When and how did you start yoga?
I had known about yoga for quite some time and I was curious to know more about it. Everybody's into and I heard it's meditative and breath-focused and so I was interested in trying it out. When I did on my own, I didn't feel it at all and got quickly bored. When I attended classes, I walked out feeling great, but that was it for me.
Later on, I was with my sister and we thought of going on an adventure. We were very interested in learning about yoga. I think with a lot of people, it starts with a struggle and a search for a way out. During that time, I was going through a rough time and I was kind of losing myself so I thought of traveling to try and find myself in a way. In April 2016, my sister and I packed our bags and travelled to India without many expectations, we didn't even know what a teacher training really entails. We didn't do much research, it felt right and we followed our guts.
How did your understanding of yoga change over the course of your teacher training?
During the training, I was really struggling. There were days when I was breaking down thinking I don't want to do this anymore and there were other days where I was really inspired and I felt that it was helping me deal with my personal issues. Slowly but surely, it got me out of it towards the end of the training. I started to understand more about yoga, what it was doing to me and its potential. At first I only got into it for the flexibility. Later on, it helped give me my own time, something that was just for me. By nature, I'm an over thinker and I stress very easily. Somehow when I get on my mat, all that goes away. With time, it gave me the attention I needed to give myself to release my stress and overthinking. Through focusing on my breath and witnessing how deep I was getting into poses, I starting to help my mind focus on what's happening now, solely on my mat. Now every new time I step on the mat, yoga surprises me in a new way, especially through the simple and powerful act of breathing. It grounds me and allows me to simply be where I am right then, fully.
How do you take yoga or its philosophy with you off the mat?
I take the calmness with me. I don’t panic half as much as I used to before I maintained a steady practice. I take the breath with me as well and tell myself that things are going to be ok and that truly helps keep me at peace. The patience I learned to have with my physical practice, I take with me in my day to day life too. My friends have noticed it even. I'm not sure how that happened actually, I'm new to the practice and I’m still learning about yoga and how it works but I can already feel its effects. I've witnessed myself become more positive, open and I learned to let go.
How did yoga change your relationship with your sister after you travelled together?
When we were in India, we bonded a lot and it helped us connect on another level. Whenever I broke down during our training, my sister would help me through it and whenever she broke down, I would help her. I'm very grateful that we went together. Today, it's literally a daily conversation. We check in with each other about where we’re at physically in different poses, we teach each other and advice each other in our own teaching, and we really encourage and inspire one another.
How do you see yourself within the social media yoga world and how do you use it in terms of branding yourself as a teacher or for promoting yoga?
To me, Instagram is a great platform for you to brand yourself but I always try to be as real as possible. I was never flexible; I was very tight by nature and through yoga I've come a long way and still have a longer way to go. I try to show that progress through my posts. There are a lot of pictures that I post where I'm not in the most correct position or I'm not as flexible as I should be but I like to show that and I like to encourage people to try. You don't have to be flexible and you don't need a gymnastics background to do yoga. I simply try to be as real as I can. Of course, sometimes I can't help but be proud of a pose I started doing and I like to show it but I try to remain humble through it all. I do get messages actually that really make a difference with me because people can see through my journey that if I can do it, so can they. If you're patient with yourself and listen to your body, you can do more than you can imagine.
What is your take on when anyone should start yoga?
When I get first timers in my class, my advice again is to be patient. This is your first class, it’s the first step, don't expect everything to change right away. You really need to put the effort and the time and the patience with yourself and just open up to yoga. When I was going through my rough phase and doing my teacher training at the same time, the pressure of doing hours and hours of training a day was not easy and it made me stressful. It was only towards the end of my training when I started to really feel free. That's why patience is the most important thing to me. Things won’t change when you expect them or want them to but if you're actually interested in changing your life, not just physically but truly your whole life, trust the process, be patient, try again and again and you will discover so much through yoga.
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To practice at Lousiana's studio, you can join any of the following classes: Sunday 9:00am Vikasa Yoga | 7:00pm Body Flow • Monday 6:00pm Vikasa Yoga • Wednesday 8:00pm Night Flow • Saturday 11:30am Hatha/Yin Yoga.
-- My Yoga Studio at TDAthletics La Nouva Vista compound.