Review Ashtanga Yoga- Laruga Glaser Interview
So this is true and I’m at the beautiful purple Valley and this time I’m interviewing the ruka Glaser, and she is from Philadelphia based in Sweden. Is that right? Or am I wrong already? You’re wrong. I’m already from. I’m from Columbus, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, like it Philadelphia, no idea probably thinking of cheese’s and pizzas and gardeners, but yeah, so from Ohio, but now you’re based in Sweden, etc. Yeah, and Stockholm, Stockholm. Nice. And I’ve been doing my research. So I’ve been talking to the students that are with Regulus, with you and talking to the students here at this particular retreat. And what I’m hearing all the time is you’re so inspirational, your adjustments that fantastic, you’re strong, but still feminine, and everything is like super positive. And I must admit from my own experience, as well, just some of the best adjustments I’ve received, you know, in the
I’ve been practicing right strength for me because obviously it’s different for everybody needs different things right for me, but also
very secure. There was one particular passion adjustment and it was like rock solid. And and but also really nice the right strength to me and the adjustment. And that that takes some doing because bodies like mine You can see in the mind nice shirt I’m wearing today, but bodies like mine quite hard and quite resistant to to adjust sometimes. And what I want to ask you first of all is what goes through your mind when you’re adjusting and how do you approach it and how do you protect your own body when you’re actually adjusting people that are much bigger than yourself because you’re quite petite. So there’s gonna be a lot of bodies that are bigger than you.
you know, for me, it kind of starts with observing a student. Yeah, and
giving them some space and seeing how they move.
And then from that study of the student coming in, and when I offer adjustment, usually I want to start from them feeling grounded. Yeah. Do they feel like some type of connection to the earth to the floor, so they can then find that space to kind of lift up again. So it’s really important that the student feels a sense of grounding. So I like to start there. And then
kind of start to guide them further or deeper into the pose, but doing it with the breath. So not just kind of coming in. Yeah, I really noticed that when you were just in me as well that definitely there was a sense your breath was the same as mine. And obviously every student’s breath is different. Yeah, but you like tuned in to me rather than trying to impose your breath on mine, which sometimes I’ve had. And and that was really nice, because I knew
where I was, as you say, I felt really grounded and secure. And then it seemed to be that the you really tapered the strength of the adjustment in so it was
very sensitive to how my body was going to receive it. But at the same time you had the reserve there to apply more strengthen the adjustment if it was needed. Yeah, and I, I always like to have a sense when I’m adjusting a student that I’m inviting myself into someone else’s energy, right. So I don’t want to come in barging in like acting as if I’m just gonna impose some type of will or, or an energy that’s not so inviting, yes, someone so I kind of want to come in and feel their space. And then I have so they can have a sense of grounding also next having a sense of grounding, and then coming in and deepening, deepening the, the, the practitioner or the student is so needed.
Because I have also learned from my own experiences of being adjusted. Yeah, I know what that can be like and how it can sometimes feel overpowering. Yeah. But I like adjustments too. And, but I always want this sense of respect with students. And again, like I had said before inviting myself into them their space. Yeah, feeling where they are.
My big thing is to if there’s no breath, if there’s no deepening of breath, why should I push a posture further? Yes. So if they’ve lost control of the posture themselves already? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I feel like it’s so important that they have the breath and, and sometimes if I feel like the breath isn’t as fine tuned as it could be, I’ll breathe with them to remind them, right? So I kind of come in, I don’t want to like breathe down their neck or anything. But I come in and I just breathe gently with sound. Sometimes it reminds students Oh, okay. Yes to be breathing. Right. So
And then also just working with the energy just feeling a softening. So sometimes when you adjust students, it’s easy for them to want to really push against your adjustment or further it a little bit too strongly, right? And so I really want them to be trained to soften under my hands, and not necessarily feel like they need to harden or actually be more aggressive in the pose and take it just because you’re there. Take it further because you’re there as well. Exactly. Nice. And how do you protect your own body because adjusting you can be in a always in a semi awkward position was quite easy to put yourself in a semi awkward position, particularly dealing with different size bodies, different heights, different weights. So what’s going through your own mind when you’re getting yourself into position to adjust? I have to be grounded too. That’s really important. And it’s interesting like teaching in Sweden, most of the students are a bit bigger than me. Yeah, in Sweden, everyone’s quite tall. Yeah.
Viking heritage. Exactly. Yeah.
It’s a little bit overwhelming and I do sometimes I feel like a lot of the, you know, it tends to go into my hip, I have to be careful into my low back, right. But I try to make sure that I have a good sense of grounding myself. Yeah, if I’m going to help somebody else ground
that I have a good sense of my own body. I think that’s really important too.
But it’s really interesting when you observe a student you observe how they move. There’s been times I’ve had, you know, you there’s sometimes there’s cookie cutter adjustments, like there’s kind of like these adjustments, you know, that can work on maybe like 60% standard. This is the chicken Asner adjustment. Oh, yeah. Yeah. But I’ve also learned when I like there’s been some students, they maybe have special limitations, or maybe it’s their size compared to mine and I’ve had a makeup and adjustment as I go along. But I know what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to ground them. I’m trying to I want them to get some type of lift and also possibly deepen them.
Yeah, so it’s also kind of knowing where the energy is going in a pose. And and oftentimes I have to kind of be creative as I go along, when it comes to the size of my body compared to the students. Yeah, these types of things, and then not just like on me on that particular process, for example, you will use in your forum as a lever on my shoulder, we were going around this way. And, and that felt really nice. I mean, not that not the point of the elbow
to encourage it back, but it was more like a softer, softer part of the forearm and it just felt like a really nice lever. And is that the sort of things that you sort of adjust depending on the size of the person and and where your body is in relation to them? Yeah, so I mean, if someone has a little bit more, if it’s a little
you know, you’re a little bit of a bigger guy. So I have to use a little bit more of my, my strength and I have to use what I have to make the pivot
as effective or make the adjustment effective for you.
you know, I tried it, I want people to feel as comfortable as possible.
But also from my own practice, I’ve also learned how important it is to get a sense of lifting, especially in push us in a
sense of lifting. That’s why also I focus on the head to your placement of the head, because a lot of times people like to slump and then turn. Yeah, so I really like people to get those shoulders back so they can deepen their twist. And so it could feel a little bit more alive. Yes, yeah, things are important for me. And do you ever had the feeling and I might be completely on the wrong track here. But it just for me, in this last week or so, I’ve received quite a few adjustments from you on twisting postures, shall we say? Was that just coincidence? Or do you sometimes theme your adjustments for certain individuals thinking okay, maybe we’ll target their twists or their forward forwards or whatever.
Is that the sort of thing that goes through your mind? Or was it just coincidence that it seemed that that it was a lot of twisting? Was that just a different twist? I needed the most help in the twisting prices? I really, I mean, personally, I really liked twisting poses. Yeah, I think they’re just so good for the internal organs for the spine. So personally, I love a good twist. Yeah. But also, I think it’s a little bit a coincidence sometimes, for whatever reason, it seems to flow that way on a certain day. Yeah. And I think that’s also comes into play with observing feeling the energy.
Just feeling what’s good for that day, or if for some reason, it tends to be a pattern. Yeah. When you look back on it’s always a little bit interesting. So not necessarily a conscious decision, but maybe subconsciously things and energy influenced you along that way. Yeah. And there’s many times when I teach I might have a conscious decision that I want to do such and such right then the energy takes me some
place else I don’t like. So I try to be open to that. Yeah. So I find that really interesting just being open. There’s also a sense of like when I teach is emptying myself so I can be filled with something like a greater guidance as I move through the room. And sometimes it’s really out of my control.
But at the same time, I think it’s good maybe to have some type of
maybe you can have certain things that you want to focus on with students and things like that, but I tend to more kind of go with the flow and see what’s happening because it changes daily, doesn’t it even the same set of students is a different energy sometimes a different days. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. So sometimes the the energy is high and alive and other times it’s just really low. Yeah. Or it seems like a lot of people are off. And also it could be maybe that I’m on right now. I
and sometimes I feel like maybe I’m doing everything wrong. Yeah, I feel that our labor is not quite flowing enough. But then also I have to kind of go with
too, I really feel like especially teaching, you know, my sort of practice. It’s just, it’s a practice for me too. It’s like, I always see it as a skill set. So every time I’m in my server room, I really see it as a practice that I’m honing in on and how can I be more effective? How can I be more receptive to the students? How can I observe them more?
How can I tune in to what they need? These types of things are really important for me, and it starts to grow over time. And that’s why I really, I mean, teaching my soars. There’s so much growth. For me as a teacher that happens in the room.
I feel like it’s an extension of my own practice. And I really see it as a practice in the teaching of the mice. Yeah, yeah, that’s definitely nice. And I’ve noticed that you have a real intensity in the room, you know, not not intense as in deep or whatever, but an intensity of
a little bit like an eagle sort of scanning through the room and you’re absolutely there 100% with no distraction or whatever, which is, again, refreshing that always see that. And are you taking in how much of the room are you? Not necessarily while you’re doing an adjustment, it seems to be that you actually really are with that person while you’re doing the adjustment. But then when you’ve left them, you can see that my interest you want this
is purely for the research, you understand
that then when you’ve left that person, it’s almost like you’re scanning like an eagle with scan for mouse or whatever. The room and taking it all in and what are the sort of because there must be many draws towards you than that when you see something and you’re used to it.
potential areas for improvement must pop up like flowers everywhere.
So how do you stop yourself from being maybe drawn to the same individual all the time? If they need a lot of help, or in spreading yourself around? how did how do you sort of temper that? Or do you just go with your instincts? I guess? I mean, it might sound like a simplistic answer, but I kind of go with my instinct, because you start to see there’s cycles within your students. So sometimes, students are going to go through a cycle where they need more of your system, rather than they’re gonna have to go through a time where they don’t need your assistance as much. And sometimes the best adjustment is no adjustment, right? Sometimes it’s like nothing at all and giving them space to figure it out. I think when I look back at my own experience, there’s been so many gaps where I’ve had to practice on my own. Yeah, that I’ve really I’ve honed in on how to
I’ve had to, I guess I should say, I’ve explored the poses in a way that I had to kind of figure it out on my own. Yeah.
I see how important that is for students to have that space to. So I’m not leaving them out in the cold. And I really want them to feel I’m holding the space. Yeah. And then I’m always there to answer questions. But at the same time, I think it’s good that they, you know, they get my support, but also that I give them space to, so they can start to kind of discover the poses for themselves. Yeah. And not to micromanage everything that they do. And, and sometimes I’ll see some things in students that okay, maybe it’s not quite, you know, all there. Yeah. And that’s fine. I want them to kind of be in that space for a while and also know that they’re in a space of, of acceptance, like it’s okay. That, you know, you’re not fully expressing the pose, and then I don’t need to, you know, hover over them every step of the way. And then there’s a time where I need to come in and challenge them more and maybe push them and I like to push students, right, you know, but also I like to make them work and sometimes making them work.
means that they’re not going to get that heavy adjustment all the time because sometimes they get a little bit spoiled. You can get really dependent on it. You’re almost like I know I’m very hungry for adjustments. I love being adjusted. And and, but it does make you like, not lazy, but almost Yeah, where’s my where’s my adjustment in this takes me that much deeper and sometimes I think you’re right you can stop exploring yourself. Can’t you rely on the teacher to take you somewhere? Exactly. This is very interesting. And a lot of picking up on what you said just now a lot of people your regulars that I’ve been talking to was saying that you seem to know what they need at particular times. And I suppose this is coming back to what you said just now about not always adjusting but does that broaden itself as well? Can you pick up on maybe what’s going on outside but then bringing into the mat and with that influence how you deal with them in the class or
Do you mean what’s going on in their lives? Well, what they’re bringing into the shala with them, maybe because it seems to be that they’re saying that you get a really good feel for whether they need to be, you know, challenged, as you say, or just get it right at that particular time. So you’re picking up on something. Yeah. And I don’t really know, it’s like, I think it goes back to I don’t, there’s no real formula for it. It just goes back to observing. Yeah, feeling receptive to their energy being tuning into their energy. And I’m a really, I’m super sensitive. And so
you know, there’s been times when I could have just I’ve been observing a student I can tell that there was something a little bit off right. And,
and even in Sweden, it’s so interesting, because in Sweden, people tend to be very, like more inward, okay, so don’t show it somewhere. But I can I’ve started to pick up on new ones and then when they talk to me personally, if I just kind of say Hey, have you been and then it’s
All starts to come out and I’m like, Ah, you know, it’s so interesting how it can be expressed on the mat. And,
you know, I,
it’s just my thoughts just so fascinating when you see people daily, it’s just like you just start to feel their energy and
and just going with that gut instinct of knowing when to push and knowing when to kind of like give some space and let go. And
And the beautiful thing that I’ve observed and in teaching my regular students is just that life is always changing. Yes, Oh, is this flow of life and, you know, there’s birth, there’s death, there’s divorce, there’s marriage, there’s ups, there’s downs, and I see it through my own students. And, and I just feel really blessed to just to facilitate a space for people to come where they feel like they can just do this practice, to heal themselves or to grow
it is my, it is my greatest wish to like give people what they need when they need it. And I don’t think I always get it right. But I try, you know, it’s like,
Yeah, I just I try and
I’m so inspired by the practice, like, what is given to my own life. So I really believe, you know, that I can give to so much others. So
whatever I can do to keep people in that space to explore this practice with which ultimately they explore within themselves. Yeah, you know, I just, I’ll give anything for that, you know, and
it’s just been really rewarding. And with the challenges in your own life, if you pick Lowe’s or whatever, how is the practice helped you in those situations and have you channeled it in certain ways in order to facilitate
help on the outside of your life?
Yeah, I mean, I mean, the practice has been giving me so much stability when my life has felt like, you know, topsy turvy or upside down.
But there’s definitely been times when it’s been hard to practice, you know, to even get on the mat. Yes, yes, definitely. And I haven’t had a period a few years ago where I was feeling like a lot of fatigue. So I would even come to my mat. And it was even a struggle to like get through the sun salutations, where sometimes I would have to stop, because I just it felt like, I just had nothing like left to give to the practice. And it was a little bit not just a little bit, it was frustrating. Yeah. Because there’s some you kind of feel like you want to go through Yeah, you want to go through your practice, you want to do your practice.
And so I had to also grapple with this whole thing of like feeling so self identified with being able to do what I could do. Yes.
In the practice, yes, yeah. And I think to going through that process was very softening for me to kind of like
to feel that there wasn’t really a reserve of energy and to just kind of go with that and not to push so much against it, but then to at least make the effort to just come to my mat and just see what was available. And, and it kind of took a while for me to climb back up. And even now, it’s been interesting. Like we’re before this happened, I always felt like it was just steady March, like I could just I had always had it. Yeah. But now I feel that I’m climbing but then sometimes there can be like a low dip for a few days. And then it’s a climb and then a low dip. So this has been really interesting. And this has been going on for what a few years. Yeah, yeah. So I have quite a challenge. Yeah, it’s been. I’m climbing now. But then now I feel like sometimes it’s good. There’s a variance in that climb. Yeah.
But now when I’ve been reflecting on it, I just see that it’s
Really just softened me further. And, and I can kind of just let go to just also just self identify and what I did before and how I was always kind of able to, to, I don’t know, even practice at a certain level all the time, and maybe it has to do with aging or maybe I don’t know, I think too, I wasn’t maybe taking care of myself as well as I could as far as like eating properly, you know, things. So, some things happened within our bodies that were just it’s talking to us telling us to, to slow down or to sleep more or whatnot.
But, but the softening thing is really interesting. And because I mean, you have you’re very strong, physically strong, we can see that in your body. And but you also have a very feminine practice. And it’s that part of the softening. How do you combine the two and that there’s so many students that I talked to that said, You’re 17
Firing because you make some of those postures that typically may be thought of as very male or easier for male practitioners, maybe pincher or my arrest no neck. Krasner some of those postures, but you do it with the femininity and strength as well. So how do you combine those things? How do you how do you work on your strength? First of all, I’m asking too many questions. Maybe just pick one of those cases.
I mean, to me, I feel like as a woman, honoring my femininity is a strength. Yeah. So why should I try to act like be more male or Yes, like or have an A try to, like fill that with? More like male energy? Yeah. I mean, we obviously as men and women, we have both energies within us. But I feel like this sense of my own femininity within the practice is actually a strength. Yeah. And so
There has to be, you know, especially like I guess more stronger type or strength based
poses, I really feel like that you need this sense of like, you know this rooting and grounding but a receptivity around the strength pace poses.
And it doesn’t have to be so like, brute so hard like yeah, yeah, yeah. And I feel like that’s actually not as strong. I feel like that it blocks the energy a bit so like a tree I suppose if it’s rigid then it gets easily blown over in a hurricane if it gives then it withstands it doesn’t make that same sort of elastic energy. Hmm. I definitely agree with that. And so
yeah, I like and also just like within one breath, I mean, there’s this there is that inhale that male energy and within the exhale, there’s a softening. So I like
Playing with both of that, you know, it’s like and also like feeling the energy like so writing the energy that wants to go upward. But then at the same time softening, when you feel it and just going with it, instead of going against it. And I really feel like in the practice, it’s like you have to feel
you have to feel the energy and open up to it, and it carries you. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just and it takes a bit of softening to do that. It can’t be just like, Yeah, do you know, like, robotic or to military type of style? I mean, I don’t know where I’m coming up with that. But
but it can’t be too You see that sometimes with a strong gaze, or it can be a bit too hard. Yeah, rigid. And so I think it’s so important that you have to open up to it
until you work on so it’s good to have those tools in the box, isn’t it? I mean, we can we know that you have that strength and then when
You’ve got that strength, you can soften it if you haven’t got it. It’s difficult to deal with do these postures Exactly. How do you work on the strength yourself? Do you do in practice? Or do you do certain things that help enhance certain postures? Have you work on building your own?
Question? Um, my big thing, especially when I first started,
like in the practice, because there are many things that I couldn’t do, right, but I really, I really leaned into my weaknesses. Like and I say this to students lean into your areas of weakness, don’t try to get out of it. Don’t try to bypass it right? You’ve got to go straight through. And, and I remember the first time I started practicing Ashtanga and then it was like, you know, blue tea at the end and I kind of saw the teacher dudas, like, Oh, that’s so easy. And then I’m thinking and then I start to like press myself up and nothing was happening didn’t leave the ground. No, not quite. It was it like and I was thinking Oh,
Oh my god, this is shocking. Yeah. Like, it looks easy.
But for me, it was like, Oh, I want to lean into that. I want to lean into that, that
there’s nothing happening. Let’s see if something can happen. Yeah.
for me, I didn’t I never entertained the possibility of just bypassing that right? I wanted to go straight through and just see what happens. And how do you meet those challenges? Do you? So you’re going straight at it? But do you repeat things? Do you work them
outside and then put it all together? Or work on parts of it and then combine it? Or do you just just not avoid it? How do you work on those obstacles that you meet? I act To be honest, I don’t do too much on the outside of the practice. But usually I will. I will repeat. I’ll repeat something Yeah, but I try. I make
And this is something that I learned is I make sure I don’t get too obsessive. Okay? So if I, if I’m starting to want to do more than three times, four times, five times, then I’m just like, no, like, I just want to, I’ll just stop right and move on.
But I also think feel like with strength, it’s so much about focus. And then like, feeling a sense of, because there’s many times when I’ve tried certain strength based poses, you’re doing it and nothing’s happening happening at all. Especially like something like eka pada. bakasana. Yeah, when I first tried that, it was like, I was an elephant. Nothing was like, no lift off, nothing happening, but I just, I would just kind of hold where I could and just feel okay, where will they where does the energy need to go? And then and then just backing off and then moving on, but just having a real sense of focus leaning into the area of weakness where it felt like nothing was happening.
I wish I had something more concrete.
know, then that Yeah, but I really feel like it also it just focus, the sense of focus.
When you’re when you’re attempting these poses, yeah, cuz sometimes I see in students you know, they try you know, something like outta here. They’re lifting and they’re just like, give up too quick. Just give up too quick. Oh, this isn’t for me or like, yeah, oh, I’m not strong. Yeah. And
for me, it’s but I just would just stay in it as best I could just stay in it. And that’s how you liberate the energy. That’s how it starts to awaken.
And it’s like you said some people as well. It’s difficult to to know, where you have to direct that energy, isn’t it? Sometimes you’re in and you’re trying to live, but you’re trying to think, what is it that’s got to move in order to get me up or get this bit up? And is that just being more sensitive to what’s going on in the body?
Yeah, yeah, and
I think one important thing is this grounding I keep going back to.
So with strength based poses, I always start from grounding. So where I can connect down into the earth or into my mat into the floor, starting from there, and having a real strong connection with the ground. And then I what I feel is you kind of feel this downward pouring of energy. And just also like making sure the hands are in the proper place and, and just feeling this connection of just pouring all the energy down. And then you kind of feel this rebound of energy coming up.
And that’s been an important part of my process to when especially when it comes to things when it comes to arm balances, and that sort of thing. Yeah. And I suppose we could call that like a fundamental of the practice the grounding. Is there other fundamentals that you can think of that people could sort of bear in mind for that overall practice and say, okay, are the
elements in place, obviously, the grounding and maybe we can say the breath without taking too many of you. Right from the word. Yeah. But are there other aspects that bear in mind that sort of crop up regularly or that you could say, Okay, look at these building blocks to make sure that is in place. Yeah, grounding, definitely breath, like you said, um,
Like, I just find it really important that you feel every part of your body so there’s no part of your body that that’s an awake or dead or, I mean, I’m also big on like, I always, I’m always telling students even in my own practice, just like even from the tips of my toes, yeah, like all the energy awake, like the legs engaged, a strong connection to my core, but going throughout my whole entire body. So I feel
Like when the whole body is engaged and is in play, it makes the body lighter, more energetic
to feel this coursing of energy throughout the whole body, I just find that really important. I mean, and I tend to when I teach it, it seems really silly, but sometimes I’m like wiggling people’s toes are tapping their shoulders or bring awareness to those points. Exactly. Especially if I feel like there’s a place in the body that just seems a little bit on alive, right? And I want I want students to be able to explore waking up parts of their body. And that’s a very fundamental things. So that’s something that can be done in standing poses and in seated poses. But what I’ve learned from my own experience is little things become big things. So these little things when we waken up the body when we ground when we lift when we pull the shoulders down,
just having good posture in our postures. So why should the shoulders be creeping up? Yeah, you know
We don’t like we don’t want to sit like this and day to day life so the shoulders should be down.
I feel like all that stuff carries through and more complicated or more challenging poses. So get the basics get the basic postures as clean as you can. And then that whole. Yeah, exactly. And or energetically clean. No, it’s not necessary that it has to look pretty. But I feel like energetically, there should be a sense of a line, like a lightness in the body, obviously, with the breathing,
a sense of like, just this unit unit unity, this, I don’t know even how to explain it, but just the sense of energy coursing through the body. So there’s not a lot of like, dead areas, okay. And
sometimes you use the word integrated. It’s that same sort of thing, the same concept that you’re talking about there. You can even save like fully embodied. Yeah, like fully embodying the pose.
It’s kind of a hard thing to talk about, I guess because it doesn’t seem so concrete.
And especially like in seated poses to a lot of times in primary series, if there’s like a straight leg out, it’s easy for that leg to be a little bit dead. Yeah, making sure that it’s engaged. Even though we’re not necessarily standing on that link. It’s just important that everything in the body is in play, even though it might not be the main focus of the pose. Because sometimes it’s, well, it’s easy to get
all your attention going to that particular bit. It’s a little bit tighter, isn’t it? And then forgetting about everything else, because you can feel this is this, this bit. And so that’s what you’re saying, don’t just get drawn to that one spot. Make sure everything else is working and alive as well. Mm hmm. Exactly. And we’re going to you’re going to sort of jump through is jump backs that sort of embodies much of what we’re talking about, doesn’t it this sort of grounding
The strain the, the flow of energy. So you’re going to do a demo for us at the end and talk through how we can do those things. And
you’re also apparently, you know, I’ve heard this myself two, very good at explaining the technical bits of the SSL makes a lot of sense to people when you’re saying, okay, you know, you need to do this, this or whatever. And, and has that come from your own explorations of your own body in your own practice? Or
which teachers have you been inspired by and drawn from knowledge wise?
Well, I think it really goes to all this time. I’ve kind of explored the poses on my own. But I mean, I’ve had great teachers that I’ve worked with.
And my first Ashtanga Yoga teacher was a woman, and she was extremely strong, right? And I think for me to be able to see that at such a
early part of my practice history was very profound for me to see a woman that could do things that I thought were even possible. Yeah, for a woman to do.
And once I got that into my kind of into my psyche, I was just like, ah, wow, this is this is like unchartered territory. Yeah. I mean, because I started the practice kind of young I was fairly open, not as open as I am now.
So I started yoga around 18 but it stung about 20 right.
So once I found a strong I was really taken by the like the dynamic
part of the practice or how the how dynamic the practice was.
with with this all the time, but then, you know, I’ve been working with teachers, but there was many times that I was working on my own. And I always like to just kind of pick apart the poses, but not
In like an obsessive way, but just really feeling where I could just be more connected inside the pose.
And I don’t know, maybe it’s just in my character or something like that. But even the simplest poses, I always kind of want to, like explore, like new places with inside of it.
new ways to kind of enter in and out of the pose.
How to feel more connected. And it’s not always about being deeper, or things like that, or, or maybe being deeper but not necessarily like, you know, trying to be super flat or super flex in the pose. Yeah.
So, just studying the poses
is something that I i that I’ve just kind of that has been something a part of me I don’t know, are you a detail person in in outside life due to like a lot of detail and things that you
I’m quite detailed in some things and not in others. Yeah, so I’m a Virgo. So right, it’s quiet. But yeah, I’m quite detailed. When if things of interest, but it’s either it’s all or nothing, right? Either I’m all in or I’m just like, I’m not interested not interested. Yeah. And so when when you say that you you play with a posture that you’re used to, you might have it to a certain level and then you start exploring it. Do you break it down and say, Well, I wonder if I could get more rotation here or there or more flexion there, whatever, that would actually make the posture more accessible or a deeper level accessible or do you do it in such a way of just feeling how the body goes and not so analytical as far as movements of these joints in that joint? I’m definitely I’m definitely not analytical when it comes to like, Oh, is it this joint or this muscle?
I think part of the vinyasa. The vinyasa is in the practice, I also study how to like get into a pose more efficiently, right the breath. So that’s kind of part of it. So how can I enter into the pose with its much ease with with as much awareness is possible. And in smoothly, too. I kind of I like to play around with that as well. So as I enter into it, as I go into it, and also how to find more space and expansion in the body, and then also how I exit out of the posts. It’s really important for me to have it all connected and integrated and flowing from one to the other. Yeah, because sometimes it’s a little bit I think that question. Yeah. If you, okay, we better get on with the rest of it. So try and try to make it flow like a continual seamless sort of flow in and out and yeah, yeah. But that that’s sort of in a
way is the more adept you are at the postures that sort of it seems like the easier it is to do that sort of thing. But is there a way that we can do that for those that are more challenged with some of with getting into some of these intricate postures, I’m thinking of myself there, Mary chestnut day, it’s like, I can’t ever imagine myself just flowing seamlessly into it. I could flow sparingly out of it as everything gets going. And I come out that but so how can we embody those same feelings, even though the posture might be like really a little bit awkward or a little bit challenging for us to get into? Yeah, I mean, I understand it’s not so easy for everyone. And we were always going through a process Yeah.
I usually give students like things to, to work on it to break down the poses. So for something like Mario chestnut D, yeah. Just getting them into the half lotus position, getting their knee up, but oftentimes, I really wants to
to kind of come in just to be here, yeah, just to get some lift. Yeah. So oftentimes, the what happens is, is students just want to jam themselves in and they don’t even think about getting a lift or deepening in the hip joint. So I’ll just tell them just breathe here for three to five breaths. And then hug your knee and then just twist your wreath here. breathe air for like three to five breaths. And then from there, maybe I’ll system into it, but I try to give them a little bit of a roadmap to go into it more awareness. Yeah, instead of right away just kind of slamming their arm this way and being like, Okay, well, you know, yank me into it. Yeah. And I and that’s where I it’s important that students work. I want them to,
to to find that for themselves. And just but even though I’m guiding them, I’m guiding them but not get so adjustment heavy, where they’re just kind of like trying to like curl themselves and get into it any any cost. Yeah, right. Right. Yeah.
So just taking their time, I think it’s important as long as they’re leading with their breath. Yeah. And obviously there is like a, you know, there’s a vinyasa count, isn’t it this this type of method happening, but it’s better to go in with quality, I think. Yeah. Then Fast and Furious. Yeah. So take a few extra breaths if you need it. Don’t Don’t worry about that. But make it clean. And yeah, yeah, I think that’s very important. And I think if you slow down, then you’ll be able to speed up. Right? So get it get the technique. Yeah. And then you can apply a little bit of taste.
And do you think there’s a, an optimum breath? I mean, I know we’re all so different. But do you think it can be to the breath can be too long, or can be too sometimes it’s like super short. Is there a sort of an optimum range accounting for the individuality of some sort of range or scale?
like entering into the, just the breath itself as you’re flowing through the practice, do you think that you lose some? I know I’ve been to I have, like, I think quite a super long breath. And I’ve been told before that, you know, you can become a little bit too grounded or heavy, where, where it brings a little bit more lightness if it’s a little bit quicker, but then sometimes it seems to me it can go the other way and or becomes a little bit of a race. Right? I think that’s very individual. Because
I have some students that are quite like they’re lumbering along, right. And so I might give them things to like, come up and pick it up. Yeah, go like you need to start moving a little bit more sometimes. And then there’s those students that are really like either breathing super fast. Yeah. And then just giving them cues to like, slow it down. Um, but I think it’s quite individual and how you give them
I don’t know if you can, it can only be one way. No.
going to the opposite. So if someone tends to be a little bit more like lazy, yeah, I like to work with that opposing energy. Right. And I think it’s good for them to, to work with the contrast. Yeah. And that’s how things transform. So if you always go to the edge, the you know, to the part that, you know, that is most comfy, right? Yeah. And if you like to lumber along and just kind of mosey along through the practice, yeah, there might not be that much movement then in there. Yeah, much change. Yeah. And the same thing with those that that go a little bit too fast. They’re kind of bypassing something. They’re not wanting to fully sit in with themselves. And so there’s there’s usually something that we’re trying to get out of
Right. And I think it’s important to really face that and to face that challenge or to be challenged in that way. So sometimes sitting in a pose a little bit longer is very challenging. Yeah, for some people, and then for others, they could just stay there all day. So yeah, I get drawn down that road. It’s like, Oh, this is comfy. I think I’ll stay here a few extra breaths and work it a little bit more. Maybe the lumbering elephant
needs a cattle prod to get me guy. So yeah, I’d say my practice I would have that tendency to, like, hang around in something because either want to, like, feel a little bit more opening or that it’s feels nice and I’m just waiting to see if anything else happens. And so that can be also be a sort of a
not a negative tendency, but to be aware of those sorts of elements in your practice, is what you’re saying rather than just go with the go with your own personal flow.
If you explore this like picking it up a little bit, yeah, I think there’s something new that could arise out of that. Yeah.
This when you when you kind of go with the vinyasa, and you maybe just stay with the five breath counts, you start to be carried by this energy. And there’s something very transformative about that.
And you can kind of fall asleep a little bit in the poses, and it’s not that it’s bad, I don’t think necessarily to just to stay and hold I think something that’s, that’s good, and especially if you’re working therapeutically. But there is really something about this staying like with the vinyasa and just to have this continual movement happening. I really feel it like when I do like, good traditional counted lead class. Yeah. And it’s hard even for me when I practice by myself, sometimes it’s hard for me to maintain that, that that rhythm, it’s easy for me to want to like get distracted on something else and maybe like, you know, zone out
But I feel something really beautiful about just staying with that rhythm.
It’s it’s highly transformative. It’s like you feel as if
there’s some type of alchemy happening like within the body and not Yeah, like just being carried by this energy by this movement. And for those people you mentioned at the very beginning that that you went through a phase yourself when it was like difficult for you to sort of get on the mat sometimes or finding it difficult once you got on the mat. Do you have any recommendations for those that may be facing that now facing low energy times or so much distraction from outside of their life that they find it difficult to get themselves on the map?
can be hard to give someone that type of advice not really knowing like where this situation
what the situation is, I can only kind of speak for myself.
Just, it’s again, just exploring what this Yoga is. I mean, I, before even teaching, I just feel like I’m still a student of this practice. I’m still learning so much. And
I also know that it’s just not always going to be easy. And
but I’ve also committed myself to,
to understanding what this is, and to continue on with it. It’s very important for me.
But these low points can be really beautiful because it just I think it opened me up to something else to something more. And some things just are not in your control. And I really felt like the way that this I kind of came on all of a sudden the way that it happened, it was just like, Whoa, and even though I was like, Oh, I was trying to change this with my diet or this. Yeah, but it was almost
Like I needed to go through this course of events for whatever reason. And now that I look back on it was actually a good thing,
too. And I think I had mentioned this before, and it’s to not be so identified with how I was performing. Yeah, Matt. Yeah. It’s easy. It’s so even though you in your mind, you know, like, Oh, you know, I, I’m not supposed to be attached. I’m not attached. But it’s not. Yeah, but when it happens to you, you see that there is some attachment. Yeah. And that you are self identified with it, and that you have to really look at that. And I thought that was an important process for me to go through. Yeah, it didn’t mean that I was just gonna quit. I was just gonna I was also accepting the fact that hey, maybe, you know, maybe I peaked. Yeah.
I don’t know.
Or even there was a time at the end of this past summer I came home I was having trouble with so
This this muscle here and with both of my shoulders and I couldn’t jump back anymore. Wow. So it was like, I just couldn’t do it. And so that was a little bit like whoa, like
this has never happened. Yeah. And you feel it’s interesting how you feel a little bit powerless. Yeah. But then you got to, to kind of look inside and say, Well, you know, like, everything on the outside of this world just changes. Yeah, so it’s gonna be happening the practice to as
I know, with myself, like this week I’ve been we quite often have a tendency to sort of favor something we’re good at, don’t we and so with my and a lot of people do this, I think with the jump throughs you have a way that you cross your legs which is so natural, and and you do it and then you might carry on like that for years because every time you’ve tried it the other way around, it’s like really hard. And so I’ve been doing that this week. I made a pact with one of the girls here that we were going to practice on
More difficult side. And so that’s what we’ve been trying to do. But it’s that same tendency, like you were saying there of meeting the obstacles, of course, there’s that side of you that thinks, well, it’s, I can, it’s much nicer, much cleaner when I do it the other way around. So it’s quite a challenge to, to stay with that and and make yourself do it on the other side. And I think you talk about that creating that balance and creating that integrity. As far as switching things around and moving things. Is it quite important aspect to actually make sure you’re strong both ways kicking up, maybe both legs, depending on what you’re doing that? Definitely Yeah, I think, you know, for instance, if you look at something like a pinch in my Rocinha, yeah, so when I first learned that position, I learned to kick in with one leg run, I use my dominant lay, would you say like, I’m left handed, so I like to drive up with my left leg.
But it was important for me to once I had that established to learn to do the other leg. And then once that was established and jumped in with bent knees, but at the same time, when that becomes easy, then jump in with straight legs. Yeah. When that becomes easy, see if you can press into it. So I love playing around with that. And you also have to, if you’re practicing in a group, you have to let go that maybe you’ll look stupid, yeah, that you’re following around or it doesn’t look so good. But
I enjoy exploring those things, exploring
my weaker side. And I feel like if you explore your weaker side are explored harder entries into positions and you really know how to do it. And if somehow that makes I know that somehow a few of the more natural sides snuck in there when I was
and actually felt easier because you’d been working
With the harder side, so it sort of has a payoff on on both ways doesn’t it creates a little bit, obviously, more balance to the body always, like crossing the same way or, or whatever. Excellent. And so I think what we’re going to get you to do now is you’re going to get you to demo the jump through jump back, if that’s okay, that’s fantastic. Thanks so much for talking to us. And it’s just pretty thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks just to say that as well. Thank you. Thank you.