Your Body Is Your Most Essential Instrument
“Your body is your most essential instrument. It is truly a gift. The more you pay attention, listen and open your awareness to the subtle cues of your breath and sensations… the more the gift of life reveals itself through you.”
Alyssa DeCaro is a yoga teacher, group facilitator, dancer, and musician dedicated to helping others tune in to their “essential instrument” through movement, breath, rhythm, and ensemble connection. As a yoga teacher, Alyssa is known for her fluid sequencing, precise verbal cues, and heartfelt presence. She has been teaching locally and internationally for 17 years and leads popular classes at the Yoga Tree studios in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2006, Alyssa founded BODY OF SOUND workshops and retreats based on the concept that your body is your most essential instrument. Her work integrates the audience/performer and student/teacher relationships to create an interactive, rhythmic, ensemble experience. Alyssa taps into creative energy through rhythm, voice, and movement, and believes these to be the most effective tools to break down barriers and establish connection. When leading groups, Alyssa has a natural ability to shape the collective field, transforming an ordinary room into an inspiring space where practice and play intertwine.
ALYSSA’S PERSONAL STORY
Movement has always been Alyssa’s primary language. Growing up as an athlete and dancer, she began her study with gymnastics, tap, jazz and ballet, and later immersed into various martial arts and dance styles including contemporary, contact improvisation, hip hop, and West African. In college, multiple serious knee injuries derailed her goals of dancing professionally and left her doubting that she would ever dance again. From those depths, Alyssa discovered her body as her wisest teacher, and began to study movement-based somatic therapy with Anna Halprin and the Tamalpa Institute.
Yoga became a daily practice and played a key role in Alyssa’s rehabilitation. She has been practicing yoga for two decades and teaching regularly for 17 years. She completed Ana Forest’s YTT and continued her studies with Eric Shaw’s YTT to deepen her knowledge of history and philosophy. Alyssa believes that yoga chose her, and ever since that moment it has been a wonderful path full of challenge, discipline, and discovery – one that deepens each time she steps on the mat. Alyssa often incorporates sound as an essential element in yoga and she continues to explore the confluence of these ancient practices.
BODY OF SOUND was born during Alyssa’s recovery time as she immersed herself in music as a secondary outlet. Rhythm had always been a huge part of her life – Alyssa’s early years were spent tap dancing and playing percussion, and she was greatly influenced by the years she studied with the legendary drummer Babatunde Olatunji in her 20’s. When dancing took a back seat, she also studied Harmonic Singing and Speech-Level Singing which revealed her voice as an intimate avenue of expression. After much experimentation and inquiry, Alyssa discovered body music as a way to blend her love of movement and sound and to play with the one instrument that is always available: THE BODY. Body of Sound approaches creative expression from the inside out, starting with the somatic experience and then shaping it into an aesthetic musical form. Alyssa also noticed something missing from our society which seems to be deeply engrained in many cultures: collective singing and dancing as celebration and ritual. The mission of Body of Sound is to develop our relationship with our individual body as an instrument, and to connect with the larger body of community ensemble.
Alyssa performed with and choreographed for Gamelan X (a bali-bass groove music ensemble for 9 years), FemFoli (an all-female drum and dance troupe), Wanderlust Yoga & Music Festival, B.A.S.E. (Body music group), and has collaborated with many other talented artists including Sam Rogers (The One Mouth Band), Evie Ladin (MoToR), and The One People Voice Company. She has performed in The Bali Arts Festival, The International Body Music Festival, and the at the TED conference (Long Beach). She has led large-scale ensemble work and performance rituals for over 1,000 people at Burning Man (Kecak/Monkey Chant workshops), Bhaktifest (giant aerial art ritual filmed from the sky), and One Billion Rising (flashmob musical performance for V-day global event). Alyssa developed her work at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California where she has been teaching classes and workshops since 2001. Alyssa has also taught in Bali, Java, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic and has a thriving private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Alyssa has had the pleasure of studying with several master teachers including Babatunde Olatunji, Anna Halprin, Ana Forrest, Suzanne Sterling, Thomas Fortel, Max Thomas, Vinn Marti, Ellen Watson, Bolokada Conde, Fernando Barba, Keith Terry and Evie Ladin. She is a graduate of the Tamalpa Institute for Movement-Based Expressive Arts Therapy and has completed the “Soul Motion” Movement Leadership Training and the Forrest Yoga Teacher Certification.