Interview with Anya Grace- on Diving Deep, Surrender, and Freedom

When I first heard Anya Grace speak on YouTube, I felt her authenticity and passion come through right away. She was sharing her insights on the dynamics between men and women in a way that really impacted my view of relationships- not just the romantic kind, but also relationships with friends and family, with our surroundings, but especially with ourselves.

I then listened to a series of ten interviews she conducted with coaches and speakers who shared their expertise on various subjects around love, healing, abundance, the power of our beliefs, and manifestation. I was blown away by the profound knowledge and vulnerability imparted in those interviews. I thought “Others need to hear this!”

I couldn’t help but to reach out to ask Anya to share more of her wisdom with the Dance Me Free community. It is an honor to feature Anya Grace, spiritual mentor and feminine energy coach, in this interview below. 


I was really impressed by the interviews from your Elevated Woman series.  What values do you think all the speakers you chose shared? They seemed have a connection in their messages.

I think what you’re feeling is my intention of diving deeper in the interviews. Part of our power and beauty as women is really in our depth – the deeper feelings, the deeper insights, the deeper wisdom we hold.

We’re living in a culture and society where things are very superficial. The superficial exterior has been what’s valued. But that’s only about ten percent of our power as women. I want women to understand, and tap into, the other ninety percent. Once we start going into that ninety percent, we really unplug from the masculine paradigm that’s draining our power.

Why is this important?

When you have that intention, as an individual, to open to that depth within yourself, and you unapologetically bring that depth into your relationships and conversations, other people will go there. I always say that the Elevated Woman is an activator and initiator for higher potential on the planet. Part of that higher potential is this depth- going deeper, really connecting at a heart level, not just a superficial mental level. And that’s when we really access feminine power.

Beautiful.  I know Surrender is another aspect of feminine power that you hold really high in your life. I shared with you that my name- Tasleem- means surrender. I used to think that surrender was a weakness- a giving up, a giving in. But over the past few years, I’ve been learning how surrender is such a strength.

What does surrender mean to you?

I’m glad you asked about this. I’ve been doing a lot of talks about submission and surrender recently. The difference between the two ultimately comes down to frequency.  There are a lot of women who are resistant to the word surrender because I think they’re really mixing it up with the frequency of submission.

How would you describe submission?

To me, submission doesn’t feel good in my body. Submission feels like I’m giving my power away and I’m not being honoured for the elevated, sacred energy force, goddess power that I am. I am talking more in terms of sex.

Submission in life, in general, is really being in the victim energy. It’s being a victim to money circumstances, not recognizing that our reality is based on our own inner thoughts and feelings. This leads us to not taking responsibility for those thoughts and feelings, and then therefore, not creating the change that is necessary.

How does this compare to surrender?

Surrender is the energy of recognizing that we are human beings and we are not in control. We will never really be in control for as long as we’re alive in this life. It’s about dropping into trust and receptivity. Those are frequencies of the feminine energy.

When we live life with trust and receptivity and surrender, we are letting the universe or source energy, really come down and penetrate us. The idea is that universe and the divine are guiding us every step of the way. And when we drop into the frequency of surrender, magical things can happen. Whereas, if we stay in energies of submission, which is trying to control everything or being disempowered, then we’re not allowing the greatest gifts of the universe to come to us.


Do you have any examples of how you use surrender in your life and work?

It really is a daily practise for me, on a small and large scale. For example, I’m about to lead a training called Whole Body Beauty, which is all about body image. It is about helping women get out of feeling like they need to be in discipline and control over their body and their exercise routines. Instead, they learn to move more into letting go and going through a longer process to ultimately arrive at their ideal body. But it’s not going to be through control, which is about masculine energy.

What is an example of how you use surrender on a daily basis, or on a smaller scale?

An example of how I practised surrender today was that I slept in a little bit. I don’t love sleeping in because I like to get up and start the day early and do all the things I want to get done in the morning. But I know that I drop into submission when I beat myself up for not getting up early.

When I sleep in and let my energy stay elevated, by just accepting whatever is happening to me, I allow myself to surrender. I recognize that in the long run, I will have more control over getting up early versus not getting up early this way. But it’s not going to come from me being controlled, disciplined and forcing myself to get out of bed in this masculine energy way. I could do it, but it doesn’t feel good to my body.

I guess we can often let the worry of what we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing take us over.

We all have things that we’re worried about. Right now, there might be something that you’re unsettled about. There might be something that I’m unsettled about. But living a life of surrender is just working with those unsettling feelings and choosing to not let them grab a hold of us. Instead, it’s about replacing the anxiety, worry, tension, control, or contraction with a deep breath and literally choosing trust. We can choose to let go in the very moment we want to grab hold and control. Choosing to let go, to relax, to lean back and to trust is powerful. Because in that energy, the universe brings us exactly what’s meant to happen, not what we WANT to happen. And that can work out way bigger and better than we can ever imagine.

I love that. The idea of trust and letting go reminds me of some words that came up when I looked up the meaning of your name- Anya. Rhythm, melody, and grace were linked to your name, as well as  the word inexhaustible. Do those words resonate with you in terms of what you value and who you are?

I love that you love names. I love them too. It’s part of what contracts us into this physical form. When we have a name, there’s a contraction of energy around our soul. And whatever that form is, it helps to define our soul, really.

I talk about letters as building blocks. Letters are shapes and lines, and those shapes put together in words, is ultimately holding an essence. So the word grace, and the word surrender are created by different letters, different shapes, different lines, different structures, and they hold different essences. The structure is the masculine, the essence is the feminine.


That’s beautiful. It makes me love words even more. 

Yes, so our names are defining us literally into physical form. It’s one of the first things that happen when we are born. We are given a name.

I didn’t use to like the name Anya because I wanted to be normal and I thought my name wasn’t. But now obviously, I like it, because it’s my essence. I think it’s funny that I’ve heard that Anya means graceful, and my middle name is Grace. But I love inexhaustible. I’ve never heard that. That’s really powerful to hear.

Yeah, that really stood out to me too. I think there is something to be said of the universe almost calling us something to guide us somewhere.

I love how you talk about how other labels that we get- whether it’s being a mom, or being a lawyer, or a brother or an entrepreneur, etc- are amazing roles we take on. But that’s not who we truly are.

I agree. So instead of asking someone What do you do?, I like to as What do you LIKE to do? I want to know who the person really is. But before I ask you that, you’ve mentioned a few times that some of the things you used to do were for a specific outcome.

Yes, and some of those things I used to do, I don’t do anymore.

I used to play guitar because I thought that being able to play a musical instrument would make me somehow more attractive. I thought the skill was hot. It was just the beliefs I had around what these things meant about me. I have a degree in neuroscience. I pursued that path because I felt that from the outside, I’d be more valued by having that degree and career.

Exercise was another huge one too. I used to run. I loved it and it made me feel free and healthy. I still love it for those reasons. But I had also attached the belief that I needed to have a perfect body. I thought that would keep me at this level of attractiveness that I wanted to be at. So in my orientation and my why for exercise, and even the food I was eating, there was an outcome- to have a perfect body.


How has that changed now? What do you truly like to do now?

I still love to exercise or to move my body. I still love to trail run, I still love to do yoga and dance, but I have one hundred percent removed any expectation of what that is going to create for my body. And when I go running now, I never bring a watch. I don’t care how long I go for. I don’t care how many miles I run. I don’t care if I stop twenty times. I just do it however it feels good in that day.

Some days, I push myself because that feels good to me. And other days, I just go very gentle because it feels good to get outside. But I’m listening to my body. And I’m moving and exercising from the goddess within me, rather than the mental mind, or from the external masculine force telling me I need to arrive at this certain place in order to be valuable and worthy.

I still do all of the things that were part of my identity before, but I don’t need to brag about them. I don’t need to tell people about them. They’re just part of my experience of life, they’re part of my essence, but it’s not my worth.

That is really inspiring how you became aware of this and how you turned it around. You mentioned that you love to dance. Do you have a background or training in dance?

I used to do ballet at quite an intense level when I was younger all the way until seventh or eighth grade. And then I switched over to running. I didn’t really dance for awhile after that.

But now, my favorite dance is called S Factor. It’s pole dancing, but it’s not the pole dancing that most people think of when they think of pole dancing. You close your eyes and go deep within your body. You let the movement arise from being turned on by the music and really dropping into sensations, the rhythms, the twists and turns, pulsations and curves, of your own body.

It’s really about activating sensual, sexual energy through diving deep into yourself. And the pole acts as the stable, secure, rigid, upright masculine presence to play and spin around on. It’s actually quite a safe feeling to find the pole throughout the dance… it grounds me! This is one of the ways we can honor the masculine energy in a man — appreciate the stability and security his presence brings to us amidst our more wild, feminine, free-flowing nature. It’s all quite divine.

Oh wow! I’ve never heard of that dance. I love the way you connect it to the beauty of the masculine and feminine dynamic.  

The essence of it is that the more I drop into what feels good in my body, the more magnetic I am. And that applies to the core teaching of Elevated Woman which is that when you drop into your presence or your essence, inherently, you’re magnetic. It has nothing to do with how you look or what you’re doing on the outside. It’s just going to come naturally.  


The short video clip of you dancing on your Facebook page was definitely magnetic. I thought you must be a dancer!

That video clip created a lot of tension for a moment. Someone that’s close to me reacted to it in a way that I perceived as full of judgment and criticism. It was really painful to hear their thoughts on it.

And for the feminine to feel shame for her sexual energy is one of the core wounds that we hold. Instantly, in that moment, I felt I was being shamed. That expression of my self in that video is the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest, TINIEST little fraction of my true self-expression. And for that to be too much for someone, to the point that they would want to suppress me and push me down that much, was so intense to feel in my body.

I’m so surprised to hear you got that kind of reaction. It was such an inspiring video to me.

Thank you. Yes, it’s upsetting to get those kinds of negative reactions because I think do we choose to stay quiet, and hide the beauty and sexual energy that is our nature, to make other people comfortable? Or do I choose to just share whatever feels authentic to me, and in that present moment, listen to the goddess within me? Do I say well, if it’s too much for some, it’s too much for some, but it’s not too much for me and follow that?

On a transparent and vulnerable level, it’s scary to share what I really want to share. I’m not fully sharing because it’s a lot. I’m working on that in my own personal life. I found this information wisdom that is my work now, but this work chose me. And it’s scary, to put myself out there. But it ties into what I teach. Because so much of what I teach is supporting women to be set free.

Thank you for having the courage to share what you do and for teaching us how to be courageous ourselves. Your talks have really inspired me towards more freedom and surrender in my life. They have made a huge difference in my life already, reminding me of the depth, connection and truth I want in my own interactions with others, myself and my surroundings.  

To find out more about Anya’s workshops, training, and her Elevated Woman Movement, click here:

Anya Grace

Faith, Freedom and Truth- Interview With Andra Carmina


Which styles of dance are you into?  Do you have a favorite?

​I started dancing in 2009 after taking some salsa and bachata lessons at McGill. My dancing journey eventually followed me to Toronto, where I got introduced to zouk, and from there on, no other dance has had my heart quite like zouk does. I’ve dabbled into other dances like bellyDancing, kizomba, and dancehall.  While they do bring out certain parts of me, zouk allows me to express myself in ways I almost can’t explain. Continue reading

Interview With Vladimir Shmitsman- Part 1: Homeopathy recognizes the individual

“In homeopathy, the personality of the individual determines their prescription,.. because Homeopathy understands that every person is different.


Dr Shmitsman

I think some people might be surprised that you began your medical career with more conventional medicine.  

Yes.  In the beginning, I was a nurse.

I like that your grandma was one of the first to plant a seed for you very early on in terms of natural medicine.  

Yes.  She used to take me with her when she would pick plants and berries in the forest.  She was around me until I was 16 or 17 years old.  So it was a fair amount of time that I spent with her. (For more details about this story, please visit Dina’s Homeopathic)

And you had other people along the way who opened your eyes up to homeopathy?

Yes. It wasn’t just my grandmother’s influence that made me make my change from conventional medicine to homeopathy.

I finished nursing school, and then I went to the military for two years. The doctor who I worked with there was Russian Japanese.  That was a third generation of people who used to practise acupuncture.

For the first time in my life, I saw someone using acupuncture.  This man was a doctor in a hospital, but almost every day, I saw him treating different guys in the military using acupuncture.  He practised acupuncture as he felt he needed. Continue reading

What Dance Teaches Me

live to danceI have been so lucky to have some of the most inspiring teachers  come into my life.  Little did I know that Dance would be one of them.

Dance has influenced the decisions I make, the places I go, the people I meet, the perceptions I have about life, the values I cherish the most, my awareness of myself as a body and a soul, as well as how I interact with others and the world around me.

Someone recently asked me why I dance, and the first thought that came to my mind was, ironically, NOT thinking.  Dance, as I explained to this person, is one of the first places I learned not to lead (or follow) with thinking, but to feel.  With Dance, I shut off my brain, and engage, or turn on, my senses.  This is huge for someone who is constantly thinking and processing and analyzing like myself.  And wow, what it has done for my writing.  As a writer, I need to be much more in touch with my senses, and to be able to capture moments when my senses are really heightened. Dance makes me much more aware of those moments and plants the images of them deep within my memory.

Continue reading

Kizom-what? – Part 2

Kizom-what?– Part 2 –Interview with Eddy Vents- discussing Kizomba Dancing (continued) To view Part 1, click here

Tasleem: At the end of Part 1 of this interview, you talked about the importance of the connection in this dance.  Because it IS more about that connection and energy, it’s really hard to describe kizomba to someone else.  Often, I hear it being described in terms of other dances. The description “Afrieddy vents2can tango” has come up a few times, and I’m wondering what your thoughts are on that.

Eddy: I think people describe kizomba that way because they need to refer to the dance with something that is more familiar.  If I explained kizomba to you by talking about the other dances it’s connected to or came out of, you probably won’t know what I’m talking about, because you’ve never seen those dances.  So ‘African tango’ makes it easy for people on this side of the world, who have not experienced those African dances, to imagine the dance using something they already know.

Continue reading

Kizom-what?- An interview with Eddy Vents- Part 1

Kizomba. What is it, and why are more people talking about it?  The word itself seems to stir up a whole range of reactions from those who have never danced it.  Some of my favorites are:

“Oh, is it related to Zumba?” 

“You’re referring to that NEW dance, right?” 

“Yeah, I think I’ve seen it and it reminds me of high school dancing. Not much to it.” 

“Oh, I can’t do THAT, being glued to a partner that way?”

“It looks so simple.”

I laugh, not just at the reactions, but at how I can relate to them because, before I started learning kizomba myself, I’m sure some of those thoughts ran through my head as well.  But it didn’t take long for me to realize that there is so much more to the dance than what it appears to be from the outside.   In fact, all of those perceptions above disintegrate when the magic of the true kizomba takes a hold of you. 

Continue reading

Yesenia Peralta Shares Her Story of Dance, Growth and Healing- Interview- Part 1

Part 1: “Dancing has really taken me to a place of healing that I never imagined.”- Yesenia Peralta

yesenia4Yesenia Peralta has always been one of those dancers who really stood out to me because of her flavor and natural movement both in her social dancing and stage performances.  But her talent as a dancer has come to mean even more to me after getting to know Yesenia on a more personal level over the past few months.  Through an in-depth interview with Yesenia, first conducted in July of this year,* I learned what a strong, courageous and fun loving woman lies within this dancer, this individual.  Most of all, I was touched and deeply inspired by the passion for living that Yesenia shows off the dance floor as much as, if not more than, she has demonstrated in her years on the dance floor.

It is an honor to help her, through this interview, to share for the first time Yesenia’s story about her recent diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis (MS,) and how it has affected her perspective and growth in many areas of her life.  Thank you, Yesenia, for trusting me to help send your message out to all the people out there who want to know how you’re doing.  I know you will continue to inspire others with your positivity and charisma wherever you go.  You have definitely had a huge impact on my life from just a few months of knowing you.

*Note: This interview was conducted on July 23rd, 2012; therefore, any reference to time and location is reflective of Yesenia’s experiences up to that date. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me, Yesenia, especially with everything you’re going through right now. 

That’s okay, girl.  Like I wrote to you, la gente estan pendiente (laughs)

(Translation: the people are waiting, they are waiting to find out what is happening with me)

People know I’m sick but they don’t understand what’s going on and what my mission is in my head.  But this is my moment to talk a little more personally about myself.  And even though you might be asking me questions about dance here, this interview is still different than others in the past.  Every interview I’ve ever done before has always been about ‘what’s next’.  People are always concentrating on what is GOING to come- “Oh, when is your school going to be opening up? When is your dance company going to perform?” they always ask.  It’s always about what I am GOING to be doing.

But this time, it’s a little different, you know?  This is the first time I’m doing an interview since I’ve been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  And, to be honest, at first, I wasn’t interested in talking on a personal level to anyone.   Three weeks ago, I would not have done this interview.  A month ago, I would not have done this interview because I hadn’t found ‘my place’ yet, you know?  (*see reference note at the start of the interview)

Continue reading

Interview with Yesenia Peralta- Part 3

Part 3: “EVERYONE- the world- is helping me through this. You guys are my strength.”- Yesenia Peralta

(Click here to begin at Part 1 and Part 2)

I found out about your health condition when your brother sent me an invite to the fundraiser that was put on for you earlier this year.  I was shocked. I had no idea you were even suffering through anything, let alone multiple sclerosis.  How did the diagnosis come about for you?

MS poster advertIn 2007, I had tingling in my arms and my legs.  And the tingling got worse.  I went to Singapore with my brother, but I wasn’t being very social there, and I wasn’t dancing as much as I used to.  I didn’t know why, but I just wasn’t feeling good.  When I came back from Singapore, it got worse.  It went from my hands to my arms and to my legs.  The tingling got so bad that I couldn’t unbuckle my belt, I couldn’t brush my hair, and I couldn’t write the receipts for my students.  Eventually, I couldn’t teach!

I had to go to three different hospitals before I got admitted because nobody could figure out what was going on.  So I finally get admitted and they released me five days later, without telling me what was wrong, because they said they didn’t know.  And because I didn’t have insurance, they couldn’t continue to just keep me there.  So they let me go.  And then little by little, I got better, so I just thought, “Oh, it’s gone.  All right.  Back to work!”   I opened up another school and didn’t think twice about what had happened.

Then, in 2010, I get this feeling again- tingling, numbness, and all that stuff.  And then finally, I got diagnosed in August of that year.  But when we finally saw the paperwork from 2007, it said ‘possible Multiple Sclerosis’ on it!  2007! Why couldn’t the doctors have just mentioned that word to me then?  But no, they didn’t.  And that’s how I found out three years later.

Continue reading

“I didn’t even know that I needed dancing so much… until now.” -Yesenia Peralta


“I love dancing, and everything in my dancing career has been spectacular.  But… I never had time to sit down and think, about… about ANYTHING to do with dancing until now.

… I’m doing better because dancing has really taken me to a place of healing that I never imagined.  I didn’t even know that I needed dancing so much.

…  It’s  like everything kind of makes sense now.”

-Yesenia Peralta


(Stay tuned for the in-depth, candid interview from which this excerpt was taken.  The full interview with Yesenia Peralta will be published here in a few days, and the link will be posted on Dance Me Free’s facebook page as well.  Follow us here, or ‘LIKE’ us on facebook to be updated on this and other future posts by clicking here: Dance Me Free on Facebook)