Maria Villella, Co-founder of Elysia Life Care, Acupuncturist and Yoga Teacher
Maria and her fellow team of acupuncturists are on a mission to change the way we experience healthcare. Shortly after completing acupuncture school, she took a dramatic leap to co-found Elysia Life Care. She and her partners shared a vision, a dream, of how they wanted to practice their medicine. Their central theme is to empower their patients to understand their health and take charge of their own health decisions, a strange concept in a culture that primary puts the control of health in the hands of “experts.” Using this radical approach, they teach their patients to listen to their bodies, read their own lab work and understand what is needed for true prevention of any disease.
As an acupuncturist, Maria exemplifies a woman in touch with her intuitive, nurturing side. With a compassionate ear she listens fully to her client’s health concerns. She draws from her vast knowledge of Chinese medicine, yoga and spirituality to provide the tools necessary for each individual to apply to their given situation. Then as if guided by the universe she deliberately places the tiny needles into the spots where the body’s energy needs them. From the first treatment to the 100th, Maria delivers nothing short of bliss, restoration and a pain free existence.
What made you interested in Acupuncture?
A back injury. When I was India studying yoga, it was exacerbated by the many backbends and the strong adjustments. When I came back I was in so much pain, I couldn’t even practice yoga. I had to be careful even teaching yoga so that I didn’t injure myself further. It made me question a career that required the constant use of my physical body. At the time, I was interested in acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathy. I was seeing an acupuncturist for my back pain and that helped me decide on acupuncture as a career. I was also interested in the internal components of Chinese medicine, the medical side of it but also the spiritual side of the practice.
What inspired you to start Elysia Life Care?
For so long I had been just teaching yoga, running around teaching classes, privates and teacher trainings. I saw Elysia as a place to take everything I had done and create a space that integrated all my practices together. I wanted everything under one roof and everything would represent what we believed in as a part of healthy lifestyle. My favorite quote by my teacher, George Falcon is “there is no cap at the top,” it’s not just about being healthier but continually striving for excellence in your work, in the world and the spiritual life, that is all connected.
How do you tune into your intuition and follow it?
I think it turns on when I listen to people. That’s where the meditation becomes important and the years of meditation and yoga become helpful. They help me find that space I need to be able to access the intuition. I try to stay in a fully meditative state and completely present. As I listen, I can hear from the patient what needs to come through me.
What was your biggest leap of faith?
Signing the rent contract. It’s a five year commitment between my partners and I. It was the largest financial commitment I had ever made. We all new we would work well together so thankfully that wasn’t a issue. Everything worked out easily though, when other spaces didn’t work out. Our space opened and unfolded in a way that confirmed the choice. There was comfort in the leap because it felt like the right thing to do because everything opened up for us, it wasn’t a forced effort.
What inspires you when you’re not feeling motivated?
My clients, definitely. My community as well. They really inspire me. Seeing what some of my friends have built inspire me. George Falcon’s teachings constantly inspire me. His work was never about him but what people needed. His spirit inspires me to continue doing my work. Our goals in starting Elysia are helping people find happier, healthier lives. We want to guide people to find empowerment and some sense of ease in life and to help people find their own truth despite all the outside influences in the media.
What daily rituals do you embrace?
Before I was pregnant is was my yoga practice. Now just something to circulate my energy, it tends to stagnant so I need to really move it.
Cooking, every day for at least one meal if not all of them. I try to think of my meals as herbal formulas and balance them for what my body really needs.
Meditation, I try to drop in throughout the day, between clients or when I start to get off track with fear or anxiety. I take a step back to breath and calm myself, change my brain waves a bit.
What makes you feel most vulnerable?
Being pregnant makes me feel pretty vulnerable. When I’m at my best, when I connected I don’t feel vulnerable. When I’m not at my best, I can feel insecure that i don’t know enough, I’m not doing enough, so I think that I should know more, learn more tools and develop my skills more. When I’m at my best I have confidence, I believe I know enough already.
What did you have to give up for your dream and was it worth it?
Stability, the idea of having a job and a path that’s laid out in front of me. I don’t have a set salary or benefits, you give them up in a field that is growing or euntrepnurieal. If I don’t work or I’m not doing the work to keep everything going, both on myself and the business, then I don’t make the money. I really have to practice the principles of health which I teach to make everything work.
What do you want to be remembered by?
I’d like to be remembered by my qualities, kind and helpful. I don't’ think there is any work, just who I am as a person. How I move through the world and how people perceive me.
Sunlight or Moonlight?
Sunlight. I love the day, the beach and doing things out in sunlight
Do you believe in Magic?
Yes, but I don't believe it to be as elusive as some. We experience it every day, called many different names, but it’s there every day.