yoga teacher and personal development coach
home: the world
no, really: Selena Garefino is a citizen of the world.
she splits her time between Montana and Costa Rica — although she hasn’t had a permanent residence in three years (!) — and that’s when she’s not traveling. as a yoga teacher and personal development coach, Selena leads 200 to 1,000-hour yoga teacher trainings, yoga retreats and adventure trips around the globe a year. it makes sense, then, that she has a few solid practices in place to keep her grounded no matter where she is. we got her to share them with us.
so! how does one become a yoga-teaching, life-coaching, adventuring citizen of the world?
“four years ago i was teaching anthropology at a small university, exhausted and burnt out. i walked away from everything to pursue a vision that i was certain was foolhardy at best. since then i’ve traveled the world sharing my passion and connecting with so many amazing people — it is a life i never could have planned for or imagined and i'm grateful every day.”
now that you’re living this life, what keeps you going? literally?
“my tradition teaches that my awakening is your awakening and yours is mine. i believe every person should have a clear mission, values, and a defined purpose, and my purpose is to inspire, evolve, and elevate those around me through beauty and education, and to provide tools and space for all of our deepest healing. i'm wildly inspired by my students, who are doing the most incredible things in the world: operating non-profits that bring yoga to incarcerated individuals, working in refugee camps with young women, teaching mindfulness in veteran centers. we are all noble by design and we each have a purpose and an offering.
i’m also wildly passionate about women's health. o have a masters in public health and spent many years working in maternal, child, and infant health in global settings like East Africa. all women deserve access to safe birth and reproductive health services and they are severely lacking in much of the globe. ”
wow. how do you make time for yourself amongst all this altruism?
“because of how much I travel routine is important for me. i have serious non-negotiables in my day. i get up an an ungodly hour, usually by 5:00am. then i sit with my coffee and read things that inspire me, usually poetry. i also study, write and do yoga and meditate — it’s a must. sometimes my "office" is a hotel room, a beach cafe, or a coffee shop. i make time for joy, which is easy to do when i'm traveling. i have dedicated work hours and then i leave myself time to play and explore whatever city i'm in at the moment.”
any tips for practicing mindfulness wherever you are?
“1. pause and take three deep breaths. i have a an alarm on my phone that goes off every day at 3:33 and it says "take three breaths" and i do and i invite whomever is with me to do the same.
2. close your eyes and drop in. whenever i’m feeling disconnected taking a moment to just close my eyes and feel brings me right back. sensation is always present.
3. talk less, listen more. (anyone who knows me well is laughing now, i'm quite chatty.)”
speaking of travel, where (and how!) are you spending your summer?
“my summer plans include travel to New York City, Rome, Florence, Athens, and the Greek Islands (i'm leading Goddesses in Greece, a women’s retreat, on Amorgos!) and i’ll spend the rest of the summer at home in the mountains of Montana. i go to Italy every year — it's a haven for me. New York is about connecting with my yoga teacher Abbie Galvin at The Studio. and Montana is home, and where i’ll climb as many mountains as i can muster, float the river, and savor every moment with my friends. there will be early morning bike rides to the farmer's market, getting out in nature as much as possible — hiking, mountain biking, and rafting.”
what are you listening to while doing all that traveling?
“i'm obsessed with FKA twigs right now. and i love audio books — it’s like story time when i was a child. i’m presently on a Brene Brown kick and listening to Neil Gaiman stories. which are very very different things.”
and what are you packing?
“my motto is "there's elegance in simplicity." because i’m always traveling, my style must be easy. the eclipse cami dress — with cute sneakers for daytime on the cobblestone of Florence, and with heels at a café at sunset — is a dream dress.”
we agree. and just one more: got a go-to travel tip?
“plan less, explore more, talk to strangers, always eat the gelato. and pack less. you don't need it. i promise.”