstances, and opportunities, and trying times, and victories, and embarrassing moments (I can go on and on)…that enables you to live joyfully. Yoga happens wherever you are, as you are. Yoga for me today is taking an ancient practice and philosophy and using these beautiful, universal values and practices to see life through the lens of light, compassion, kindness, and joy.

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Why do you teach?

I teach because it makes me happy to share something beautiful with others. I can simply practice yoga on my own and keep the awesomeness all to myself. But there is something about sharing the yoga experience with other people in the room, helping to facilitate movement and breath, guiding students through a flow, meditating in stillness together, sharing stories, laughing and giggling together that makes my heart warm. I mostly teach families and kids, so I have a soft spot in my heart for that type of yoga. Seeing parents, children and their friends or siblings practice together, having a fun time doing it, connecting with each other as a family and sharing that moment with the other students in the room with them reminds me why I do what I do. Family and community, coming together and being open. I’m all about it.

Family Yoga LA

What brought you to become an instructor?

I have always worked with kids and I’m passionate about that. I was a preschool teacher and a performer for kids’ events before I moved to LA. I knew I wanted to teach kids, but never considered teaching Kids’ Yoga. What brought me to being a yoga teacher is simple. I wanted to grow more in my practice and learn all this information, so I joined ODD’s 200-Hour Teacher Training in 2015. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a teacher then, but the training definitely made things clearer as I went through it. I knew then that I wanted to integrate what I learned and use this powerful practice to bring families together and to teach kids the magic of stillness and quiet as well as spontaneity, fluidity, and movement in order to help them become more confident and comfortable in themselves and their dreams. 🙂

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What is your favorite song to play in class?

Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles. It was one of my mom’s favorite songs and it immediately reminds me of her.

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What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?

Gotta stick to tradition here. I love flowing through Surya A. I’ve done it plenty of times, but it teaches me something about myself every time I practice it. It sheds light on how balance comes to play in yoga: effort and ease, structure and spontaneity, strength and grace. There’s something about flowing through that Vinyasa: starting out lifted, then taking it to the ground, opening the heart, activating the back, inverting in Downdog, and closing out with Urdhva Hastasana—an upward salute to the sun, sky, universe, to life or love, what have you. It’s like my moving metaphor.

Memorable yoga moment?

I was teaching one my kid students in her home and we were practicing Warrior 3. We were pretending to be airplanes, balancing on one leg and with our arms stretched to the side like wings when she says, “This is your captain speaking. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight. And those of you in Coach, you don’t get any free food.” :)) I cracked up!!! That’s why I love teaching kids. They are unpredictable and really do say the darndest things. 🙂 Teaching kids teaches me to see fun and silliness in everything.    

Family Yoga Los Angeles

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc):

My favorite prop is a yoga block or bolster. There are so many possibilities and cozy modifications you can use them for. And my favorite yoga piece is a mala (I wrap it around my wrist) that I made myself out of a mala-making kit that one of my co-teacher trainees gave us during our last day of training. It reminds me to keep learning as I did in my teacher training, to always be a student of yoga. 

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? (We will want to be more non-profits and would love to do so on your behalf):

My mom, who was my best friend in the whole world, passed away from cancer on November 12, 2013. I would love to support non-profits, organizations, or any cause that supports cancer patients and works towards cancer awareness and research. PS.: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in sharing you and your happenings?

#ODDKidsYoga #ODDFamilyYoga