Tell us a bit about yourself and how yoga became part of your life?
I was originally a fashion designer and art student – I studied fine arts during university and then did my masters in fashion design. Yoga came as such a surprise to me. I was transitioning from being a student, to having a full time job for the first time, as a fashion designer. I attended one yoga class and I immediately became hooked! I couldn’t stop practicing, and slowly, it changed my life in so many ways.
What’s your mission as a yoga instructor? Who are you trying to reach and why?
I guess as a yoga teacher, my message is that yoga is for everyone. I was never flexible, strong, fit or an athlete. I have no prior background in gymnastics or dance. I never thought that I would be able to know my body on such a profound level, and with everyday, I feel a stronger connection to my body and mind. Yoga is a union, or bridge, between your body and mind. On the physical level, I never imagined I would someday be able to balance on my hands or go into a split. I started yoga at 27, and I used to believe that if you miss your chances as a kid to practice your flexibility, then that’s it! But yoga proved to me that anything is possible with commitment, dedication, love and kindness. That is my message to anyone starting out with yoga!
What’s your definition of healing? What facilitates the process?
My definition of healing has shifted quite a lot in the past few months. I think every illness can be a teacher, and a form of purification, it is there for a purpose – maybe to give us a hint that something in our lifestyle is not quite right. Healing is when you’re in tune, in harmony. it is amazing the connection between our mind and body. Stress and physical tension can make us ill. I believe healing is so profound and is connected to how we feel. it is not a simple prescription or antibiotic, and definitely not as simple as Western science can make it seem!
Yoga proved to me that anything is possible with commitment, dedication, love and kindness. That is my message to anyone starting out with yoga!
What’s your relationship to your own body? How has this changed over time?
My relationship with my body is definitely one of those things that have changed with yoga – it is a relationship built on acceptance and love. I used to have unhealthy habits before, that I found impossible to maintain after starting my yoga practice. I feel loyal to my body, I don’t feel like feeding it unhealthy foods, but instead, I love foods that are nutritious, taste good and leave my body energized. I also feel that with a yoga practice, you can learn to distinguish the difference between the discomfort of a ‘stretch’ versus pain felt while stretching. I often get asked about flexibility, and how to “endure the pain”. and I always advise to never push past pain, but instead, to honor your body, and use your breath to slowly ease into it. If the body is in pain, we need to listen. Finding the difference between pain and discomfort can be difficult at first, but if we tune into the breath and listen to what the body is saying, we can know and honor the difference. My relationship with my body is one built on understanding, kindness and love. I want my yoga practice to be lifelong, and not just something I do for a couple of years and wear my body out!
What are some other common, incorrect assumptions about yoga?
Common assumptions about yoga are that it is very slow-paced and boring. but yoga can also be a great form of exercise, it can be very challenging! It can be a great way to build strength. Another common assumption is that yoga is just acrobatic or for people who are naturally flexible or thin. Yoga is for everyone, of all body types and backgrounds! You don’t need to be fit or thin to practice yoga, and you certainly don’t need to come from an athletic background.
Aside from your love for Yoga, what other passions do you have that stoke your spirit?
Aside from my love for yoga, I love art, fashion, music, nature, traveling, reading and spending time with my husband and dogs. My husband is very active, and loves traveling, after six months of meeting, we went backpacking across Europe, exploring new cities and cultures, with just two cameras. Those are my favorite kinds of days! We often go camping together and we love to just spend quality time together, under the stars and in the peacefulness of nature. I also love art and music… they’re both a part of my everyday life.
Do you follow a certain diet ?
I don’t label my diet. I have switched to a more conscious, plant-based diet. I read a lot about the foods I eat and their nutritional properties, to try to learn more about what is on my plate. I love fruits, vegetables, grains… I eat dates everyday, they are one of my favorite sources of energy! I don’t worry too much about calories or fat, I try to keep my focus on just eating a balanced, wholesome diet. I generally never liked soda, overly sweet food or meat. I loved chocolate and milk, and those are two things I cut out of my diet.
What advice would you give someone who feels they can’t practice yoga because they don’t have the right kind of body?
My advice for someone who wants to start yoga but feels they have to ‹lose weight› or that they have to have a specific body is: you don’t need to look a certain way to practice yoga. With a daily yoga practice, and a conscious diet, your body will assume its natural shape and you will fall in love with it. We are constantly told by the media or magazines what our bodies ‹should› look like, and I think yoga teaches us self-acceptance and to love our bodies in all their beautiful uniqueness.
Yoga is for everyone, of all body types and backgrounds! You don’t need to be fit or thin to practice yoga, and you certainly don’t need to come from an athletic background.
We are constantly told by the media
or magazines what our bodies should
look like, and I think yoga teaches us
self-acceptance and to love our bodies
in all their beautiful uniqueness.