The Con­ver­sa­tion

YJ’s cover model talks about find­ing yoga, the re­al­i­ties of self-doubt, and the pure joy that is Nutella.

Yoga Journal - - Contents -

I was like the spir­i­tual ver­sion of a trust-fund kid grow­ing up. My par­ents met at an ashram, where I lived un­til I was 2 years old. I grew up around Eastern phi­los­o­phy and spir­i­tu­al­ity—but when you’re 14 and your par­ents tell you to do some­thing, you run the other way. When I was 19, I found my way back to my spir­i­tual roots— this time be­cause I chose the life­style—and like the trust fund kid who re­al­izes all the lux­u­ries and ad­van­tages she had from the start, I saw how blessed I was to have been ex­posed to such wis­dom start­ing at an early age. By the time I was 24 years old, I had done 15 teacher train­ings. I was hooked.

I trans­formed from mis­chievous teen to awak­ened young adult af­ter break­ing up with my first love. I was heart­bro­ken. I didn’t go out for months. My mom kept urg­ing me to try a yoga class. I fi­nally took one. That’s when I started walk­ing down this new path.

On the plane ride to Colorado for my pho­to­shoot with Yoga Jour­nal there was crazy tur­bu­lence—the kind that prompted peo­ple on the plane to ei­ther scream, cry, or pray. I had some pretty ex­is­ten­tial thoughts: What am I do­ing here? What is this all sup­posed to be for? When I found out the shoot was near Cre­stone, Colorado, [a spir­i­tual hot-spot known for its Bud­dhist ashrams], I knew I wanted to visit. When I got to town, I found a zig­gu­rat [a spir­i­tual struc­ture with Mid­dle East and Per­sian roots that serves as a space for re­leas­ing, re­ceiv­ing, and ac­ti­vat­ing prac­tices]. I climbed to the top and re­leased all of the stress from my trip. For a long time, I didn’t be­lieve in my own power. I’d strug­gle with feel­ing wor­thy of the gifts and bless­ings given to me. Even with amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, I’d find my­self ask­ing, “What’s the catch?” rather than think­ing, “Yes! I’m de­serv­ing of this.” I think a lot of women strug­gle with this. At the top of that zig­gu­rat, I tried to re­move my self-lim­it­ing be­liefs. I wanted to get rid of any­thing that would cause me to get in my own way. I’ve been lucky to study with some of the best teach­ers on both the Eastern and Western sides of yoga. My teacher Dharma Mit­tra is fully en­sconced in the clas­si­cal prac­tices of the eight limbs of yoga, and I gained so much from his com­mit­ment to teach­ing the an­cient texts. On the Western side, work­ing with Tiffany Cruik­shank was al­most like learn­ing phys­i­cal ther­apy. I got the best of both worlds. I love New York­ers. I live and teach in New York City, and we are driven, am­bi­tious peo­ple who walk fast, talk fast, and get an­noyed when peo­ple are slow. Within this hard-charg­ing in­ten­sity, there’s a col­lec­tive en­ergy. So my goal when I’m teach­ing 50 to 60 peo­ple is to ground their en­ergy and re­move some of the ex­cess. I love watch­ing the en­ergy shift from anx­ious and stressed to calm and kind. Yoga is like a tun­ing fork, and sud­denly ev­ery­one is hit­ting the right note. My guilty plea­sure is Nutella right out of the tub with a spoon. I’ve also been known to stay up re­ally late for a good Net­flix binge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.