1) How did you start practicing Yoga? Tell us about your early yoga experiences.
I started practicing yoga in a very sad and confusing moment in my life. At that time my cousin was a yoga teacher in pure yoga New York and he literally dragged me to the practice.
At the beginning the practice of asanas was very challenging for me. My mind was full of attachments, emotions, memories, insecurities, etc. and my body was extremely stiff and congested.
2) When was the moment you knew that Yoga was different or special – more than just another “exercise” or way to be physical?
For me it took some time to understand that yoga was very special , and not just another physical practice. Yoga changed for me when I understood that the breath was the center of the practice, when I started using my vinyasa practice as a moving meditation. For the first time after class my mind was calm and clear and my body was more in a relationship with my mind
3) What is your favorite and least favorite pose, and why?
I used to have a favorite pose and least favorite pose. But I don’t anymore. All poses have a favorite side and least favorite side.
4) What practices do you use to feel more peaceful, present and content
Sun salutations can totally center me, and bring me to my present condition. When you do it properly it is a moving meditation, is connecting actions, movements and breath.
5) Yama or Niyama do your find most helpful in your daily life, and why? (Yamas are “observances” that are recommended for relating to the outside world, and Niyamas are observances for dealing with internal struggles)
I believe that the Yamas and Niyamas are the foundation of our practice without which no spiritual progress along the path of yoga can be made. I think they are equally important because they are interconnected. Tapas – or self-discipline, effort, commitment with the practice always reminds me of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois “Practice,practice and all is coming”.
6) What does Svadyaya mean to you? How do you further your depth of knowledge about yourself, and what have you learned about yourself that was surprising, interesting, or of importance to you?
Svadyaya is Self observation, Self study is a fundamental element to the practice of Yoga. Asana yoga and meditation definitely are good tools for self knowledge. Daily self observation( in the train, walking, in conversation, in ones thoughts, the breath, relationships, etc) all of these can be very powerful tools!
In practicing Svadyaya I have learned to be more patient – with myself and others (which surprised me!)
7) Telling something about teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio
HYS was my first job as a yoga teacher 5 years ago and it has such an extraordinary diversity of students and teachers. I just Love it!!