Meet Candace. She’s an international yoga instructor, entrepreneur, author, health blogger, and social media maven who fell in love with yoga at the age of 15. Ever since, her passion for the practice and her love for health and wellness have taken center stage. Candace is the founder of modern yoga lifestyle company YogaByCandace LLC, author of Namaslay, and has built an unstoppable social presence, all with the goal of inspiring others to live their very best life.
Harney & Sons had the chance to chat with Candace about life, wellness, yoga, and her love of tea. Read our interview with her below!
Harney: How did you get started with yoga?
Candace: I grew up in the Northwestern part of Connecticut, and when I was in high school, my mom dragged me to Kripalu, the yoga center in the Berkshires. I was a bratty fifteen-year-old at the time, and the last place on earth I wanted to be was at a yoga center, but I actually fell in love with meditation and the yoga practice there, and wrote about the experience in my new book, Namaslay, which is now available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, and most major bookstores in the world.
Harney: What are the benefits of yoga?
Candace: I think the real question is what doesn't yoga help with?! No, all jokes aside, yoga is fantastic no matter who you are, what you do, or where you live. Poor posture? Yoga. Are you an olympic weightlifter struggling to make gains? Yoga. Are you stressed out? Yoga. Dealing with anxiety? Yoga. Can't focus? Yoga. Ten years old or a hundred years old? Yoga, without a doubt, will be helpful.
Harney: Why is teaching and practicing yoga your passion?
Candace: My book Namaslay is mostly a yoga book, but little bits of my own personal journey are woven throughout and what it comes down to is this: Years ago, I contracted Lyme disease and it went undiagnosed despite visiting doctor after doctor. Finally, by the time I got a diagnoses, I could barely walk and it was beginning to affect my brain. I fell into a deep depression and almost gave up, but there was a voice inside me that encouraged me to keep the faith. To remain positive. To keep pushing forward. And I made a promise to myself that if I got better, I would stop living small. I would go out and make my dreams a reality. I come from a background of education (I used to be a Spanish teacher), and teaching has always been a passion. Even when I was a little girl, I would play "school" with my brother and I'd be the teacher and he'd be forced to sit through "class" as I taught cursive. I just loved sharing knowledge. I also loved traveling and entrepreneurship.
So when I did finally get better, I set out to create YogaByCandace LLC. We are a modern yoga lifestyle brand with a popular blog that welcomes two million people per year. We also run a free yoga YouTube channel that reaches over 150k people. We also curate a quarterly discovery box called Mantra Box® that aims to shine the spotlight on small businesses in the health and wellness spheres that we love (and we're thrilled to work with Harney and Sons for our summer box)! We also lead luxury yoga retreats worldwide — our next ones are taking place in Maine, Greece, and Kenya.
Harney: Why is eating healthy important to your practice?
Candace: Eating healthy is of the utmost importance to me because when I eat well, I feel well, and when I feel well, my life is just better. After being on longterm antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, my gut was a disaster. I ended up following a very strict healing GAPS diet to help heal and seal my gut lining, and now I feel the best I've ever felt. While I no longer need to follow that diet anymore, I believe in eating everything in moderation. I love food — all food!
Harney: What inspires you to focus on your health and live your best life?
Candace: Life is too short to not follow your dreams and do what you love. I always say that I am grateful for my darkest hours and biggest challenges because without them, I wouldn't have realized what I wanted out of life. Ultimately, the years I spent fighting Lyme disease and regaining my health were my biggest blessings because now I do what I love, and I don't think I would be here if it weren't for that time in my life.
Harney: When did you discover Harney & Sons, and why do you drink it?
Candace: Harney teas originated very close to where I grew up, and everyone back home knows the family name and the teas. The brand is just sort of inherently a part of that area of Connecticut, so I don't remember the first time I discovered them, but I remember my first trip to Amsterdam about six years ago. I'd just wrapped a yoga work commitment and popped into a little cafe for lunch. They had a shelf where they sold various artisanal products — high-quality chocolates, truffles, and Harney teas! I snapped and pic and tweeted them. It made me feel like I was home. I drink it because I trust the quality ... and it tastes delicious!
Harney: What is your favorite type of Harney & Sons tea?
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us and share your story, Candace! To learn more about YogaByCandace LLC, visit yogabycandace.com. All photography in this post has been provided by Candace @yogabycandace.