Describe your love story with yoga?
It was 1998, my first Ashtanga mysore class at Sangam. I have just moved to London and a friend recommended this quiet shala. I learned only Surya Namaskars that first day and came back for more every day for years. You could say it was love at first Namaskar ˜º. I flirted with asanas, some breathing techniques and meditation while in high school, but not with a qualified teacher. A good teacher makes a world of difference. My first teacher made me fall in love with the practice.
What does yoga represent to you?
Yoga is an art of living your authenticity. It's a torch that helps you find the Truth. It's my path and my calling.
What style of yoga do you teach?
Now I only teach different Vinyasa flow and Prana flow sequences. I love how it requires much creativity, sensibility and, of course, knowledge in order to create art on the mat.
Tell us about your teaching style?
"¨The Vinyasa system I teach gives us the tools to create different practices while taking everything into consideration. For example, it considers the natural cycles like the time of the day and the season of the year. As we don't wear the same type of clothes, eat the same food or drink the same beverages in summer and in winter, so too our practice should change in consideration of all of those changes. It isn't easy to do this, especially in a group setting where there are other things to be taken into consideration like different constitutions of the students, different energy levels etc., but that's what makes teaching Vinyasa flow interesting and creative.
Who are your (favorite) teachers?
My teacher Shiva Rea is my greatest inspiration. But, there are so many others that inspired the different steps I took on my yoga path "“ ashtangies Hamish Hendry and Gingi Lee as my first teachers, David Swenson as one of my all time favorites, Seane Corn (Vinyasa), Gary Kraftsow (Viniyoga), Sharath Rangaswamy (Ashtanga), my beautiful friends and teachers Twee Merrigan (Prana flow), Neil Barker (Anatomy, Ashtanga), Gabriela Bozic (Jivamukti) etc.
How does your personal yoga practice look like (on and off the mat)?
On the mat "“ different at different times. Sometimes I only do pranayama and meditation, sometimes it is a full on two hour Agni Vinyasa practice. Depends what my body and soul need that day. "¨Off the mat is always the most challenging practice. I try to be my authentic self every day. I try to see my truth, live my truth and inspire others to do the same. I try to get involved as much as I can and be socially responsible. "¨I believe yoga off the mat is what we all need right now to create a change on a global level. Can you imagine what a great impact we would make if every yogini and yogi would skip one asana practice a week and for those few hours go out and do some real yoga - Karma yoga. Help someone, make a difference, create a change...
What tips would you give to a new yogi?
Trust and listen to your body. Never push it over the limits. Yoga is a healing practice - injuries should not be a part of it. And...enjoy the ride!:)
Please share your favourites with us - books, sites, anything that tickles your yogic fancy!
I love books, there are so many on my bookshelf and many on my bedside table, hard to pick a few. I love reading poetry, Buddhist philosophy and yogic scripts. Right now I'm reading Shiva's new book "“ Tending the heart fire and loving it! "¨I'm not much into web sites as such unless it's a documentary on you tube I'm watching. Yoga sites these days with '5 ways to do this' and '10 ways to do that' annoy me. I never read that stuff. But, here is a useful website: http://consciouslifenews.com/166-documentaries-expand-consciousness/
What's your secret to happiness?
I just came back from India where everybody seems much happier with much less than people here in Europe. So, it's about seeing the glass half full I guess. "¨Knowing who I am and living who I am makes me happy. My loving family and friends make me happy. My dog, my students, traveling, being creative, being free...
What are your grateful for today?
Being able to eat something other than rice ˜º (I was unwell last week). I am grateful for my students who were so happy to see me teaching this morning after being away for a month. Riding my bike for the first time this season. For beautiful sunny day and my beautiful friend Dona whom I had coffee with today and who is always positive and makes me smile. I count my blessings every day. It's a good, humbling practice.
How do you live a wholehearted life?
I believe Love and acceptance are key. I try to love and accept myself as I am and others as they are. Love and accept challenges life brings no matter how difficult, as challenges make you grow. Love and accept changes, as change is a natural state. I try to listen to my heart and my intuition and very importantly - trust Life.
You love to travel, how does your passion for travel connect with your passion for yoga?
Traveling is so important for me "“ it's my yoga off the mat, my soul food. My goal this year is to travel and teach more. I am planning a few retreats "“ the one in India I am very excited about. I often travel for work or my own education, but lately I like to travel just to feed my soul ˜º.
Which cause (s) do you support? What concerns you the most?
We often have events at my studio to raise money for different things. I prefer to help one specific family or small organization than to give money into big organizations, and that is what we do lately. I like to help dog shelters as well. "¨There are so many problems and concerns our global community is facing, I feel we are spinning in a wrong direction, I'm hoping there will be a critical mass (people ARE waking up slowly) to change the direction. So, BE THE CHANGE!
What is your top travel tip?
Get to know local people, talk to strangers, leave your map at home and get lost every once in a while ˜º.
Your favorite destination and why?
India. She's a great teacher. And a great inspiration.
I love Rumi, so I'll close with his immortal words that speak to me in so many ways...
My heart is burning with love. All I can see is this flame."¨ My heart is pulsing with passion, like waves on an ocean.
I am home, wherever I am. "¨And in the room of lovers, I can see with closed eyes the beauty that dances "¨behind the veils intoxicated with love."¨I too dance the rhythm of this moving world.