Meet the Teachers

Nicole Heller: Yoga is the gift that keeps on giving

Nicole is a certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher from Switzerland. She believes that yoga can not only unite body and soul but also bridge different cultures and languages.

What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
My first encounter with the magical world of yoga was about 8 years ago when I walked into a Jivamukti Open Class, not knowing what would be expected from me for the next 90 minutes. And although there was no way then for me to follow the fast flow, I was intrigued, and I had to come back for more. I was hooked from the first moment I stepped onto the mat—it felt like home!

What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
My teachers saw the teacher in me when I didn’t. When I registered for teacher training it was because I felt the urge to deepen my own practice—I never imagined that I would make the transition from student to teacher, and I probably wouldn’t have, if it weren’t for my amazing teachers who were there along the ride, cheering me on & always pushing me to go further.

What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
Be yourself when you teach a class, but knowing fully that it’s not about you: you are simply the instrument for these sacred teachings and you humbly pass them along.

What does your own self-practice involve?
My practice varies a lot, depending on my needs & physical state. I go through phases when I really need to feel the classroom energy and hear the Ujjayi breath of the person practicing next to me, and other times I just enjoy practicing free-style on my own, supported by my music, or just listening to my own breath. When practicing in a classroom I like to try out different styles of yoga and teachers regularly to keep it varied, but Jivamukti & Ashtanga are my ‘must-have’ practices. For my self-practice the best advice that I had been given is that a short but regular practice is more important than an irregular but intense practice. On some days I may just do a few sun salutations, or sit in a lotus pose for meditation, but it is important to do some sort of practice every day.

If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
For a short but juicy practice I like the Jivamukti Magic Ten, which is a series of asanas that can be done in 10 minutes and it is great because it involves a lot of important elements, from twists to an inversion: Downward Dog, Standing Forward Bend, Squat, Teepee Twist, Half Seated Spinal Twist, Table Top, Handstand, Standing Posture Alignment, Standing Side Bends, Standing Spinal Roll. It really works like magic if you practice this sequence regularly.

Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
The yogis & yoginis around me make me want to be a better teacher, which in turn makes me an eager student because I want to be able to give the best of myself when I teach and this is never-ending, because the more I learn, the more I realise how much there is still to learn!

What role does yoga play in the way you live?
My yoga practice has had an effect in every area of my life—everything has been inverted, literally but also off the mat. Yoga has changed my relationships, has influenced my life choices, ideologies, priorities in life, etc. Yoga is the gift that keeps on giving, and I am incredibly grateful for it.

What do you hope your students to experience when they practice with you?
I wish for my students to also feel the sense of peace & lightness that I feel after my yoga asana practice—I hope that in the process they will get a better sense for their bodies. By placing their bodies consciously and mindfully they might also get a little more in touch with their inner, True Selves & be in the moment—be present.

Describe the meaning of yoga in 10 words or less.
Yoga is life-changing, it has rocked my world!

View Nicole’s teaching schedule.

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