Why Wellness Expert Lindsey Calla Gave Up the Dream Life to Study Yoga

Written byAlexandria Baker

An unstoppable force of nature, former lacrosse player, fashion blogger, and TV personality Lindsey Calla had what many would consider to be a dream life—until she gave it all up to focus on yoga and personal wellness.

Make no mistake, Calla is no stranger to struggle. Born outside of Philadelphia, she dedicated her early life to the pursuit of a professional athletic career. After an ACL injury ended her lacrosse dreams, she began an 8-year career in New York as a fashion editor and entertainment professional. Calla did what many dream of—in the city that never sleeps, she made a name for herself, including writing for Cosmopolitan Magazine and being featured as a style expert on several television networks.

Despite her outward success, Calla struggled to keep up the frenetic pace among competitive colleagues and high-stakes business meetings. In a bold move, she left her job, the industry, and New York altogether to find personal wellness. 

Lindsey Calla bathes in an outdoor bathtub

It was in the humid heat of New Orleans that she discovered yoga, setting her down a new path of mindfulness and wellness travel. Since beginning this new leg of her journey, Calla has documented her travels and wellness tips on her blog, Calla in Motion, and started a successful podcast called Archaeology of the Journey, discussing ancient human wisdom in the modern world.

Calla’s travels have certainly changed her perspective to one of mindfulness and taking her time. When asked about the benefits of traveling, she said, “New locations have exotic sensory experiences of the unfamiliar. We take things in as they are, without any preconceived ideas or jaded memories.”

We took some time with Calla to discuss her life as a yogi and world traveler, and how we could all stand to improve our wellness by remembering to slow down and breathe.

When did you first discover yoga? What do you get from yoga that you didn’t find in your previous careers as an athlete and fashion/entertainment professional?

My first yoga experience was a negative one, actually! I was recuperating from an ACL injury and I went to a class where they made everyone jump up and back in sun salutations, which is pretty advanced, and it hurt so bad. Years later, I gave yoga another shot and started taking power yoga in a warm room with better instructors, then fell into Ashtanga yoga and it all just clicked. I found my physical practice before my breath practice, but when I started studying Mysore Ashtanga I discovered how powerful conscious breathing is for the mind and body. It’s sort of cliché but the teacher appears when the student is ready—and I had a great teacher who nurtured my growth in yoga, pranayama, and meditation. 

My previous career in fashion and entertainment was exciting but erratic and a bit more surface-level. It was a turbulent cycle of success and failure and I harbored a lot of emotional business trauma from the pressure of that world. In that world, you’re never good enough. Yoga teaches us the opposite and accepts us as our deepest, truest self. When I started traveling, I met inspiring people doing really powerful work, continuing lineages of information and wisdom. It sparked the idea of starting my website and podcast, Archeology of the Journey, so I can bring awareness back to the power of conversation and how ancient wisdom is important to our modern world. If you have a purpose, or a mission, you’re already successful and that is satisfying.

Lindseay stands with her back to the camera as she balances on a railing overlooking the ocean
When and why did you start traveling and blogging about your experiences?

Well, my woo-woo answer would be because I have a part of my star chart in Sagittarius that says I’ve spent lifetimes wandering and seeking out knowledge through travel. So it’s always been a natural pull for me to want to learn about other cultures and see new places. From a more practical standpoint, when I left New York City, I fell into better wellness practices, so naturally my travel itch began to gear toward wellness travel. 

I wanted to experience and learn what every culture had to offer from a grounded, wellness point of view. I also noticed it becoming a travel trend really early on and felt that it was a great niche to cover. It allows me to connect with people all over the world and help them find a better connection with themselves through travel and wellness. Travel is a catalyst for positive change for me; I love helping people plan transformative trips and have life-shaping experiences based on places, people, and things that I’ve been exposed to. The storytelling aspect of wellness travel is so deep because you’re dealing with generations of practices being offered to modern travelers. 

Lindsey Calla sits in front of a bright stained-glass window
How do you find new places to visit and practice yoga and meditation? What attracts you to a specific location?

I like places that still feel connected to a source. It’s hard to find places these days that are truly off the radar, but some places still honor what makes the area unique, and some places just hold energy. I used to feel that way about Tulum, but now it’s been disconnected from what made it magic in the first place. I always gravitate toward places that hold energy, are connected to nature, and are deeply rooted in cultural or spiritual practice. I also love architecture and design and love when places weave wellness and design in a way that sets you up for a very regenerative experience.  

When I think about what it means to be regenerative, it means being connected to a cycle of renewal. We all go through cycles of darkness and light, and if we have places or rituals that act as catalysts to propel us back into balance then we should utilize them.

Lindsey does yoga in a dry and rocky canyon
What is your favorite wellness or yoga destination? Why do you like it?

Lately I’ve been into the solitude of the desert. Ojo Caliente, Sedona (Mii Amo/Boynton Canyon in particular) and Santa Fe hold a lot of stillness for me, enough to really drop in and do some good internal work. The desert seems so sparse but its stillness has so much energy.

I love the area of South Tyrol in northern Italy. There are fields of medicinal alpine flowers, great hot spring spa towns and hotels, and the mountains are captivating. There’s a little gem of a hotel called Castel Fragsburg that hangs over a hot springs town. They have a gorgeous open-air yoga studio perched on a cliff overlooking the mountains, and their spa herbalist forages for ingredients to use in beauty treatments. It’s incredible!

How do you stay mindful and present when traveling? 

I always travel with some Kava drops. They help me relax into a new place but I’ll only take it around bedtime. I am really picky about hotel yoga mats, most are cheap and slippery, so if I can squeeze it in my suitcase I’ll travel with my own mat. COMO Hotels have the best in-room yoga mats I’ve ever found, and this incredible ginger tea that just sets me up for a healthy and regenerative trip. Syncing up to the rhythms of a place, rather than imposing our own rhythms we’ve brought with us from our crazy home life, is really helpful. What time do the locals get up and get moving? What rituals are a part of that culture? Be a participant rather than an onlooker and you’ll feel better in tune with an unfamiliar place.

Why is it important for people to be intentional about taking time for themselves, whether through travel, a yoga practice, or something else?

It’s important to find something bigger than yourself.  We need grounding as we engage daily in so much stimulation, comparison and pressure to self-promote.  When we cultivate a daily ritual or travel, we feel truly connected. We connect and engage on a deeper level. We have deep conversations with new people in order to find commonality; we have deep conversations with ourselves. To regenerate it means we need to be tied to and aware of cycles.  If you’re not moving with a deeper awareness then you’re not communing with these cycles. Taking this time just makes us better in all of our relationships from work, health, romance, family and community.

To learn more about Lindsey, visit her website or follow her on Instagram @lindseycalla.

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