Insights from the Interview
The deepest philosophy is not nearly as important as an embodied experience of what you're trying to learn. No matter what you study/learn - you have to live it.
I came to yoga through my mother - she picked it up when I was young and I remember all of us being quite skeptical in the beginning. But then one day in my early teens, I walked into the room when she was practicing and decided to try and join her in some of the movements and realized it was not as easy as it looked.
I really enjoyed what she taught me but mostly what I saw was a woman who changed. She went from a person who was maybe too modest and even a little depressed to someone who was more proud of herself, more confident and happy. Her transformation is really what caught my attention and from that point I started to take yoga more seriously and I began to practice with her regularly. I was 18 when I did my first Yoga Teacher Training in Hatha with the same teacher my mother had. I learnt alot from him.
After doing that first Teacher Training I grew up and traveled a bit :)
Then I did a meditation and self development training with Taetske Klein - called ‘CLARITY” which was very impactful for me and really shaped my self inquiry and practice.
I also trained with Clive Sheridian who guided me more into a Pranayama practice and also in a more determined and strong asana style. He took me to India, he took me out of my comfort zone and I learned there to live life more to its fullest, without shrinking back - there amongst the snakes and nature.
I trained with Leslie Kaminoff doing his online anatomy training. Leslie is a teacher that does not answer questions which was frustrating at the time, but also wonderful. He helps you find the answer yourself. And I am very grateful to Leslie for that experience.
Later came Burks as a meditation teacher. He helped me dive deeper into my mediation practice. I learned from him the importance of concentration and focus. To have an ‘unwavering’ mind. Especially when we are on this inward journey, this unwavering mind helps us to penetrate the moment and this awareness of being present becomes more important than whether what we are ‘experiencing’ is ‘pleasant, unpleasant or neutral’.
Right now I’m starting a new training program with Jack Cornfield and Tara Brach about mindfulness and meditation. I really see them as elders, Jack Cornfield in particular, is a powerful embodied teacher.
Living the learnings
For me with all of these teachings came the understanding that:
The deepest philosophy is not nearly as important as an embodied experience of what you're trying to learn.
No matter what you study/learn - you have to live it. You have to apply it inwardly - it has to become a practice.
You need to take time to sit with your eyes closed. Take time to feel what you’re feeling and work with it. Otherwise it’s only ever going to be a cognitive understanding of something that can’t be separated from mind and body. When we only move from the mind there is something missing. There is a deep love that you experience when you can integrate your teachings into a fully embodied practice.
My evolution - My Practice
In the beginning, yoga for me was quite physical. It was mostly about Asana. Even though I had a strong spiritual understanding of the practice I felt this need for more spiritual teachings. My first teacher (who also taught my mother) really taught me not only philosophy and asana, but about life.
The Clarity Process (mediation training) was another big step in my spiritual practice. The Clarity Process looks at your own patterns, pain, defense mechanisms and learning how to let go of patterns that no longer serve you in the present so you can live more authentically. It was hard work but very healing. This shifted my practice to be more meditative. The Clarity work made me the teacher I am today.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
After the Clarity training I began to see the wisdom texts like the Sutras and Bhagavad Gita, in a new light. Rather than just reading the words, I understood on another level because I had touched the deeper layers within myself in an embodied way. For philosophy to come alive you have to experience it!
Another thing that has influenced my practice is age. It happens to us all and learning about my body as it changes over the years also shifted the focus of my practice to be less about handstands and more about living in a body that is pain free. My practice has evolved into a more functional and embodied flow with elements from Hatha, vinyasa, yin, restorative, meditation and everything else that I have picked up along the way that encourages you to be at home in your body and present with life.
Yoga for me
Yoga is life. Yoga is about showing up for whatever it is you are doing, whether it is asana on the mat or getting out of bed and taking a moment to observe how you feel. It’s the practice of awareness. It’s knowing that when you are kissing your husband that this is a fleeting moment and will never happen quite in the same way again. It’s presence, nothing more and nothing less.
All the different aspects of a yoga practice are there to help you to feel that and experience that.
The practice is there to encourage you to show up for life and be present in every moment, for the joy, the pain, the peace, the unrest… all of it.
It’s resting in the knowledge that there is more than just you. It’s resting in the knowing that you are not even you! It rests in the certainty that you are love and in that love arises the sense of you and the experience of you and of all things in life. You are not broken, you are whole, you are love.
It’s diving under the appearance of things and knowing that there is an intelligence and a love there that is you, holding you.
One thing that I have learned and observed over the years is that you can’t stay where you are. You have to evolve. In my teachings I teach what I learn in my own continuing evolution.
Take the time to stop, to pause, to take a breath, to create space for yourself. To feel the consciousness and awareness that is you. That carries you and holds you and is always there.
When we do this our armor becomes porous and then life and light can come in.