Illumina East, Founder
New York, NY
Introduction: Tell us about yourself, your story, where you are from, practice, etc.
My dream as a child was to take people on a journey and lift up their spirits. That has manifested in many different ways throughout my life. I never dreamed it would be in the role of a teacher, and similarly, I never dreamed it would be in owning my own business as home for that work.
How and why did you start yoga?
As a “starving artist” I thought yoga was a luxury item. I had tried it once or twice, but always thought there was something else I should be spending my money or time on. “Too busy to be relaxed”. I’m not event sure why but one day I found myself outside of my local yoga studio with the thought that enough was enough, it was time to do something for myself. Not what I thought I should do because it was “right” or going to help me get to something else, but to step into the worthiness that I deserved to take time for myself and not be a slave to my “obligations”.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
Honestly, I have heard great words of wisdom, received great smiles and encouragement, but ultimately all paths have drawn me back to listening to myself, my own teacher within. I wouldn’t have trusted that voice without the help of Johanna Bell, Yogi Bhajan, Amma, Elena Brower, Guru Dharam, Ram Dass to name a few.
Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?
It would have been really easy for me to learn a bunch of stuff, be really flexible, grow a man bun, chant some things, and feel content just regurgitating a bunch of stuff to stay within the lines. But I didn’t choose anything, I just choose truth. What moves authentically through me. Sometimes challenging what felt good yesterday, or what I know is easy or sure. I say that I hated Kundalini for 2 reasons: first, it was challenging. Second, because I felt so good and empowered after I was angry I knew I’d have to do it again.
What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Everything from staying calm under pressure, embracing the unknown, to almost committing suicide.
What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?
May all that happens serve my awakening and the awakening of all beings
When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?
From the outside, I didn’t see myself as a teacher. I couldn’t contort my body into many advanced physical poses, I wasn’t going to have a long beard and wear indian clothing. I just trusted myself and the teacher within,
What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?
Helping give people the tools to handle their stress, unprocessed emotions, and self-limiting thoughts is a gift.
Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?
There is so much confusion, pain, information overload, and competition in the world the only thing we can rely upon is our own intuition and compassion.
How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle?
It IS the yogi lifestyle. Stretching your body is good, but if you don’t have the self respect to fully embrace a life of self care inside and out you’ll be reliant upon other vices.
Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins that you recommend? And why?
Chocolate. because it’s important to treat yourself to the right things!
How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice?
The body needs enough water in order to for cellular function, elimination to take place, and for your brain.
Your favorite quote?
“Yoga is not going to make you great. Yoga is going to make you you”. Yogi Bhajan
Where we can we find you?
Instagram, website, etc illumineast.com @illumina_east