1 As a woman, a mother and a yoga practitioner, tell me what do you find the most important teaching you have discovered from this practice and what would you share to those who are on this path?
That we have to work with our own minds and karmas first before we can be of use to anyone else.
We experience the power of unconditional love as mothers and I believe this capacity is innate in all humans we just have to uncover it.
2 What is feminism to you? How do you feel women can support each other?
Feminism is the realization that by being in a female body we are particularly connected to the pure energetic force. Though it exists in all genders and forms women are direct manifestations of this quality.
Woman can reflect this to each other. It’s a vast power which is not limited and because of this it has inspired fear and attempts have been made to suppress it. However it cannot be suppressed nor does it need to defend itself. Women can remind each other of this.
3 In ashtanga practice, how do you feel we can keep the community strong and supportive for one another?
First by working with our own minds. By not identifying with with the most limited version of ourselves. To allow for individual differences in Sadhana Understanding that our connection to practice is not bestowed by an outside authority. Yoga is not something we do it’s something we are.
4 With this practice we are constantly challenging ourselves both mind and body. This requires a lot of self discipline, focus and consistency in our daily routine. In this moments we are opening ourselves up, we are vulnerable and processing whatever emotions that rises. What would be your advice in these situations? What did you find helpful to you?
I find it very helpful to allow vulnerability to be there. To look straight into it and have compassion for the human condition we all share. We can work with uncertainty and slowly gain confidence to let go oh the edge and float.
5 In this modern world we are surrounded by distractions, whether its the constant stream of negative news, social media and the perfectly manufactured image of how to liveness life, our appearance and body shaming. It has the power to knock us off balance. How do we nourish ourselves? How do we find acceptance?
First we have some amount of choice in what we take in. We spend vast energy in choosing what to put in our bodies and very little on what to take into the mind. For me personally I find a period of mantra and meditation in the early morning a mind wash.
6 Who are the women that inspire you, who are the women that you admire?
Tenzin Palmo, Pema Chodren, Frieda Kali and all of the mostly unknown female Yoga practitioners throughout time.
7 What are your daily rituals and routines that you feel ground you?
I have a short puja which I do in the morning along with a small mantra and meditation session followed by asana which I find very grounding. It can be adapted to travel and so it’s always there very portable:)
8 What makes you feel safe and secure?
I feel that being okay with impermanence and not trying to control outcomes actually helps a lot. I do my best to set up what might be helpful causes and conditions but accept a great deal of it is not in my control. This takes off the burden a great deal.
9 Which element of nature do you feel most connected to?
Fire. I honor all tattvas but feel a special affinity to fire.
10 Our energy is always shifting in our monthly practice, as female practitioners when we receive our ladies holiday, whether its a seasonal change or when we travel to different climates. How can we find a balance and a grounding when we feel these changes happen?
Well we suffer when we try to hold on pleasant situations. It’s been helpful to me to meditate and align with Para Shakti as holding several implements such as the trident (Gunas in equipoise) bow (Power of the concentrated mind) noose (conquest over grasping and greed) goad (conquest over aversion and hatred) five arrows ( five elemental tattwa five organs of action and five sense organs) and the skull cup dripping blood (the vanquished small egoistic sense of separateness)
Basically to stop grasping and allow change in a fearless way.
Pictures: Andy Shupe (cover) & private archive of Louise