If you’ve scrolled through Utah-native Alissa Kepas’s Instagram, you know that she’s a master on the mat (and off—have you seen her insane yoga in nature pics?). You also might assume that she’s been practicing forever, but Alissa actually first took up yoga in college as a way to relieve stress. Later on, she revisited the practice and, a few months after her daughter was born, started her teacher training with esteemed guru Sri Dharma Mittra. Talk about a warrior woman. We caught up with Alissa to talk overcoming challenges, guiding beginners and finding inspiration.

You’re a teacher – how do your students inspire your yoga practice?

My students inspire me every single time I teach. They try new things, face fears and ask really good questions. I try to become a better yoga instructor and more knowledgable to better serve them.

What are you manifesting today?

I am manifesting love. Manifesting love doesn’t need to be romantic—it can be kindness to everyone you meet or interact with each day.

What advice/words of wisdom do you have for people looking to start yoga?

You do not have to be flexible or a gymnast to practice yoga. Poses are only one part of the practice and lifestyle of a yogi—you’ll start to feel a deeper integration of mind, body and spirit. Also, I recently released an eBook, @10essentialposes, for those looking to start a yoga practice.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your yoga practice and how did you overcome it? 

Initially, the first lull in progress in my physical practice was very discouraging. I had been improving and growing, and then I hit a wall. Like my teachers recommended, I kept practicing despite the lack of progress. Now I find my practice ebbs and flows in its growth.

What Instagram accounts are you most inspired by right now?

I’m so inspired by my friend @joe_lizzzzzz_yoga. Her perspective, positivity and authenticity is a breath of fresh air in the Instagram yoga world. I have always been inspired by NYC yogi and teacher @wearejared as well.

For more inspo, catch up with Alissa on Instagram.