What is a Walla? Why Yogawalla?

I hate the term yogi. It either implies you're an enlightenmen- aspiring monk who lives on a remote mountaintop or, worse, it means you're a New-Agey hipster who thinks "balancing your chakras" is the key to solving all your problems.

If you're like me, you're neither of those things. You're someone who thinks that doing yoga might help make life a little easier: whether that's being able to bend over enough to tie your shoelaces, manage your stress-related health issues or to set clearer boundaries with your mother.

When I started teaching yoga I realized very quickly that I needed a business name. I didn't want to name it after myself for two reasons: 1) I wanted the name to reflect the people I was teaching rather than making it about myself and 2) my name throws people for a loop. Most people have no idea how to pronounce my name and when they see it spelled, it just confuses them more (my name is pronounced jay-sull, by the way).

So, on the suggestion of a friend, I went with Yogawalla.

The suffix "-walla" describes someone's occupation, hobby or involvment with a craft, business or activity, or describes where they come from or what they wear.

It can be spelled many different ways, like "-walla," "-wala," "-vala," and "-wallah." If these suffixes end in an "i" as in "-walli" it will indicate that a female is being described.

In India, you might find a chaiwalla (someone who's occupation it is to make and serve chai), a rickshawala (a rickshaw driver) and many more "wallas." The suffix can also be used as part of a last name, similar to the suffix "-smith" (as in Blacksmith, Goldsmith, etc. in the U.S.).

A yogawalla is just someone who does yoga.

So, while yogis and yoginis are dedicated their entire lives to the study and practice of yoga, anyone can become a yogawalla.

I created Yogawalla NYC so that I could bring my clients a practical, no-nonsense approach to applying the tools of yoga, not just to a session, but to everyday life.