Michaela Drageset is a yoga & meditation teacher, hypnotherapist, life coach, and mother of four living in Costa Mesa, California. We recently sat down to talk about life, transformation, inspiration, and what pushes her to live “big”.
WHAT AKAI PRODUCTS DO YOU USE?
I notice a big difference when I'm using the Nourishing Oil Drops Tincture. I can be in the moment. I don't get as flustered or freaked out by whatever's coming next, or whatever's going on. And it's so subtle. It just adds on to all the different meditations and different practices that I already have to be able to handle situations.
AKAI LIFE products are an added tool - a resource for when I'm going through a really hard time or a big change.
As a yoga teacher— including aerial yoga— and a breath work teacher I'm very in tune with how my body feels and any little thing that comes up. This last year I had a bunch of injuries, I had dislocated some of my ribs, I broke my foot. I was in a car accident where I was riding my bike and was hit by a car.
So I had a lot of recovery this last year and that really moved me into full force use of AKAI LIFE, and rehabbing my body in a more holistic way internally.
WHAT DOES THE WORD INSPIRATION MEAN FOR YOU?
Inspiration is like the idea of hope. For me, inspiration has come to mean focusing on your breath. I always tell people that I can guarantee that everything in your life will change. You'll constantly be going through gains and losses. The one thing that will always be there for you, and with you from the moment that you're born and you take your first breath, to the moment that you die and take your last breath - is your breath.
The word inspiration comes from the word to inspire, which means to inhale. So, inspiration and the breath that you take are some of the most important things. Inspiration gives you hope till the next breath, the inspiration that you receive in life is what holds you until you have your next challenge.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I think some of the most important people are probably my mom and my dad—very different people, but very similar at the same time. My mom inspires me because she is the ultimate ideal of giving—she just gives, and gives, and gives, is incredibly energetic as well.
She's very giving, if she sees anybody having a hard time. I have seen her get out and fight fires. I have seen her get out and help people out of their homes when an electric wire hit it. I've seen her help the old lady across the street pump gas.
My dad inspires me in different ways. He is focused and entrepreneurial and creates a path to reach his goals. He’s also very energetic. He’s a big surfer. He's gotten into free-diving recently. He's a triathlete. He travels a bunch. He inspires me to open my mind and look at the longer term and bigger picture, whereas my mom is more in the moment— what needs to be done now and who needs to be helped.
Also, I have four kids age 15, 13, 12 and my youngest is nine. They’ve pulled me in a lot of different areas as well and keep me very busy and having to keep up in tip-top shape, energetically, physically, mentally, emotionally. They've been really a huge inspiration to all of my work and all of my passions that I do.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU LIKE TO INSPIRE PEOPLE?
I think one of the biggest ways I like to inspire people is to get them out in nature. I think that when we get out in nature and use what the universe has given us to heal, our bodies will naturally heal. Our bodies are created to heal. Our bodies are created to feel good.
I think when we're in nature, we really shine the most. So whether it's getting out on the mountain bike, surfing, hiking, skiing… I know personally when I'm out in nature, when I'm out of the city and I can see the stars and I can feel the wind and smell nature—inspiration becomes so much stronger.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT HUMAN NATURE?
Our ability to overcome and transform. I'm in the middle of starting to write a book about techniques to release grief.
I had this epiphany recently that grief occurs when life is stagnant, it leads us to a moment of transformation. It's how we move through all of those transformations of being separated from something— whether it's a person, a relationship, a job, a friendship, an object.
How do we move through that change? Transformation is huge. I've experienced it a lot in my life, and I've had no other choice but to learn to go with the flow so many times. You can't hold on to things, people, or places.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT CHALLENGE YOU?
My challenges are definitely raising kids by myself—as a single parent of four—and just managing life and all that goes with it. I always joke that I like to teach stress management because I understand all the complexities of stress to a T. I've pushed myself emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
The things that keep me up at night would be, if my kids are doing well, how am I going to do this or that? how am I going to pay for college? how am I going reach my goals and my dreams? I recently decided to go back to school full time as well, and so, homework and just all of the household things is really one of the biggest things that keeps me from being out in nature as much as I want, or even living in a place where I would be able to walk out my front door and just be in the outdoors.
One of my biggest challenges now is that I don't live in nature. My work luckily allows me to take people into nature and talk and help them there. I teach them yoga and breath work meditation and read tarot cards in nature. Where I see the most change with clients is when I'm able to take them into nature, and give them tools and resources there, instead of being in a room.
WHAT WORD WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
I think if I had to describe myself the most basic way would be eclectic, whether it's in my work or my passion. First and foremost I'm a mom. Then I facilitate groups in rehabs, and I help people who are dealing with a lot of grief and change with yoga, meditation, breath work, hypnotherapy, and even reading tarot cards. I think with all of that, my work is all very eclectic because I pull it from so many different modalities, and so many different areas.
DO YOU HAVE AN INSPIRING QUOTE OR STATEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
I think this is so cliché, but the one inspirational quote that's always stuck with me in some way or another, is “go big or go home.” When I’m dealing with my hardest challenges, that’s what I always say to myself. I’m still working on living big and going after my different goals and dreams. It’s short and sweet and it’s something that’s always stuck with me.
If we're not going to live big and to our fullest potential, then kind of like, why are we living? If you're not going to go big in life then there's always the option of going home. In some ways, I think that we unconsciously don't live up to our fullest potential, and we live smaller lives than we really could live. When we realize that, it can be an opening for all of those feelings of grief to come in, when we're not living to our truest potential. It really damages us, and it can be a slow damage.