Follow by Email
Mar 092018

Thursday, March 8th marked International Women’s Day, 2018 and this day means so much to me. My journey to becoming a strong woman is always evolving. I feel grateful to have been inspired by the women in my family and the incredible friends, yoga students, and colleagues I am blessed to continue to meet.

As a young girl I was constantly surrounded by women – strong women. My mother is the oldest of seven children, six of whom are women (my sweet uncle) and she was very close with her sisters. Some of my fondest memories were visiting our family in Houston and, after hugging my grandmother, running straight upstairs to see Mom’s two youngest sisters, Aunt Alison “Gay” (whom I’m named after), and Aunt Catherine or “Kitty.” They were both so beautiful and free. Aunt Gay was usually in her room, which you entered through tassels hanging from the door frame, playing her guitar.  Aunt Kitty was usually getting ready to hit the town, and they were both dressed in clothing that matched their personalities. It was clear they were comfortable in their own skin and celebrated their beautiful bodies, a lesson I have tried to embody throughout my life.

The sisters would quickly gather and start sharing stories of their childhood, and the thing that always struck me was how much they laughed together, deep belly, out loud, out of breath laughs. It was impossible not to laugh along with them even if you didn’t have a clue what they were discussing. My mom would often repeat what her grandmother said, “the longer you laugh, the longer you live!”

Soon, we’d head to Aunt Nancy’s house, born two years after my mom and her best friend, where the laughs would continue, and I’d get to play with my closest cousin, Tracy. Aunt Nancy was the first nature-loving tree-hugger I’d ever met, and boy what an impression our adventures left. She taught Tracy and I how to forage for sassafras root to make our own tea, encouraged us to hike in the woods, and skinny dip in their pond. Tracy rode horses bareback and taught her Arabian horse, April how to jump. I always had to ride the naughty horse, Ladybug who threw me twice, but that’s a story for another blog. In any case, both Aunt Nancy and Tracy had such a strong connection with and respect for our Mother Earth that I now so deeply honor and cherish. They set the example, and still do, to stay close to her, savor her beauty, leave less of a trace and leave more of her bounty for all to enjoy.

Tracy and I were always encouraged to embrace our God-given talent and partake in activities that let that light shine. We both loved music, and we’d spend hours in her bedroom writing our own songs and poetry, singing along to songs taught to us by our moms (and there was this one John Denver tune), and acting out plays. This was definitely one of the most creative times in my life. To this day, music and singing bring me great joy and I will continue to sing along like no one is listening.

I can’t even possibly quantify the lessons my mom taught me, though I will admit I didn’t always take her advice. And for many things I owe her an apology. She taught me how to jitterbug, to hug tightly, to share my feelings, to surround myself with friends I can trust, and said not to worry about what I’d study but to just go to college. She was the first and only of her siblings to attend a University. But more than anything, mom was the greatest example of selfless service, or seva as we call it in yoga, and was the biggest example of spirituality in my life.

Outside of attending weddings, funerals and baptisms, I honestly can’t remember ever going to church with my family, yet mom insisted we were Episcopalian. This set me on a path to search for a connection with God from a very young age. I attended church with as many friends as I could. My friend and neighbor, Rachel took me to a Nazarene church any time I wanted, and I even joined her for summer camp a couple of times. I went to Baptist service but that didn’t work out because they told me I couldn’t dance. I tried Catholic church, Evangelical church, Lutheran church, and attended Mormon church lots with my Nana. At the end of the day, just like my mom, I knew I believed in God and that God wanted us to be kind to one another, to love and respect each other, regardless of the type of church we attended.

Mom taught elementary school at a low-income school for 39 years. She spent lots of her own money on gifts and experiences for the children, and every year brought them to our house to swim, the boys and girls on separate days. She gave of herself selflessly because she believed in karma, and always told me to give because what we put out into the Universe comes back to us. And it’s amazing how many awesome little miracles my mom often found in her life. She celebrated those miracles.

My mom so valued the connections she shared with her sisters and friends. I am so grateful she set that example for me as I am doing for my daughter. For my heart is overflowing with the love I feel for my girlfriends, the appreciation I have for their friendship and for our experiences together. I feel so blessed to have met some of the most inspiring women on this planet, and I lift them up and cheer for their successes rather than envy them. Of course, I love the men in my life, and I sing their praises as well. We need both the feminine and masculine aspects of life to stay balanced. But at this moment, celebrating International Women’s Day, I’m embracing the feminine qualities in me: creativity, unconditional love, patience, speech, empathy, compassion, and nature. On this day, I lift up all the women in the world who so selflessly serve their families, schools, communities, and businesses. And on every day, I will strive to help empower women of all ages embrace who they are and love themselves fully.

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.”

Happy International Women’s Day!


Feb 262018

Need a weekend away – for the sole purpose of focusing on Y-O-U? 

On the first weekend of October 2018 you can take the opportunity to sink into a personal refuge in the stunning hills of Ojai Valley, California. Enjoy a customized 3-day retreat with practices that are profoundly relaxing and rejuvenating, and connect with wonderful, supportive, like-minded women in the spirit of self-care. Spiritually reconnect, align and walk away with practical tools which will help you feel more empowered and uplifted in your everyday life.

 Acknowledging that we live in a world of heightened expectations and a long list of to do’s, we want to help shift the paradigm of living to a more present and powerful state.

With that, here’s a sample of what’s on tap from Friday, October 5th to Sunday, October 7th:

Women empowering women!

  • Healing, laughter and discussion in a like-minded, supportive community
  • Restorative and empowering yoga practices
  • Balancing breath work
  • Meditation in nature
  • Space for silence, R&R, reading and journaling
  • Goal setting & personal development work
  • Identifying what you need to let go of in order to fulfill your best
  • Hiking, pool and jacuzzi
  • Healthy meals (vegan and gluten free options available)
  • Massage available for additional fee (pre-booked)

The Setting

12 bad-ass women who deserve a break come together in the hills of Ojai Valley, California, which is located approximately two hours north of LAX airport. The retreat will take place in a beautiful private estate with ample shared space and easy access hike areas. Healthy and delicious food options will be created by a local FEMALE chef. Get the idea? We want to support, connect, uplift, and empower women! So what are you waiting for? Come own, be, and ROCK who you are as we celebrate, motivate and elevate each other. You deserve this.

Pricing (Shared rooms)

$1050.00 – Early Bird Rate (Paid in full before April 30, 2018)
$1250.00 – Regular Retreat Price

 Who is hosting Elevate? More about Ally Ford & Molly Rabenold

 Ally Ford

Ally has been teaching yoga and meditation, and guiding yoga teacher training programs and wellness retreats around the world since 2001. Before launching her health and wellness career she spent over a decade in sales and marketing with Fortune 500 companies and software startups in Silicon Valley. She is a holistic health and wellness advocate and speaker, Earth enthusiast, travel junkie, and busy mommy and wife.  Her biggest passion is connecting with and inspiring other women to take charge of their health, and believe in and love themselves fully. She is committed to helping others incorporate mindfulness techniques to manage the stresses of daily work and life and achieve a deeper overall sense of wellness and peace. Ally currently lives in Belleair, Florida with her husband, 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.

Molly Rabenold

Molly has been in the field of Leadership Development for over a decade. She is passionate about working with individuals at all levels within an organization who have a desire to transform, adapt, and succeed. Her career has been spent in a corporate setting, from gaming to biotech, with a concentration on growing leadership communities and promoting wellness.  One of her life mottos is to continuously learn and grow. She carries this through to her women’s leadership development work through speaking engagements and one-on-one coaching. Molly lives in Westlake Village, California with her husband and 4-year-old twin boys.

Ally and Molly met in 2000 while living in San Francisco. Their friendship has not skipped a beat since they met. While living miles away they still take every opportunity to connect, whether it be through shared everyday similarities like yoga, exploring the outdoors, raising happy little people, continuous personal growth, or simply a good mezcal margarita and laughter. Now they want to expand some of their everyday passions into a powerful weekend for those interested in investing in their personal growth – where a community of women can come together in a beautiful setting and walk away with a more empowered self.

About Our Chef:

Chelsea Shapouri is an entrepreneur with the love for holistic health, yoga, meditation, herbal medicine, Ayurveda, travel, and the outdoors. Her ambition is to guide people to achieve their true authenticity and move away from stress and into balance using her knowledge of holistic living. Chelsea’s passion for health goes beyond just exercise and food. She is currently teaching ‘Primal Harmony’, a class geared to finding the true primal state, at local studios and will also soon launch a cookbook focused on learning how the body responds to thoughts and intentions. Chelsea currently resides in Ventura, California.

Reserve Your Seat Today. Space is limited to only 12 participants.
To secure your reservation, simply either pay only the deposit of $525, or to receive the early bird discount of $200 pay the early bird tuition in full by April 30th. Regular tuition payment in full  is due by June 30, 2018.

Elevate Options

Cancellation policy:

If the event is cancelled for any reason by the hosting party all fees will be refunded. If a participant must cancel, refunds are as follows:

  • all fees returned if cancelled by April 30, 2018
  • all fees less the deposit if cancelled by June 1, 2018
  • no refunds after June 1, 2018

Arrival and departure information.

The retreat begins with a welcome lunch at 1:00pm PST on Friday and closes after Sunday brunch at 11:00am PST. If traveling by air, fly into LAX (Burbank and Santa Barbara are also options). The retreat location is approximately 2 hours north of LAX. We can help arrange transport to/from airports. You are also welcome to drive directly to the site, though guests are encouraged to carpool as street parking is prohibited. Once you have secured your reservation we will send necessary details regarding travel. We’ll also include a list of what to bring as well as a more detailed itinerary.

If you need information prior to booking, please contact us @ Elevateretreatweekend@gmail.com

“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of successful women who have her back!”

 Elevate Women’s Retreat, Fall 2018



Dec 162017

Launch 2018 with a commitment to health and wellness while deepening your yoga practice. Ally has been guiding this yoga studies and yoga teacher training program in Tampa Bay and across the U.S. since 2004 and helped hundreds of yoga practitioners dive into a deeper understanding of themselves through yoga or actually launch a yoga teaching career. That choice is up to you. Either way, this training offers a transformational, healing, and inspirational experience-And it’s a lot of fun! What will you learn:

  • History Of Yoga
  • Benefits Of Yoga
  • Yoga Philosophy And The Language Of Yoga (Sanskrit)
  • Safe Posture Alignment
  • Principals of Sequencing
  • Correct Breathing And Core Engagement (Bandhas)
  • Anatomy
  • Meditation
  • How To Work With Injuries
  • Yoga Teaching Techniques And Hands-On Adjustments
  • How To Get Started As A Yoga Teacher
  • Advice On Continuing Your Practice (Travel To India)

*For a more thorough overview, click here.

Location: Drip Hot Yoga, 1753 Clearwater Largo Rd North, Largo, Florida 33756

Meeting Dates And Times:
Saturdays 9:30am-5:00pm and Sundays 9:30am-4:00pm

  • Jan 27-28
  • Feb 3-4
  • Feb 24-25
  • Mar 3-4
  • Mar 17-18
  • Apr 7-8
  • May 5-6
  • May 19-20
  • Jun 23-34 Graduation

Cost: The total cost of the program is $3250 or $3600 with a payment plan (email  Ally@allyford.com for details), with a $500 non-refundable deposit required to register. Sign up and pay IN FULL by January 5, 2018 and save $200 for a total of $3050. Required texts purchased separately. Teacher training students enjoy unlimited monthly yoga for $39 at Drip.

How To Apply:

You’ll find all the information you need to complete the application form, pay your either your deposit or tuition in full, tips for “How To Prepare,” and a link to order the texts you need by visiting this page: http://www.allyford.com/teacher-training/apply/

What If I Have To Miss A Weekend:

This is a commitment you’re making to yourself and each weekend builds on the previous so it is of utmost importance that you attend all meetings. However, if you must miss you’re allowed only one weekend of absence. Any more than this requires make up time with an approved teacher at your expense.

Overall Mission:

The mission of this program and our experienced teaching staff is to create a safe, supportive, creative, and motivational environment for you to explore your connection to yoga and how it supports your health and wellness. You’ll experience different yoga styles and practices to find out what’s right for you. You’ll connect with your authentic self and like-minded practitioners in a beautiful yoga community. You’ll learn and grow. For just a few of our testimonials click here.


Nov 142017

Overview: Join KPJ Authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Ally Ford for a retreat in the magnificent Valais Region of Southern Switzerland, the heart of the awesome Alps. Breathe fresh air and connect with nature. Take in gorgeous panoramic views of the mountains in a luxurious 4-star resort and spa set in a remote valley. During this retreat, you will enjoy daily yoga and meditation sessions, explore stunning hikes or mountain biking among the peaks, and rejuvenate in the spa’s steam bath, sauna, jacuzzi and indoor and outdoor thermal pools. With 5 spectacular golf courses within one hour’s drive, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast. Join us on this incredible adventure of a lifetime.

6 days / 5 nights
Ashtanga Yoga for all levels
Sunday June 3 – Friday June 8, 2018
Single: $1,800 p/p
Double: $1,500 p/p (Email Ally to specify separate beds or shared bed)
Resort is family friendly and larger rooms are available. Email Ally to inquire.

Yoga and Meditation:

Through Mysore-style Ashtanga Yoga with Ally from Monday through Friday you’ll deepen and refine your daily yoga practice.  Twice-daily group meditation sessions allow you to begin or reaffirm your meditation practice. Feel the connection of collective consciousness while sitting with the group in a beautiful, peaceful setting. All levels welcome.

Location and Accommodations:

Some 14km and 700 vertical meters up a zig-zag road from the Rhone Valley town of Leuk is the gorgeous mountain village of Leukerbad. Gazing up to an amphitheater of towering rock turrets and canyon-like spires, Europe’s largest thermal spa resort is pure drama. Beauty-conscious Romans once took to Leukerbad’s steamy thermal waters, where today visitors soak to relieve sore bodies after numerous outdoor activities, like hiking the Gemmi pass or braving Switzerland’s longest via ferrata (a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, and other fixed anchors). 

Luxuriate at the 4-star Le Bristol Hotel & Spa, a veritable cocoon of warmth and harmony offering the latest and largest private Wellness & Spa center in the region. The Spa features an indoor pool with bubbling water grotto, outdoor pool, jacuzzi and a thermal water biotope. The thermal baths with water at 34°-35° (95 degrees Fahrenheit) supplied from the hotel’s own spring (at a depth of over 2,000 meters) afford panoramic views of the Alps. The Panorama Sauna also has a clear view of the mountains, a steam bath, modern treatment rooms, and over 50 massage and beauty options using Babor products.

Healing Properties of Thermal Waters:

It is said that thermal waters relax muscles, increase elasticity of the connective tissue and improve circulation of synovial fluid into the joints.

The mineral springs in Leukerbad contain predominantly calcium sulfate minerals like Gypsum. With water uptake and release through the skin, ions are exchanged.  Warm water gypsum relieves rheumatic and neurological conditions and helps to ease pain after accidents or injuries. Additionally, these minerals may help relieve sluggish digestion.


Included: The Thermal Canyon Walk is an imposing bridge path that leads 600 meters into the Dala Gorge. Feel the force of the cascading water as you walk along moss-covered rock walls to a 100-foot high waterfall. Stairs then descend to the thermal water’s source, which was said to flow from paradise. Perfectly shaped and appearing almost artistically inspired, the pool lies in the Dala Gorge and fills visitors with a quiet spiritual energy.

Included: The Gemmi Pass is the high mountain pass across the Bernese Alps connecting Kandersteg in the canton of Bern with Leukerbad in the Valais. The pass was used by the Romans and attracted notable historic tourists like Mark Twain and Pablo Picasso. 

You’ll ride a cable car to the Hotel Wildstrubel with a restaurant and panoramic deck offering views of the highest of the Swiss Alps peaks from Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and Weisshorn to the south and the Bernese Alps of the Jungfrau massif to the north. The Gemmi Pass region provides hiking trails and mountain climbing in the summer. You can also take another cable car to beautiful  Daubensee mountain lake for alpine fishing and hiking.
Your trip also includes 2 hours of mountain biking along the invigorating trails or through the quaint mountain village (electric bikes or extended trips with a guide available for a fee). There are 19 spectacular bike trails in and around Leukerbad.
Additional optional excursions available for arrangement through the hotel include a trip to Switzerland’s quintessential Matterhorn Peak (full day), summer tobogganing, and golf.

What’s Included

• 6 Days/5 Nights Accommodation
• Ground Transportation
• Breakfast & Dinner daily (vegetarian options available)
• Daily Ashtanga Yoga & 2 Meditations per day with Ally Ford
• Gemmi Pass Hike
• Thermal Walk Hike
• 2 Hours Mountain Bike Usage
• Usage of thermal pools (33 degrees C), panoramic sauna, steam bath, and fitness room
• Rooms are non-smoking, with private bathrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi access, minibars, TVs, hair dryers, private safes, bath robes and slippers.


Swiss Alps Yoga Retreat Daily Schedule*

Sunday June 3rd, 2018
Arrive at Le Bristol Hotel In Leukerbad by 5:00 PM
7:00 PM Welcome Dinner

Monday – Thursday
7:00-7:30 AM Morning Meditation
7:30-9:30 AM Morning Mysore Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga)
9:30-10:30 AM Breakfast
10:30-5:30 PM Free Time/Hike/Bike/Swim/Golf/Rest/Climb/Explore (or join included* excursions, see above)
5:30-6:00 PM Afternoon Meditation
7:00-8:00 PM Dinner
8:00-onward Free Time

Friday June 8, 2018 Departure Day
6:30-7:00 AM Meditation 
7:00-8:30 AM Led Primary
8:30 AM Light Breakfast
11:00 AM Check Out

*Schedule is subject to change. A more detailed schedule will be shared as the date draws near.

Arrival and Departure Information
Please arrive at the resort on Sunday June 3, 2018 by 5pm for a welcome dinner at 7pm. Check out on is Friday June 8, 2018 at 11:00AM.

You have the option to fly into various European airports and either rent a car or take public transportation to the resort. Here’s a great link with suggested routes to Leukerbad: http://visitleukerbad.co.uk/site/Getting_There

You can also visit this hotel link for location and suggested routes:

Book Now

Pay either the balance in full or $500 deposit to secure your spot. Balance is due by March 30, 2018. 

Booking Options

 Cancellation Policy

You can cancel your booking at any time via notification to Ally Ford Yoga in writing by sending an email.
Regardless of the reason for the cancellation, the cancellation fee will be calculated as follows: 

  • Notification received more than 60 days before the start of the retreat / workshop: 30% of the full fee + $25 administration fee

  • Notification received 31-60 days before the start of the retreat / intensive: 50% of the full fee + $25 administration fee

  • Notification received 30 days or less before the start of the retreat / intensive: 100% of the full fee. 

We recommend you to get coverage through a travel insurance for unforeseen circumstances.  Ally Ford Yoga reserves the right to cancel the retreat / workshop if fewer than 8 participants have signed up by May 20. In such circumstances the participants will be informed promptly and registration monies reimbursed. Any travel costs will not be reimbursed.


/* ]]> */