We had the good fortune of connecting with Isabela Fortes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isabela, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
I have been taking risks since I can remember. How do I assess the risks worth taking? Instincts. Yep, gut feeling. I would not be here or who I am have I not jumped face forward into big adventures. I was born in Brazil and at age 15 came to the US as an exchange student. My english was not great, I had a great life but I knew in my heart that was something that I just had to do. Ended up not only graduating high school but getting a degree at Boston University and got back home with an awesome job in the pocket. Fast forward a few years and decided to drop a promissing career to move to an Ashram in India with no return ticket. From India I moved to the heart of the Amazon Forest to work for a non governmental organization helping find sustainable solutions for local population. Met my husband an american sourcing Acai in Brazil and moved back to Rio de Janeiro. Put all my resources and raised on another risky adventure, build the biggest Wellness Center in Rio. Pioneering wellness and yoga at a time that this was left for hippie and new age crew. Found one of the first organic Cafes in Rio, had a line of organic and sustainable clothes and a wellness SPA. It was a materialization of a dream. Then came pregnancy and I decided to take another big step and sell my business and move to the US to start my family. This was 13 years ago. Now, after an established Iyengar Yoga career pivoted to include functional nutrition to my mix. I guess I can say that my life is all about risk taking.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I help people heal by connecting with their true Self. I feel my talent is to have deep intuition to relate to people’s pain, and a highly skilled and analytical brain that allows me to combine science with a smidge of woo woo and help figure out the root cause(s) that will allow people feel to better and heal. As a yoga teacher I started to feel stuck when my students would present issues and concerns unrelated to the hatha yoga practice I was teaching. Being a researcher myself and having dealt with a lot of health issues (I had many diseases as a child and cancer) and trauma (I was kidnapped) I felt that I had a lot to share to ease the burden of the students. Spite of all the difficulties I never lost my spirit. However at some at some point I felt I needed more education in nutrition, how to interpret labs since I was not finding the help I needed myself in the conventional medical world. I was doing all the right things, thought I was eating the right stuff and yet not feeling as best as I knew I could. That prompted me to go back to school. Now I feel that I can close the gap and connect the individual as a whole. We are mental, emotional, spiritual beings with a human body. I feel that when we do not address all parts with the same degree of attention we will miss out. I think nutrition can only take you so far if you are an emotional wreck. And yoga will take you very far, but you can soar if you have a healthy vehicle !
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I would take them to eat at my house where my husband and I would cook a great organic, healthy and delicious food. We could walk downtown San Clemente and explore perhaps South of Nicks or The Cellar. Or grab a coffee at Bear Coast by the ocean. We would go to the beach, Trestles or some local San Clemente beach. On another day we would explore the water falls up on Ortega Hwy. Maybe get on a little road trip to some National Parks like Zion of Yosemite. It it is winter we could ski in Mammoth. I have a fun community of diverse friends here in San Clemente, people from all over the world, brazilians, russians, hispanics and american friends with artistic and diverse skills and we would probably just hang and watch the sunset, gaze at the stars and talk about life.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and the Siddha Yoga lineage has changed my life, BKS Iyengar changed my career. Currently Dr. Joe Dispenza has been a great inspiration.
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