A continuation of the interview with Balearic Retreat...
5. How many times have you been in India? What do these trips mean to you? Why is so important to keep going there?
I’ve been to India the past five years, four of the years I spend 2 months there, last year I took a shorter trip. This is the first year I miss out on going and it has been really hard. Going to India is a time of communion for me. It’s a time of deep reflection ,study and purging. It’s a time to slow down and be a student, it’s really nourishing. It’s been hard to stay away, but sometimes life doesn’t allow, and then you realize even more the importance it has in your life!
When I’m in Mysore I reconnect with my teacher and the lineage, I am reminded why I do this. Teaching everyday in one place and seeing students on a daily basis is intense. The teaching schedule is intense, especially when you live in a big city like Nyc. You run around all day and it takes a lot of energy to deal with all the energy the city throughs at you. The senses are continuously bombarded, your sympathetic nervous system is always on alert. So going to india really rebalances everything out. I feel like my nervous system and my hormones really benefit from the time there. Seeing the Guru in the home of Ashtanga reminds me why I do this and why it’s so important to do it as it is.
6. How do you apply the Eight Limbs of Yoga into your daily routine?
hahah that is a funny question. Let’s see, it’s not that I apply. You can’t sit there and apply the eight limbs. You practice daily an you slowly embody the eight limbs. They start to happen within you. They are like urges. All the sudden you become aware that you should care for your body and if you care for your body you begin to care about what you put in it, and about the choices you make in your life. You start to notice that what you surround yourself with affects you. You begin to see that your actions affect others. So you start to choose differently, you become curious about what you currently own,do, choose and more aware of what feels right and aligned with the greater good of yourself, and then eventually earth and all living being. There is a deep resiliency. It’s a process that unfolds naturally.
It’s good to have a teacher to guide you with these things are they come up. To ask questions and hear stories so you make the necessary changes slowly and when ready. My favorite of all the 8 limbs is Ahimsa I think all the rest of the limbs (not just yama, niyama) stem out of asana and ahimsa. Once you understand that you are in a relationship with your self and you turn that relationship into a nourishing one, it begins to change all your other relationships. You no longer want to harm anything or anyone. Non harming is not just peace and love, it can be a tough choice and often does include harming something, but it’s just the way you think about the concept of what harming is that shifts. It’s really beautiful. I think the Baghdad Gita is one of the greatest text and it really explains the broadness and depth of ahimsa in relation to our lives and our choices perfectly!!
7. You, as many other practitioners, have suffered several injuries. What is for you the correct approach to pain and injuries? Can these be revealing at some point?
I believe injury is an opportunity to listen to ourselves. It comes when we lack to listen, and tune in. When we let the mind or the ego run us around. I’m currently inured in many parts of my body, I know exactly why and yet I often continue to fail to choose to listen. It’s an ongoing learning process. When a student gets injured I try to have them take the time to see what they may be overdoing, or undergoing. I try to have them look at life as a whole not just what happens on the mat.
I also think it’s necessary to slow down and rest and heal when injured. I always encourage practice, but an adapted one, and depending on the student sometimes I ask for full rest to be taken. Due to a current injury I had to go back to practicing only primary for a whole month, without any vinyasa between things. It took a second for my mind to be ok with it, but it was the best! I felt so rested and my body healed slowly. I believe that we injure and cure ourselves through practice, and it’s always to learn something new.