By Maryann Rose

La Jolla resident and yogi Alex Arias is living proof of the benefits of yoga for optimal whole body health. A native of Ecuador, she grew up loving dance, becoming a professional ballerina and traveling Europe at age eighteen with the Ecuadorian ballet Company. Arias retired from ballet in her twenties when she married and started her family, continuing to practice and instruct energetic fitness classes such as aerobics and Zumba.

But at age 40 after the birth of her youngest child, aches and pains made high-impact exercise impossible. Suffering from weight gain and a lack of energy, she was at a loss. At this point, she had not tried yoga because she had only heard about the meditational aspect of yoga and knew nothing about its physical benefits for weight loss and well-being. Revitalized and much healthier after her first yoga classes, she practiced intensely for three years before becoming a certified yoga instructor.  With the confidence that came from her practice, she decided to open her own yoga studio in April 2014 called Elite Yoga, located in La Jolla.

Creation of Elite Yoga

Arias discovered many types of yoga, from Yin Yoga, Vinyasa classes of all levels, and Ashtanga to Bheemashakti and Power Yoga. She visited studios specializing in one type of yoga discipline, but wished for a studio that honored the different needs of the body in a single location. She also noticed how many professionals like herself needed to address specific problems of the stress and pressure of the work environment and practice building lasting emotional peace.

Prompted by this desire, Arias founded Elite Yoga, an elegant and spotless boutique-style setting with spa amenities like lockers and showers. Elite Yoga offers a variety of yoga class styles in both heated and unheated rooms for students of all levels. Taught by highly qualified instructors, yoga classes are often enhanced with weight conditioning and personalized instruction. The goal of each class is to create an experience designed to improve the quality of and the physical, mental and emotional aspects of well-being, with each class building toward a healthy lifestyle. Elite Yoga is a true ‘yogis choice’ environment, with many classes tailored to individual needs. Striving to meet the needs of her clients, she continually adds classes to the schedule, keeping them small. Small classes benefit from individualized teacher instruction to help students quickly achieve better flexibility and strength.

Annual Retreats

Besides offering a large variety of classes, Elite Yoga conducts an annual retreat that provides healing and balance in a luxurious setting. Previous retreats took place at a five-star resort in Mexico, where yogis practiced in a serene studio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Arias recently secured a retreat location in Greece for September 2019. The coming year will also see a variety of specialized classes such as arm balance, nutrition and Thai massage. Of particular interest is a new class titled “Fit and Fierce Over Fifty”, a wellness and yoga classes for students in their fifties and beyond.  

Clothing Line Coming Soon: Ancestral Chic

Also look for Arias to expand her business to include a clothing and accessories line, Ancestral Chic. On her visits to her native Ecuador, Arias discovered a group of extraordinary women artisans supporting their entire villages with handmade crafts of organic fabrics decorated with expert embroidery. Wanting to support their work, she purchased ponchos and yoga accessories that featured the unique vibrant colorful handiwork. She received so many compliments for these elegant and chic items, she decided to market the wool and cotton apparel and accessories in the United States. Ancestral Chic will feature handmade and hand-embroidered ponchos, yoga accessories and more. Committed to high quality materials and fair trade, Arias will sell the line through the Elite Yoga studio.  In the coming year, she plans to expand the line from the current items to handbags and jewelry.  

Why La Jolla?

Arias has a special connection to La Jolla. She raised her children here and feels a kinship with the other residents, sharing many of the same interests and life experiences in this close-knit community. Her meaningful relationships form a knowledge of  what people here need from a center for yoga and well-being. With this in mind, the Elite Yoga family of instructors forms a cohesive and supportive environment committed to the same purpose of enhancing wellness locally. The staff wants to extend the message of love and support beyond the yoga mat. She finds this makes it a great joy to come to work, and she has great plans for 2019.

If you’re interested in visiting the studio for a class, learn more at


Maryann recently moved to San Diego from Los Angeles and she loves her new city. After a 15 year career in education, she’s now a freelance writer. In her spare time she’s walking her dog on the beach with her husband, practicing yoga or traveling. She recently purchased a 55 year-old house and gutted it for remodeling. She’s living there while it’s under construction, and she affectionately calls her home the ‘dirt pile’.