1 As a woman, a mother and a yoga practitioner, tell me what do you find the most important teaching you’ve discovered from this practice and what would you share to those who are on this path?
Devotion is the only way to find surrender to something bigger than ourselves. The Guru is the light in the darkness of the illusory world and no matter how down or disappointed we may feel, the love and trust in him or her will bring us back to who we really are.
The relationship with our a Guru teaches us about trust and then we take that quality into our lives. Devotion to who we love, to our sadhana, our partners, family and friends.
Devotion is ultimately the feeling of love for life and all the experiences it brings, including gratitude even for the hard patches. They teach us patience, humility and resilience.
2 What is Feminism to you? How do you feel women can support each other?
Feminism is antagonising; sisterhood sounds better to me. Having other women in our life who we love and love us back heals many wounds the patriarchy has inflicted on us and all women for generations. The problem is a system that sees women as second category human beings. Realising we have been victims of cruel conditioning.- all of us including men, puts us in a different platform where we need to re-educate ourselves and have compassion for each gender. There are not external enemies, but our own mindset.
3 In Ashtanga practice, how do you feel we can keep the community strong and supportive for one another?
I feel as women we can support each other in this path, which is a very hard path and requires a lot of support from the sangha. I have been teaching for some years and the practice does its magic by transforming us inside out. This process can be painful as we release who we are not and find ourselves devastated by changes. The warm support of colleagues who are experiencing similar crisis is priceless.
One way to do this is to host each other in our shalas all over the world and learn from each other. I had amazing colleagues in my Shala in Costa Rica for the past 16 years and I learned so much from each one of them.
Another way is spending time in India with our Guru. Time in Mysore is quality time to dedicate to our our sadhana, go deep into our personal karmas and appreciate each other.
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 these moments we are opening ourselves up, we are vulnerable and processing whatever emotions that arise. What would be your advice in these situations? What did you find helpful to you?
Personally, I journal and write. Writing helps me understand the turnings of my mind. Reading philosophy helps a lot as well since yoga is very ancient and so many hace traveled the path before us.
Chanting also helps me a lot. Bhakti opens the heart and settles the mind. I’m grateful to all the musicians who inspire me, many of them high vibration beings who practice yoga with their voices. I studied music since I was a child and for me it has always helped me go deeper into myself.
5 In this modern world we are surrounded by distractions, whether it’s the constant stream of negative news, social media and the perfectly manufactured image of how to live 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?
I’m not a fan of news channels since so much negativity is spread daily. I’m a lawyer and was posted in India in diplomatic job for the last two years and I had my share of it as it was part of my work. Media distorts and twists the truth in so many ways according to political interests. I am very reluctant to spend my time watching fake news. Internet can be a great distraction for a yogi.
Silence is the best nourishing medicine for our busy minds. Prentice. Meditation. Journaling. Time by ourselves.
Yoga is the art of acceptance. As women, we have all been shamed and judged by our appearance by ourselves mostly. Yoga practice is gratitude of who we are as we are.
6 Who are the women that inspire you, who are the women that you admire?
I admire many women. I admire my mother and grandmothers a lot because they were rebels in front of the misoginy of my country. They were smart women who lived in times were women empowerment was barely there. Now, we are coming out strong and speaking for many of them who had to stay quiet.
I also admire women who pursue a career beyond their maternity, like me. I raised 7 children but always found time for my studies in law first and then Yôga came. I believe women must cultivate their own interests, beyond what society may think a good mother is.
For me, a mother is someone who sets the example for their offspring. When we decide to do so, we’ll probably have intense days of juggling. Yoga is my way to recharge and keep going and also find the discernment to hold space for those around me and my own transformation.
7 What are your daily rituals and routines that you feel ground you?
I do my ashtanga practice first thing in the morning. I have done it for the past 15 years. I practiced while pregnant, happy, sad, depressed, burned out… its my ritual to stay connected to who I really am. My body is my great amplifier and I have learnt to listen and give it space.
8 What makes you feel safe and secure?
I have to say waking up includes a feeling of impending doom that I have learned to live with. I know everything is temporary, in constant motion and unpredictable. I know I don’t control anything, except my own attitude in front of people’s actions, moods and events.
Void is as feathered bed. That is the name of my autobiography. That is precisely its beauty. Holding on is painful so yoga teaches us how to prevent future suffering by teaching us to find a stable place within- no matter what the outer circumstances are.
9 Which element of nature do you feel most connected to?
Water. Water adapts to all types of terrain 🙂
10 Our energy is always shifting in our monthly practice, as female practitioners when we receive our ladies holiday, whether it’s 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?
Respecting ladies holidays; spending time in nature. Journaling and reading quality literature. Visiting sacred places. Ocean. Spending time with our beloved.