My name is Cristina Marie Navaretta and yoga literally saved my life. I now dedicate that life to sharing the gifts I have been given by my teachers with others.
Born in a small town in Arizona, USA, my adolescent years were rife with teenage rebellion, abusing drugs and numbing myself from emotions.
After college, I traded one addiction for another; climbing the corporate ladder became my new drug, my way to find purpose, identity, and respect. My empathic nature and my tendencies to organize and take charge in group settings helped me to quickly move up the corporate ladder. At 21, I was the manager of a large banking center and by 26 was leading large territories worth billions.
I had done it. I had reached the summit of success; I had more money than any single girl could need: fancy car, fancy houses, luxurious vacations, and any material possession my heart could desire.
I also had a gaping hole in my soul: I was trapped, disconnected, and anxiety-ridden.
This lifestyle took its toll on my health when I was diagnosed with 3 autoimmune conditions: Fibromyalgia, Systemic Lupus, and Schrogren’s Syndrome. I spent many months bedridden and immobile with joints so sore and stiff I could hardly grab a pencil. The traditional solution was a series of very intense medication treatments, which caused major side effects that I then needed more medication to address. After several months of this science experiment, I felt hopeless, completely defined and controlled by my illnesses.
My soul and my body were crying out for attention, but my mind was not ready to let go of my lifestyle; it’s where I had derived my purpose and sense of self.
A friend suggested yoga. Starting with only the most restorative postures and eventually building strength and mobility, I built my practice from the ground up, learning to cultivate self love, acceptance and non judgment.
During a Kundalini practice, I had an ineffable experience where something shifted deep within me and altered the course of my life entirely. I felt a deeper understanding of who I truly was, and what I truly desired.
After this realization, I became the ultimate student, spending much of my free time immersed in yogic and spiritual communities. I simply could not sign up for enough courses, lectures, workshops & classes. I began traveling to seek out various spiritual centers. I was searching to learn about and experience yogic philosophy, but it resulted in me learning mostly about myself.
What I learned was that I was ready to leap. I obtained my 200 hr YTTC at Shoshoni Ashram and later my 500 RYT at Yandara Yoga Institute. I began traveling to, volunteering at, and seeking out yoga communities, ashrams, and spiritual centers around the world.
Eventually I came to run a holistic healing center in Oaxaca, Mexico called The Sanctuary and later became the director of a yoga school in Koh Phanghan, Thailand called Samma Karuna where I managed the development and launch of new yoga teacher trainings and workshop programs; and further, innovated and implemented systems to support the growth they had experienced.
This story, my yoga story, is just beginning. I am grateful to my many teachers and soul tribe who have inspired and motivated me on my journey. My passion now is to inspire others to apply their practice on and off the mat, connect with themselves, and recognize that whatever they are searching for, exists within.