Andrea Marcum, a Santa Cruz, California native, with a background in competitive gymnastics, began teaching yoga in 1999. She opened U Studio Yoga in Los Angeles in 2006. In a city of behemoth yoga studios and famous yoga teachers, Andrea and U Studio have won critical acclaim and success. Andrea relishes in the transformation yoga brings her students and the community it encourages. Andrea is known for her core intensive Vinyasa Flow classes, which appeal to both the famous and the infamous in LA and beyond. She teaches workshops and leads retreats in Bali, Costa Rica and around the world.
Andrea has been featured in Shape, Self, C Magazine, Huffington Post and the LA Times. She writes for Gaiam, MindBodyGreen, My Yoga on Gaiam TV and is a Lifestyle Editor for Origin Magazine. Andrea is an Ambassador for Lululemon and Manduka. She is currently working on a book. Though her early childhood aspirations were to be a fairy princess, she is pretty happy with the way things have turned out.
"Andrea's combination of a challenging class, and a great sense of humor are unique, intelligent, and always leave me feeling better when I leave than when I arrived. She is an amazing teacher and I love her class."
-Heather Graham, actress
Questions and Answers with Andrea Marcum
What does yoga mean to you?
Yoga to me is much more than just a bunch of poses. I enjoy stretching into all Eight Limbs, and using them as tools to help inform and facilitate better self-esteem, confidence, a clearer vision, and as inspiration towards lives that vibrate at a higher frequency. (I grew up in Santa Cruz. Sometimes things like "vibrate at a higher frequency" still fall from my mouth.)
What impact has yoga had on your life?
I know how precious it sounds for me to say that yoga changed my life. So lets get that part out in the open. It did.
The stillness and quiet of my first down dog was so loud and unnerving it refused to be denied. Less is more; was to me an annoying cliche; like something one might find in a fortune cookie. I always lived on the corner of Restless Resistance and Nothings-Ever-Enough. The physical, tangible elements of moving my body in new ways ultimately lead me to deeper mind and spirit; contemplation. Through yoga, even those of us who might feel relatively unremarkable become extraordinary. We discover things we may not even have allowed ourselves to dream.
In what ways does yoga help you off the mat?
With zero previous entrepreneurial experience, I opened U Studio Yoga in LA in 2006. Launching a business in an oversaturated marketplace and revealing my heart to a sometimes-cruel world had me leaning into my yoga in a whole new vulnerable way. The unassuming, persevering warriors, who cross over the threshold and into my heart at U Studio every day, remind me of what matters, to take nothing for granted and that yoga is a yoke within ourselves and also our community.
What do you recommend for people who are brand new to yoga?
Take your time!
You don't get off the plane with one semester of high-school French and expect to be fluent; so why do that with your yoga? Plus, if you don't end up liking France there are lots of other countries to visit; just as there are many styles of yoga. Have fun with your adventure. You'll find different intensities, teachers, aspects of yoga interesting during your sadhana (pilgrimage). With any luck you'll remain new to yoga. Yours is the beginner's mind all the advanced yogis are trying to get back to.
What yoga tips can you share with people?
Abhyasa (practice) and vairagya (non-attachment to outcome).
What drew you to teach the particular style(s) of yoga that you teach now?
As a former competitive gymnast I enjoy an athletic spice to my yoga soup. The vinyasa flow style yoga I teach is a reflection of that. Mr Iyengar said "Penetration of the mind is our goal, but to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat." I think many of us can relate to that. Certainly it is what initially drew me to yoga. I love making yoga accessible to even the most unlikely candidates regardless of size, shape, age, flexibility, carnivorism, caffeine intake or zip code. I truly believe yoga shows us how one, seemingly simple thing, can unleash our potential for anything.