Total Health: Alex Sabbag of Soul Dive Yoga On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

Total Health: Alex Sabbag of Soul Dive Yoga On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

Practice gratitude. Dedicate some space in your journal to spend some time thanking the things that are so important to you — the sun, your bedsheets, or your barista. Expressing gratitude reminds us of life’s many blessings. It creates space to receive rather than focus on what we don’t have.

Often, when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical well-being. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our lives; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, and spiritual Well-being? As a part of our series “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Sabbag.

Alex Sabbag founded Soul Dive Yoga in 2022, located in Palm Desert — marking her second entrepreneurial venture. The catalyst for Sabbag’s venture into yoga was an unexpected turn in her life when her partner was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2018. Seeking solace in the practice, she not only found healing but also discovered a profound mission to share the transformative power of yoga with the world.

Soul Dive Yoga is more than just a studio. The space welcomes the community into the deep through movement, breath, and soulful connection. The schedule features a variety of movement (or asana) classes like Vinyasa, Yin, and Gentle Yoga, but beyond that, Soul Dive boasts Big Y Yoga, offering students the opportunity to connect with yoga’s eight-limbed path through special experiences, workshops, community classes and more. Soul Dive is a place where anyone and everybody, regardless of yoga experience, can come just as they are and simply be.

Sabbag’s personal story of empowerment and transformation was forged in adversity. Her commitment to yoga during challenging times became the foundation for her “soul dive,” marking the initiation of a period of self-discovery and profound healing. Now, she aspires to extend this journey to others, creating a supportive community within Soul Dive Yoga where members are empowered to face and conquer life’s adversities.

For a deeper understanding of Alex Sabbag’s journey, you can read her article in The Desert Sun. To explore the offerings and ethos of Soul Dive Yoga, visit

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

You’re welcome! I’m honored to be considered. I was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1985 and lived there for the first 18 years of my life before moving to Chicago to attend DePaul University. I started my career in public relations working at an agency until I founded my first business. In October 2020, at age 25, I launched a boutique communications firm that handled fundraising and PR for mostly nonprofits. After 12 years in business, I needed a change. Two turns at start-ups brought me to California in May of 2020. Shortly after, I ended up with a yoga studio in Palm Desert, and the rest, as they say, is history!

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Growing up, I owned horses and competed in show jumping events all over the country. I wasn’t particularly athletic and wasn’t that into team sports. I started getting more and more into wellness in my late 20’s and decided to run the Chicago Marathon. It was an incredible experience, but my body suffered as a result of all the impact. I had a fickle 20-year-on-and-off relationship with yoga and eventually found my way to a studio I later considered home. The practice was quite physical for me at first; it was a way to stay in shape and condition the short summer beach body until the summer of 2018 when my life changed overnight.

On my 33rd birthday, my boyfriend was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer — he proposed the next day, and from that moment on, I became his caregiver — that summer, yoga’s higher power struck. I had no strength and mostly made it to the mat as a way to get away from the struggle going on at home. It ignited my curiosity as to why yoga works, which led me to teacher training the following spring. I didn’t choose my current career; it chose me.

After moving to California, I bought a home at the beach and planned on working remotely for the company I was employed by at the time. Plot twist! A month after I made the purchase, I got fired, and the real kicker was that I had the lease for the studio in my inbox. So I surrendered to ‘yes’, and fast forward, Soul Dive Yoga is over a year old with a thriving community in the desert.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many! The first ones that come to mind are my parents. Both of them have big entrepreneurial spirits. I remember my dad suggesting that I take a business course in college, and I scoffed, telling him I’ll never need that (joke’s on me, right?). My parents have never fully understood what I do for a living, but they’ve been supportive nonetheless. From attending my fundraisers back in Chicago to becoming yogis as a beacon of support — I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Next up is my first boss, Pete Marino. Pete owned Dig Communications, the first agency I worked at out of college. When I was first hired, my job required me to be at work at 6 am to do a news summary. I was never there alone. Pete showed up every day. The man put his money where his mouth was. He was (and still is) a huge inspiration to watch in the business world.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?

I made so many mistakes along the way, and I have even more clips that could make one heck of a blooper highlight reel. I think one of my favorites was at a fundraiser I was producing years ago back in Chicago. It was a breakfast event, and we needed to arrive at this small hotel in the suburbs super early in the morning. All was working during mic tests and run-throughs, but for some reason, when the keynote speaker took the stage to deliver his address, everything crapped out. While we were organizing the event, running AV equipment was not in our scope of work (this was almost always on the venue or an outside partner).

Nevertheless, the client blamed us. During the troubleshooting, the speaker — who happened to be the founder and CEO of Whole Foods — had just started tap dancing on the stage. He infused his own lighthearted humor into the moment and showed incredible grace and understanding for the whole situation. This will always be a mark of a great leader. Someone who can just roll it and maybe even make a few people laugh in the wake of whatever trials might be presenting.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I am a big reader, and so many books have influenced my life — it even influenced me to write my own; stay tuned!

Two books come to mind, both by Michael Singer. His first, The Untethered Soul, taught me the difference between thoughts and reality; articulating how powerful it can be to simply be the observer of your own life.

The second, and even more profound, is The Surrender Experiment. My word for the year 2022 was surrender. I started living my life with more release, stopped pushing the proverbial rock up the hill, and allowed for more unfolding. I had started reading the book at the time I was fired with the lease to the studio in my inbox. I was living out the message to surrender and see what shows up as life was presenting me with this real-time case study. I haven’t stopped since. It’s beautiful what happens when we let go and let God. We don’t always have to like it, but getting out of force and into flow is a very lovely place to be.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

Fortune favors the bold! You can’t get the thing if you don’t take a risk and go for it. The older we get, the more fear and resistance show up. I should know. I had none of this when I accepted $1K per month as my first retainer with my first business. That didn’t even cover my rent. But I wasn’t focused on that; I was set on building an empire, and that I did! The second month, I doubled my retainers and took home $4K per month. It only got better from there. Founding Soul Dive Yoga — and the vision I have surrounding the Soul Dive brand — I’ve encountered so much imposter syndrome, fear, resistance, all of it.

There’s a difference between taking a risk and risking it all. Only you know where the line is. But I can tell you this for sure. Living in comfort, or worse, complacency, isn’t going to get you there — wherever your ‘there’ is. Growth is uncomfortable. Growth requires us to be bold and traverse some uncharted territory. But I promise you, the rewards far outweigh the risks. Stay rooted in purpose and remember: fear is just courage becoming known.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I’m writing a book, which is set to launch on June 16th (my birthday). I’m ready to peel back the curtain and share more of my personal story. Not many people can directly identify with becoming a caregiver at age 33. But so many people can relate to having the proverbial rug ripped out from under them.

When our world gets flipped upside down, what happens next? For me, I encountered a massive fight-or-flight instinct, and it took years for my nervous system to come back into balance. I realized how unprepared for life — in all its beauty and tragedy alike — we are as humans. We don’t have the tools to cope.

My dream is to publish my book and launch my career as a public speaker. I can influence some in the yoga room, but there are only so many people we can squeeze into the studio. I know I can make a much bigger impact at larger events with greater reach, and that’s my goal!

OK, thank you for sharing all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series, we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, and spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

One of the biggest challenges I faced in my wellness journey was the ability to actually hear and understand what was going on in my body. I was doing a lot of things, like high-intensity workouts, because I thought I should or had to say ‘in shape.’ I didn’t understand the concept of rest or what recovery actually meant (and spoiler alert — it’s not going out for a big dinner and drinking lots of wine).

  1. Get in your body. There’s movement, and then there’s embodied movement. Guided classes are wonderful; I practice yoga multiple times a week and love being led through a flow. There’s a sweet little spot between the postures, in the transitions, the space in between where we can allow our bodies to just move with freedom in whatever ways they prefer. There is no right or wrong in yoga, or any group fitness class for that matter. Simply allowing the body to move with intention can help us tap into our inner knowing and guide our intuition beyond the mat.

  2. Journaling. My mind races at a very unreasonable pace. I try to sit and watch my thoughts, but they’re deafening! A few years ago, I adopted journaling as a way to dump my brain out on the pages. I prefer it first thing in the morning, and no, it doesn’t have to be every day. I make a coffee and settle in, starting with a blank page just to allow whatever is on my mind or in my heart to find the pages. This is also called a stream of consciousness. Journaling has helped me identify areas of my life that need extra attention. It has also helped me through conflict, identifying what’s actually wrong vs. what seems off (or what story my mind is telling me that may or may not be true). I used my journaling time to manifest a romantic partner, dedicating so many pages to get a clear picture of how I want to feel in a relationship — not just writing out some unattainable checklist. More than anything, it’s just a great way to connect with yourself. You could use it as a prayer log — asking God and your angels to support or heal whatever weighs heavy on your heart. However, the journal invites you to use it; that’s the place to start.

  3. Diet. I’ve learned one hard fact: The only thing we can control is what we consume. I take diet so seriously; in fact, I would sacrifice any workout to ensure my meals are prepped and in line with what my nourishment needs are. I am a carnivore and believe wholeheartedly in the consumption of grass-fed, humanely sourced meat. I eat high animal fat and no greens or grains. I’ve been eating this way for about 3 years now. I supplement with 3 different varieties of organ supplements from Heart & Soil and have noticed a massive difference in my well-being. My mental clarity, anxiety, and mood swings, especially around my cycle, have dramatically improved. I have more muscle, less fat, and so much more energy. I have totally healed my gut and don’t struggle with any digestive issues anymore. In my early 30s, I ate tons of salad, grains, and processed sugar because I thought that’s what I was supposed to consume to look a certain way. Wrong. It wasn’t an easy transition, but in doing so, I learned I do not have food allergies I was just struggling with an unhealthy gut. My meals are clean and simple. Most evenings, I enjoy a 10oz New York Strip, sweet potato, and a hunk of sourdough bread with tons of butter. I do not believe in plant-based products and refuse to consume any seed oils (which are tough to avoid when you eat out at restaurants because nearly all of them use them in some way).

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I don’t think there is just one way to practice and believe in a variety of forms depending on what time of day, time of the month, or what you did yesterday. I love a powerful vinyasa yoga class, but I find my body gets too depleted if I do it every day. I do reformer pilates once or twice a week to build strength in my body and avoid hypermobility. I love Yin yoga and try to take it once per week to balance my nervous system and keep my body feeling nice and open. I love journaling and will do that a few mornings a week to keep my head as clear as possible. I am a big believer in human connection, and while I’m a huge homebody, I highly value the importance of going out in the wild and experiencing the world. Whether a hike or a lovely dinner out with friends, getting out and really living is essential to happiness. This goes back to really feeling into what the body craves. If the energy is there, then by all means, bring the power. But if rest is what’s needed, then draw a bath and know the world will be waiting for you tomorrow.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

My number one tip for optimal wellness is this: Create space; we can do this in a variety of ways.

First, purge what you don’t wear or need in your home. Cleaning up our physical space offers more clarity and allows us to relax at home. This also opens doors for opportunities and new beginnings to make their way into our lives.

So take the week or weekend, make like Marie Kondo, and let your stuff go! I’ve come to realize we don’t need all the stuff we have hanging around. It takes up space and energetically blocks us from receiving. When I arrived at the decision to leave Chicago, I started making room. I purged multiple bags of clothing from my closet and began letting things in my house go. They flowed out effortlessly. The first woman that walked into my house bought it. Everything just flowed out to make space for my move. And yes, it really was that easy. Let it go, friends!

Create physical space: This is where the movement comes in. Our bodies remember everything. Even the things our minds have suppressed from our memory. Practicing yoga, whether gentle or a powerful vinyasa, opens our bodies up as we’re invited to use our breath to make room. We release with every exhale — getting the things that don’t serve us out of the way. When we show up time and again to keep doing it, we release energy that may be stuck and make room for the abundance. When I practice yoga, I get clear on an intention. Whether I’m releasing or calling something in, I keep my mind focused throughout the class in a continual effort to make room.

More than that, my mind can be quiet and in tune — recognizing opportunities as they find me so I can use my discernment and say yes or no as they arrive.

Clean up your contacts: The hard truth is that not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok. Your time is your most precious commodity. So why are you spending it with people who don’t lift you up? I’ve had a front-row seat to death and have witnessed firsthand the fragility of life. I refuse to spend my time with toxic individuals who add no value to my life. So take a hard look at who you’re surrounding yourself with. It’s better to be alone than waste your energy on people who will suck the life out of you. Take a moment to go through your phone and delete numbers, clean up your social media, and above all else — say no when the invites come around from people who aren’t on your vibrational level. You are the company you keep; don’t forget that. You are the average of the top five people you spend time with, so keep upleveling and give the gift of your time to people who cheer you on, support your growth, and aren’t afraid to give you some tough love along the way.

I feel really passionately about the need for space in our lives. We get so bogged down carrying around so much baggage — baggage that isn’t even ours to begin with. How can we expect our hopes, dreams, prayers, and manifestations to find us if we’re packed to the gills with unfulfilling crap?

So do the work, people. Clean up your physical, energetic, and spiritual homes and watch the blessings fly through your windows. It keeps happening to me, time and again, and I know it will be true for you, too.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion, what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know and integrating it into our lives?

My thoughts on eating are above — full carnivore. It’s not because it works for me; it’s because this is where we came from. As humans, it is our primal birthright to consume animal protein. Why can’t we do it? As a society, we lack the mental discipline to stick with it. We’re so easily influenced and crumble when one little thing goes wrong.

I believe the carnivore diet gives us that mental stamina we need, and we need to double down to get there. Double down on yourself and your health — not the next fad diet that crosses your Instagram feed. Stop juicing, start eating. Fuel your mind so your body can function properly.

Can you share a few good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Read before bed. Cut the TV or any sources of blue light at least an hour before sleep. The slow decrease of light as we wind down is a proven method to help quieten the brain. Give yourself the space to rest and avoid overstimulation at night.

  2. Take time to rest, not sleep. Try Yoga Nidra or a guided meditation to allow the mind to quiet and the body to be at rest. Yoga Nidra is a practice that places one in a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, typically induced by guided meditation.

  3. Get outside. Play in the snow, go for a hike, or simply take your book outside in the sunshine. We spend way too much time indoors! I get at least one hour of direct sunlight with no sunscreen per day. Keeps the doctor away.

  4. Practice gratitude. Dedicate some space in your journal to spend some time thanking the things that are so important to you — the sun, your bedsheets, or your barista. Expressing gratitude reminds us of life’s many blessings. It creates space to receive rather than focus on what we don’t have.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

I think it is important to remember that in life, we GET to do so many things. I think mindset is a powerful tool. Like smiling, we can shift our mindset to I get to do this vs. I have to do this. It’s important to remember the power of choice and the freedoms we have over our mind, body, and soul. If smiling helps you find gratitude, I’m all for it. I love smiling and find so much beauty in a simple smile. But to shift the mindset, I invite gratitude and the reminder that I get to do all the beautiful things in my life.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I am a God-girl. I grew up as a Christian, and my faith continues to strengthen as I get older. I believe this: if prayer is talking to God, then meditation is listening.

  1. Do both of these things often, daily if you can. Knock, and the door shall be opened. All we need to do is ask — and don’t forget, we have mighty teams of angels around us at all times! Call on them for added support; they’re there for you and by you. My journal is an equal parts stream of consciousness, as it is a prayer diary.

  2. Move your body. It’s important to shift stuck energy and keep our bodies in motion so we can stay in service.

  3. Give. Whether giving time or treasure, give. Support your local community, give to a cause that speaks to you, create something that unites people, or simply show up to volunteer. However, you’re called to give — give with a generous heart. “For God loves a cheerful giver,” 2 Corinthians 9:6–7

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Nature offers us the ability to slow down and experience the quiet. We can find so much glory in the trees and magnificence in the mountains. Nature holds an abundance of healing energy and is so life-giving. God created it all. Go out in the trees or along the beach and just marvel at the glory. Express gratitude, soak up the miracles in all the creations, and enjoy the gifts of the spectacular views — sunrise and sunset included! As a side note, I’m completing this Q&A from a little cabin up in Idyllwild. I needed a few days to play in the snow, hike up the mountain, and sit by a cozy fire. Such a great way to nourish the mind, body, and soul.

OK, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

There are a few things I’m wildly passionate about. One of which is eating animal-based products. Plenty of people are leading this movement, but I hope to be an influential voice to help spread the gospel. Our lives literally depend on it.

As for the movement I want to inspire, it’s leading with intuition. Whether you are the CEO of your household or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, intuition is your biggest superpower, and I want to help people condition it, get comfortable with it, and, most of all, trust it. It’s the knowing, the gut feeling that we often overlook because of something we were taught or forced to believe because it was ‘always done a certain way’ — that doesn’t fly with me. I believe women are so highly aware and, therefore, have this amazing gift of intuition; we just need the confidence to lean further into it.

I want to normalize the answer “I know” because when a woman says it, she really does know. That was me. I was in a boardroom full of men in the insurance industry. I was the first hire and CMO of an insurtech company. I knew things that would have shaved piles of money, not to mention a great deal of frustration and troubleshooting. But alas, I was ignored and overlooked because of my lack of experience.

Well, I was right, and I knew I was right. We need to normalize knowing because our lives always prepare us for what’s next — even if it’s outside of our current industry, we are qualified, we are ready, and we are enough. So let’s get comfortable with that, shall we?

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

I can’t name just one… so here’s my line-up (in no particular order):

Reece Witherspoon. I believe that Hello Sunshine would be a perfect partner to turn my book into a movie.

Taylor Swift. She never took no for an answer and laughed her haters all the way to the bank. RESPECT!

Sara Blakely. The most inventive and tenacious entrepreneur to date (in my opinion). She changed the game for women’s fashion in a way no designer ever has. Her tactical approach with Neiman Marcus is simple, pure, and courageous genius.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

To keep up with Soul Dive Yoga, visit and sign up for our email list (news about the big launch is shared through that newsletter)! You can also follow the studio on Instagram @souldiveyoga.

For more on my journey as an entrepreneur, writer, and creator, follow me on Instagram @alexsabbag

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.


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