Yogi Caley Alyssa's Advice on Heartbreak, Divorce + Rituals



Caley_banner





Caley Alyssa is a yoga teacher, mentor and holistic health coach. You can find her teaching in Venice regularly, as well as leading events and retreats around the world. She is also a co-leader of Women Catalysts, an organization that brings women together in cities all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver. Follow Caley's adventures on Instagram @caleyalyssa.

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK
“The first heartbreak I had was finding out that my boyfriend had cheated on me in high school. It was a silly thing. He had kissed another girl, but for me, it was really dramatic and traumatic. He was my first love and we had dated since I was a freshman in highschool and it happened our junior year. The part that was most traumatic was finding out that my friends had known as well. We come from a very small school. My best friend knew and all of his friends knew, so I felt not only so hurt, but also humiliated. I found out when we were at a summer camp together and I was kind of stuck there. We broke up because of that.”

DECIDING TO FORGIVE
“My camp counselor was the first person that I talked to and that was actually the best possible scenario. She was amazing and really helped me through that. She told me, ‘You need to make the choice. Either you want to forgive and move on or you can hold onto this and let it be toxic.’ Honestly, I think he and I were only broken up for a week or two. I knew that I was going to marry him from day one. I loved him. It really hurt, but I knew that I would get over it.”

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“I ended up marrying him [my high school boyfriend]. Once we graduated college, we moved in together in San Francisco. We lived there, got married and moved to LA. And it ended up not working out with us. We were together for 15 years, dating for 10 and married for 5. It could have worked, but I think there were some hurts he couldn’t get over and patterns that were too hard to change. We lacked balance. When we got married, we registered at REI and never used any of it because he worked all the time. When we moved to LA I had to start all over from square one. It took time and I was reliant on him for income. We only had one car. I think resentment started to grow, while I was building my yoga career. So finances were part of it, but also just resentment. I didn’t want to move to LA. I gave up everything. In SF I had great friends, a great job. I was angry at him at first. Also, if I’m being really honest I ended up cheating on him while we were married about a year into our marriage. I told him about it. For me, the cheating wasn’t emotional at all. I felt sort of like a sociopath. Really it was just something that I had never experienced- being with someone else. So I told him when I got to LA and that was hard for him. He was willing to get over it, but I don’t know if he could. So, finances, cheating, resentment.”

COUNSELING
“We separated first. He came home and told me that he was splitting up our bank accounts, and he didn’t even tell me ahead of time. I love him very much and he is a good man, but that was just not good. Also I think it’s hard as a yoga teacher being around other people who are connected in a spiritual way. They are constantly seeking to experience and explore and grow. And then I was coming home to a man who was checked out emotionally and had no spiritual component to his life. He relied on me to bring that, but then he didn’t bring anything to me. We were separated for a year and I moved in with a girlfriend for a few weeks, before finding a place to rent with another girlfriend.”

Caley 1

TAKING SPACE
“In the separation, we just took space. We took three weeks and took space, and then when we met we decided we should try dating once a week to see how that goes. I found myself dreading the date nights and picking things like a movie where we wouldn’t have to talk or interact. I think it was hard and the stuff we needed to talk about was so hard, so it was tiring and emotionally exhausting. It got to be too much. I think I knew when I moved out that we probably wouldn’t make it. After the first few months of trying to date it just really didn’t go well. He started to know I was done and he started to give up too. Towards the last few months of our separation, I started dating other people. I knew when I was dating other people that it was done.”

MOVING FORWARD
“To this day, all I have for him is love. He’s such a good man, and so is his family. That was such a hard part because we had grown up together. To lose a family and a husband was huge. Like this weekend my sister got married and he called me to wish her good luck. He talked to my sister and mom too. But we talk only when we exchange the dog or about big things. I don’t have a vision for how we’ll be in each other’s lives going forward. I never actually thought about that. It’s strange to think about being around him and another woman, or me and another man. We’ve not done that. I know he’ll be there on my deathbed, but other than that I don’t know how involved we can be in each other’s lives. It’s so hard. Because right now when I look at him, I feel sad and there’s a lot of emotion around that.”

HER RITUAL
“Our divorce was just finalized. We were separated for a solid year and the divorce took about a year because the court lost some of our paperwork. When the papers came in the mail, I just put it in my file folder. It was surreal. Last year I went to Burning Man and it was my first time. And there is this thing called The Temple and it changes every year. It was a huge wooden structure that was very somber and quiet. People write inside and outside of the temple, and the day after they burn the man they burn the temple. The man burn is a big party and the temple burn is a very quiet, respectful experience. Walking in the temple was when I recognized what I was going through and I just broke down as soon as I walked into the space. I started sobbing. This guy came up to me and handed me a pen. And our song is Nickel Creek, a bluegrass band, called When You Come Back Down and some of the lyrics are “When you’re soaring through the air, I’ll be your solid ground. Take every chance you dare, I’ll still be there when you come back down.” So I wrote the lyrics to our song on The Temple and I really wanted to stay and see it burn, but at the same time, I had my moment there. For me, that was my release.”

HOW SHE MENDS
“I saw a therapist twice a week. That little pup over there [points to her puppy lounging in the corner of the room], he is amazing. The day that we decided we were going to get a divorce, when I got home, I just collapsed on the floor, sobbing, and this little guy came, licking the tears off my face. He’s an amazing little thing. He’s helped a lot. Yoga helps me for sure, and meditation. During this time, I started going down to the beach every morning to meditate by myself. Then my roommate started joining me, and then our house would go together, and then we started bringing friends, and we’ve started a little community around Monday morning meditation. We meet at 7:30am, walk down to the water and do a group mediation. That helped a lot, building that community and surrounding myself with people that were positive. And also, I just focused on my career. I dove in. I started this show with NBC. That was huge because it was my first big break and that took a lot of my time. And I really just focused on shooting as much as I could. And getting in as many other jobs as I could. That helped a lot too.”

Caley2

AT THE BOTTOM
“I had never been single. I didn’t know who I was so I kind of took some time to find out who I was. And it was hard because when I left my ex, I didn’t take anything from him. I didn’t ask him for money. I didn’t even take any of our furniture. I literally took nothing. I wanted nothing. I literally wanted a fresh start. He owed me nothing, you know. That was hard for me because as a new yoga teacher in LA, I wasn’t yet established. I was literally scraping by. I had to ask my mom for help. I was in a really bad place. So I totally went through a transition. I was broken down. I was at the bottom. But it’s been amazing. I thank my ex for moving me to LA. At first, I hated him for it, but it’s been so good. I really have been so lucky. I’ve had amazing people supporting me and the right opportunities coming my way without even looking for them. I feel really lucky.”

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE
“For me, it’s been a learning process because I only knew 1 person. So I did go out and date a little bit and did explore. And now I’m in a relationship with someone who is the complete opposite of who my ex-husband was. And so I’m learning new things. I’m learning a whole lot about me actually. About how I interact and how I communicate. My ex and I just created these habits and we really didn’t know that they existed. Now that I’m with someone else, I’m learning quite a lot.”

MARRIAGE
“I asked myself, ‘What do I want from a relationship? Do I want to get married again? Do I want kids?’ And in reality, yeah, I would get married again. I would not ever do a big wedding. I want to be on a beach in a white bikini with my man, and that’s it. I don’t care about anything else. And I think that that’s one of the problems with marriages, that it’s an event and a party, and I think we take it very lightheartedly in our culture. People don’t realize how hard it is and how much work it is on a daily basis. It is something that I would walk into again, but I would not do it lightheartedly.”

HER MANTRAS
“There are two quotes that are huge for me: ‘Rise by lifting’ and ‘Does this limit or liberate you?’ Those are the two things that are constantly with me.

WHAT SHE’S WORKING ON
“Teaching, modeling, retreats, filming. Most days, I teach 1 or 2 yoga classes. And I travel a lot. I am going to Tulum next week with Alo. They sponsor me right now and they’ve been amazing. My girlfriend Philosophie and I are working on this project called Step Into Your Power. After going through our own transformations, we really wanted to help other women successfully get through whatever they’re going through, accomplish their dreams and goals. We feel like we are now living them and we want to help other people do the same. So we’ve created this 3 part workshop series, which we hope can become week-long retreats.”

HER INTENTION
“Live clearly. Because I’ve had so much support in my community, I often get wrapped up in it. And lately, I’m trying to find more solitude and solidarity and that helps me be very clear of what it is I really want as opposed to getting wrapped up in other people’s things. To live clearly, honestly, integrity, and earnestness as much as possible.”