About Rise & Align
In its simplest form, Rise & Align is a space that offers free and donation-based yoga, accessible to anybody who wants it! That's it! And yet, it's so much more. It's a place of community and connection and healing and empowerment and encouragement and inclusivity- all through yoga!!
Keep checking back to the website to find out where you can find classes, how you can contact me here at Rise & Align and learn more about what Rise & Align is up to!
I'm Nicole Lang! I am a yoga teacher, an archaeologist (although I have taken that coat off and put it in the closet, it's still a part of who I am), a wife to a brilliant writer and mother to the most amazing little human on the planet, Bodhi (and believe me, she really is my own personal Bodhisattva).
My journey to creating Rise & Align started in 2014 but I know for sure it's been written in my bones since birth. I have been practicing yoga since 2008, a year after I started my recovery from drugs and alcohol. At the time, it was another form of physical exercise I thought I would try to stay fit and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I found myself practicing outside of whatever studio I would go to just to experience the calmness and safety I felt through my practice. And let me tell you, calm is definitely not something I was in 2008, and something I really aim for in the here now, so that is what attracted me so much to yoga. I really loved how it made me feel, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I felt strong and confident on my mat and that began to translate into my everyday life.
While getting my undergraduate degree at University of California, Berkeley, I started attending the yoga studio, Yoga to the People. This studio was based on the Power Yoga Practice of Bryan Kest and had the philosophy that yoga really was for all people, therefore all of the classes were donation based. This studio was my haven. Not only was I a college student that was both broke and desperately needed a yoga practice, I also loved the diversity of people that I was taking yoga with. Up until this time, my experience with yoga studios was usually that they were an expensive luxury, rather than an accessible life tool, and classes typically lacked any kind of diversity.
During that same time, while attending classes at Berkeley, I took an anthropology class called "The Anthropology of Violence and Trauma". I had the impression that this class would be about how you can tell there had been violence or trauma on actual fossil remains, but boy was I in for a surprise. It was a Psychological Anthropology about how violence and trauma impacts the human mind, body and the collective whole of communities that have experienced violence and trauma. Holy Moses, let me tell ya, this class got my right in the gut. I learned so much about trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in that course but the most influential part of the class was the experience I had with myself and my own personal trauma. I never thought that the hard experiences I had had in my life qualified for having PTSD, that is how little I knew about trauma.
I distinctly remember sitting in class, having my teacher talk about how trauma is stored in the body, and actually feeling the trauma stored in my body almost bubble up to the surface. The first thing I did after getting out of that class was get my yoga mat and head to my studio. During that practice, I realized that I had been working through my trauma, on my yoga mat, since early recovery in 2008. I just had no idea I had trauma or that I was working through it.
From there, my yoga journey continues to evolve. I got pregnant with my daughter in 2014 and kept up my yoga practice throughout my entire pregnancy. I felt so strong and able and feminine and like such a warrior during my pregnancy and I'm convinced its because of my yoga practice. And then, my daughter was born and everything changed. I struggled with postpartum depression almost the entire first year of her life and couldn't bring myself to get on mat. I just couldn't. And through a sequence of events that is way too long for an already too long bio, I decided to welcome myself back on my yoga mat by signing up for a 10 week, 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Through this training I went right back to doing what I had been since 2008, working on myself- my whole self, mind, body and soul, on my mat. Healing myself, loving myself and accepting myself however I would show up on a day to day basis. And always knowing that as long as I was within the four corners of my yoga mat, I was okay. During my training, I attended a Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher Training through UpRising Yoga in Los Angeles. That training shifted my whole being. I learned so much and I walked away from my time there knowing that Rise & Align- providing a welcoming place of healing and acceptance through yoga to EVERYBODY for free- was exactly was I was supposed to do in this world. It is this passion that has led me to become a community partner with The Yoga and Body Image Coalition- a grassroots organization whose mission is to develop and support body love through accessible, body positive and diverse yoga practices. I am honored to be a diversity activist in the yoga community alongside some truly amazing and inspiring yogis and diversity advocates.
So that's it! That's me in a nutshell- well, some of me. If you want to know more, listen to my podcast, you can find it under the podcast tab, or email me! Any time!
University of California Berkeley
- Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology
- 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher Training
- 20-Hour Hot Yoga Teacher Training CE
- 20-Hour Trauma Informed Yoga CE