What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
My initiation into yoga was in a traditional Yoga Center in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California, where my love for yoga was awakened. This first experience lead to a wide and deep exploration of various traditions, styles and teachers in Los Angeles as well as India and other countries.
What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
It felt like the most natural move to become a teacher, there was no doubt but only passion and love for sharing the beauty of it. I don’t even feel there was a decision to be made, I would rather say it just happened very organically.
What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
The awareness that all the practices are there to help us return back to the natural cycles, to our innate wisdom, to the connection of what we need, how to move and when to let go in order to be whole, balanced and in flow with life. The understanding that the yogic practices are a reflection of nature itself. We are not trying to create something new or to get somewhere, it is rather returning to simplicity, re-connecting with the patterns and movements we see in nature and animals – like contraction-expansion, pulsation, unwinding, slowing down or being dynamic depending on what is needed to come back to union and bliss – our natural state. For me this means to bring in the feminine aspect of receiving, feeling and being as a counterpart to the more masculine approach of doing and controlling which was the biggest revelation to support my practice and teaching. More important than any technique in teaching yoga is to create a container for each single student to unfold and come back into themselves, to reconnect with their inner treasures.
What does your own self-practice involve?
It involves the full spectrum of yoga from dynamic vinyasa practice, sahaja (spontaneous movement) to restorative asana, pranayama, mudra-vinyasa, chanting, mantra japa, dharana and meditation practices as well as movement meditation and inner awareness practices. As a certified Healing Tao Instructor, I also apply Taoist inner alchemy practices and meditations as well as deep self-inquiry which is the foundation of my spiritual counselling training into my self-practice.
If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
It really depends on where I am at in this moment and what is planned for the day. It could be any of the following: an activating and balancing kriya/pranayama practice (uddiyana bandha/nauli kriya, kapalabhati and nadi shodana) or simply 10 minutes of nadi shodhana, a short dynamic asana or namaskar practice followed by a few minutes of silent sitting, mantra japa or movement meditation as well as just being in spontaneous flow (sahaja). There is not one specific practice that would be suitable for each day, it strongly depends on my inner state and the outer circumstances.
Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
The connection to my inner teacher!
What role does yoga play in the way you live?
I believe in yoga as a living practice which means that life and people are mirroring back to me how much I am moving and acting from a well grounded, reflective, mindful and balanced state of mind. There can be no peace in the world, if there is no peace within the individual, no love if there is no self-love and acceptance of our shadows, no stability in the outer if we are not well grounded, no true power if we are not connected to our center and innate strength and no awareness in our actions when there is no inner connection, reflection or inquiry.
Yoga is part of my journey to face life with all its beauty and difficulties and to stay open within my heart in times of challenge, embracing my shadows and keeping the inner awareness of connecting to the earth, the breath and every human being as a reflection of the divine. I see myself as a student of life and yoga as part of my journey towards the truth.
What do you hope your students will experience when they practice with you?
I have no hope of what my students should experience. I see myself as a river guide who supports their inner journey of feeling, moving, breathing, exploring and getting in touch with their inner being. I enjoy the journey with them no matter what they experience. It can be an opening, grounding or joy, an inner awareness or insight, getting in touch with patterns of negativity, blockages or holding, or even just the awareness of the breath. I am there to hold space for them on their journey towards wholeness and integration.
Tell us about your upcoming workshop at The Life Centre?
Within the structure of two Prana Flow® Vinyasa Masterclasses we will explore the polarities of Shiva and Shakti, the male and female aspects in ourselves. It is a play of understanding our definitions and ideas about it as well as the inner experience of the male and female patterns with movement and breath, their effect on our yoga practice and life as well as an exploration of what needs to be balanced and seen. Our whole life is an interwoven experience of these two forces and this workshop offers the opportunity to explore what needs to be integrated or emphasised. This experience can not only further our own understanding and development but how we relate to the world in general and in relationships specifically. Awakening Shakti connects us with our archetypal feminine energies through a playful dynamic Prana Flow Sequence as well as Shakti-Mantra Sadhana, Mudra Vinyasa and Meditation. Embodying Shiva will help us to organically move inward through a meditative Prana Flow Sequence focusing on uniting the polarities, slowing down and moving towards a meditative state of mind.
Christine may will be leading Shakti Sadhana Exploration: Awakening Shakti on 29 November 2014 from 14:00–16:00 and Shakti Sadhana Exploration: Embodying Shiva on
29 November 2014, from 16:30–18:45 at Islington.
View Christine’s .