Yoga Teacher & Lifestyle Coach
Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
I believe that we all have the power to heal ourselves emotionally, get through the worst of times, and find balance through movement, breath, and mindfulness.
Yoga has aided me to rehabilitate the relationship with my body and taught me to calm down my sometimes overly emotional monkey mind. Yoga helps me learn who I am every single day and find the strength to move forward in life.
When I'm not on the mat, you can find me in a park reading a book, learning Spanish, or playing the ukulele.
How and why did you start yoga?
I was looking for solutions to my emotional and mental problems. By virtue of destiny and with the help of friends, I showed up at a yoga studio and found a place where I could feel in control – something that I lacked in my daily life.
My first class was insanely hard. My feet were trembling, and my breath was uneven. I could neither understand any of Sanskrit nor keep up with other students.
But I was hooked forever.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
Maneesh - my yoga teacher in India. He made me keep my eyes closed during all our classes.
Considering the fact that I'm coming from the generation of "Instagram yoga," in which function plays the sidekick to form, and many people sacrifice their safety for the sake of esthetics, this experience of blind yoga truly transformed how I view my practice now.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
I always wanted to dance. Sadly, I'm terrible at it. That's why I'm a huge Vinyasa fan. When one pose flows smoothly into another, it feels like I'm sort of dancing. But since it's yoga and it's all about me, nobody can judge how bad my Vinyasa dance is :-)
When it comes to teaching, I'm really open-minded. I think people can chill out and get great abs at the same time.
I'm teaching private classes only at the moment. As long as my clients go with my creativity, there're always bits of cardio or strength training mixed in a traditional yoga class.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Where do I even start? I was a complete mess when I started yoga. Anxiety, emotional and compulsive overeating, borderline depression, and non-existent self-esteem. Yoga helped me come to my senses and fix my life instead of waiting for the magic to happen.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
Every day is different, both mentally and physically. So obviously my mindset changes all the time. Sometimes I'm looking forward to rolling out my mat. Other days, I feel so lazy or emotionally drained that I keep putting off my practice until late evening (yeah, this happens to yoga teachers, too!). I always practice in the end, even if it's as short as ten minutes. And I always feel amazing afterward.
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
I remember this one time when I was stuck in one yoga class for months. It just so happened that there were no other studios in the area, and my working schedule only allowed me to take lessons with this one, extremely unpleasant yoga teacher. Unapproachable, bossy, and taking yoga waaay too seriously.
A yoga studio is a place where all sorts of people come. Sure, some are there for physical fitness. But there are also those who join in to heal their trauma, overcome anxiety, and work on their confidence. I fell under all of those categories and in addition, had nagging back pain. It took me many classes to pluck up my courage and approach that yoga teacher for advice on modifications. The fact that I've waited so long to ask for guidance didn't seem right.
At some point, I thought to myself that if I were a yoga instructor, I'd try to be lighthearted, kind, and I would bring laughter into my classes. That was probably the "aha" moment when I realized I wanted to become a teacher myself.
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
It surely pleases me as a yoga teacher to see the faces of my students when they realize what they're actually capable of doing.
But the best thing in the world is when students recognize that it's not their yoga teacher or even yoga that holds the secret to making them strong and happy. The secret lies in each one of us.
We already have everything that we need to create the life we want. Yoga and yoga instructors are mere tools that help us uncover our strengths and remind ourselves of our capabilities and self-worth.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
I've recently witnessed a young man walking into a lamppost while typing on the phone. This is a good illustration of how disconnected we are from our bodies and the life around us.
We're eating a meal while running to work and checking our social media on the way. Sounds familiar, no?
Our body might be sending distress signals that we're not okay, but we can't hear them because we're too busy with multitasking and too tired from information overload. If you ask me, we're all on a direct path to losing our marbles.
Setting all the spiritual woo-woo aside, there's no doubt that yoga cultivates mindfulness, unlike other physical activities. And mindfulness is vital in nearly all areas of our lives. From preventing burnout and dealing with stress at work to becoming better parents, friends, and spouses, mindfulness helps us to actually experience life.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
It's essential for both physical and mental health. Tracking what we put in ourselves is an excellent example of a mind-body connection in practice. For example, diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar can lead to constant low-grade inflammation. Low-grade inflammation, in its turn, can lead to anxiety, fatigue, and even depression. And the way you feel mentally ultimately impacts how you behave in everyday life.
Besides, eating healthy is better for the environment. Such a small change, such as cutting down on meat or buying local and seasonal produce that is specific to the region you're living in, reduces carbon footprint and is good for your well-being. It's a win-win.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins (example: Chlorophyll, Vitamin b12) that you recommend? And why?
Vitamin D for bone health; magnesium for better sleep and mood; a mix of creatine and whey protein for building muscle if you're working out regularly; Omega-3 for heart health; Chlorophyll for an energy boost.
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
If we don't drink, we'll die – it's as simple as that. Water helps our body flush out waste, transport nutrients, fight off illness and fatigue and generally perform better on and off the mat.
Your favorite quote?
Gosh, I've got so many! Off the top of my head, the quote by Yumi Sakugawa is one of my favorites: "Sometimes it's okay if the only thing you did today was breathe."
Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc
You can check out my musings and free yoga routines on my blog: Yogakali.com [https://yogakali.com/]
Or say hello on Instagram: @yogakaliofficial [https://www.instagram.com/yogakaliofficial]