Alyia is one of those people who exudes radiance. Being in her presence just feels good because she is kind, curious, open, enthusiastic, and fun. She truly cares, and knows how to ask questions and really listen to what you have to say. Alyia has passion and purpose in her life, both on a personal and a professional level. She came to my ‘mommy and me’ yoga classes last summer with her baby boy, and I could tell just how much she loved being with him, being his mama. Her love for her son fuels her purpose in life which is to help build more equitable communities. That’s why she is running for Alexandria City Council! Alyia’s own experience as a child was less than ideal. She speaks openly about this on her website alyiaforalexandria.com. She doesn’t want her son or other children to have to go through the same thing and is deeply invested in making sure all children in the city of Alexandria have access to a great education, food, housing, and health care.
Alyia Gaskins is a candidate for Alexandria City Council. She lives on the West End and is a tenacious fighter for families and healthy communities. As an experienced public health expert city planner, Alyia has worked on hunger policy at D.C. Hunger Solutions, the health team at the National League of Cities, and managed an affordable housing investment program at the Center for Community Investment. She is currently a Senior Program Officer at a national philanthropic organization focused on ending homelessness. Alyia lives in Cameron Station with her husband Greg, their son Ezekiel, and their beagle, Riley.
How do you spend your time? My days are filled with playing with my son Ezekiel, working to prevent and homelessness for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and campaigning to be the next member of the Alexandria City Council.
Neighborhood: Cameron Station
What is your hometown? Pittsburgh, PA
What brought you to Alexandria? My husband and I moved to the area after I accepted a job working for an anti-hunger organization in D.C. Growing up, I remember visiting my uncle who lived in the area. We choose Alexandria because we thought it would be a good place to eventually build a family and because of those early trips to Alexandria.
What would surprise people about you? In high school, I was the varsity lacrosse goalie
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? Flying
Favorite cocktail: Old Fashioned
Last book read or movie seen: Trolls World Your
Guilty Pleasure: Haagen Dazs Spirits Irish Cream Brownie Ice Cream
Phrase you overuse: Wonderful
Facebook or Instagram? Instagram
Latest binge-watch: HGTV Rock the Block
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? Wine (Merlot)
Define your style in three words or less: Elevated Color
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: My glasses. I recently purchased three new frames (green, floral, and leopard). They add such a fun pop to any outfit.
Favorite trend ever: Bright colors, it’s my signature.
Favorite current trend: Leggings and a fancy top for ZOOM meetings
Beauty product you can’t live without: I love a good face mask. I try to do one once a week.
Favorite fragrance: I don’t have one
Heels or flats? Heels
Favorite room in your home: The kitchen. We love cooking together and having family dance parties in the kitchen.
Antiques, modern, or a mix? Mix
Last item bought for your home: Baby gates. My son will be one in April and is walking.
Next planned purchase: A ball pit for my son
Favorite way to entertain: I love to cook. There is always room for one more at my table.
Clutter-free or well-lived in? Clutter-free but still warm and cozy
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Every time I watch HGTV, I get excited about the possibilities of wallpaper and bold prints, but I have to admit I don’t have any wallpaper in my house.
Your go-to work-out: Peloton ride with Alex Toussaint
Most fun way to exercise: Spin Class
Group exercise or solo: Group exercise
Fitness goal: Walk every day
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Ninja warrior course
Proudest fitness achievement: Running a 5K
Favorite spot in Alexandria: Jones Point Park
Last purchase in Alexandria: Take Out from Fat City Kitchen (City Kitchen)
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: Best Coffee – Cameron Café, Favorite Happy Hour – BRABO, Favorite Date Night – Taqueria el Poblano
Favorite charity: The Fund for Alexandria’s Child Holiday Sharing Program
Favorite annual Alexandria event: Alexandria Art Festival
Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.