Angela Adto: Founder, Aza Yoga

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Angela Adto, founder of AZA Yoga, is dedicated to providing life-enhancing retreats to exciting and luxurious locations worldwide. She is very passionate about sharing her love of travel. Having journeyed to all seven continents, she has made many amazing memories exploring the classic and exotic areas of the world. Yoga often enhances the beauty of these destinations. She founded AZA Yoga in order to share future adventures with people who are seeking exciting and renewing experiences. AZA means space in Sanskrit, reflection in Swahili, strength in Hebrew, and comfort in Arabic. She hopes AZA Yoga will instill every aspect of these great qualities into your life. Angela has a B.A. from the University of Washington, enjoyed four seasons as an NFL cheerleader, studied theater in Los Angeles, and is now a proud married mother of three wonderful boys. She resides in Scarsdale, New York.

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What do I do best?

I fail. That may seem bizarre, but what I mean is that I’m not afraid to dive right in and make mistakes. For me, the best way to learn is by doing. Failure is a good thing, because it is a constant learning opportunity. A lot of times in business, you learn the most from what doesn’t work than what does. In my business and personal life, I don’t take myself too seriously. I allow myself room for many failed attempts.

When I first decided to start my own business, AZA Yoga, I didn't know where to begin. I made plenty of mistakes (I still do). I was overwhelmed with so many ideas. Instead of letting my thoughts and emotions get the better of me, I just began to tackle one thing at a time. Thus, I was able to make lots of progress and reduce some anxiety.

When it comes to planning a retreat, I create a safe space for making mistakes. I visit the destination first and work out all the kinks. I plan everything to the last detail. I’m with clients for every step to ensure they have a carefree, remarkable experience.

The biggest mistake a person can make is to allow fear to paralyze them. Sure, disappointments are disheartening. However, if we see failure as building our character with fortitude, persistence, and strength, we can become prepared for new ventures and learn valuable lessons.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I don’t think there’s one characteristic that stands out. I am the best version of myself when I am clicking on all cylinders. In business, the balance of being curious, taking initiative, communicating ideas, listening, making tough decisions, empowering others, accepting criticism, and seeing a job to its conclusion are all a part of achieving my goals.

If I had to choose one characteristic that has helped me the most in business, however, it would be my ability to adapt to my surroundings. This includes being able to communicate with a diverse group of people and having respect for all.

What are my aspirations?

In my personal life I have one goal: to raise three wonderful boys into bright, thoughtful, and happy gentlemen.

In business, I’d like to continue to make a positive impact on peoples’ lives. Whether that’s through teaching a yoga class or leading a retreat in a far away land, I want people to benefit from the two things that have changed my life for the better: travel and yoga.

It’s important to travel, get out of one’s “bubble” and be a little uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Travel is the best available education. You learn about the world around you and discover a great deal about yourself when placed in a new environment. Linking life experiences sparks ideas and creativity.

On a mental level, incorporating yoga into your life teaches tools to slow down and hone in on those ideas and inspirations. Physically, yoga builds strength and flexibility, giving you more energy. And emotionally, yoga leaves you in a state of well-being by helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

My Biggest Success?

Summiting Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world at 19,341 ft, was an incredible feat. It was grueling, yet sensational! It was the second hardest accomplishment I’ve achieved.

My biggest success, however, was taking my two passions in life, travel and yoga, and fusing them together to create a business that I’m truly proud to share with everyone. I did everything on my own and it was a big risk. So, having my first retreat come to fruition was a fulfilling moment.

The retreat to Bali was a major milestone and a huge success. Moreover, it was a fantastic learning experience. There are a lot of yoga teachers who do what I do, but what sets AZA Yoga apart is the small group positive, dynamic in an exotic luxurious location, my incomparable accessibility, and my attention to detail. Testing out a number of locations and activities before adding them to an itinerary proves a more than worthwhile task.

My Most Challenging Moment?

My most challenging moment to date happened this year. I decided to uproot my family in Seattle and move to New York. Though the idea of living somewhere new is exciting, it is also scary to leave a beautiful home, close friends, and the comforting surroundings of all that is familiar. But I believe change is good; change is growth. I do my best to embrace challenges, because they are a part of the journey to successfully reach goals.

My Motto?

Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

I love this quote from a very humble genius. It reminds me to ask questions, seek out the things I don’t know, remain thirsty for knowledge, and just wonder about all that I find mysterious.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

In the business world, I admire Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs for two very different reasons. Although I don’t agree with how Steve Jobs treated people, his vision and his ability to carry it out with great detail is something I revere. He created with such passion, he changed the world.

I admire Warren Buffet for having the same focus and precision in business. However, what I find most inspiring about him is his humbleness, while being one of the wealthiest men in the world. He doesn’t believe happiness stems from owning lots of things. In a consumer-based society, that is extremely refreshing.

In my personal life, my mom and dad have been my greatest role models. From them, I have learned what a team looks like when they're most successful and when they're not. Working together and not against one another is a formula for great happiness.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I feel fortunate to have visited all seven continents. Antarctica and the Maldives are clearly two of my standout favorites. At Palmer Station, a US research facility in Antarctica, scientists spoke of melting glaciers, which had risen dramatically. Falling ice shelves, located across from the station, had become so common that people rarely leave their work any longer to have a look. I couldn't help but think back to the Maldives, which I had visited three months prior and pondered that someday they would be engulfed due to these rising sea levels. This will force the islands’ occupants to find a new place to live. That moment was a big reminder of how everything on our planet is connected.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I love any technology that captures moments in time, because pictures can evoke emotions,  convey ideas, and can be a source of inspiration. My two favorites are my iPhone 7 Plus for its camera and my GoPro HERO. I’m never without them in my travels. On, 99% of the pictures on my website have been taken with just these two products.

My Current Passions?

It doesn’t matter where I am, I always want to explore. I put the same amount of effort into a two day trip to NYC as I do a trip to Africa. Researching someplace new and the anticipation of an adventure is half the fun.

I’d like to do more diving and explore what lies beneath the surface of our great oceans. I look forward to swimming with great white sharks off the coast of Cape Town later this year.