What, when and where was your first experience of yoga?
It is hard to say exactly when I had my first yoga experience. In terms of yoga asana I was introduced to it as a child when I went to my grandmothers house while my mom went off to work. My grandmother was a yogini and was often enjoying cat/cow or other poses in the living room while she babysat my brother and I. She often told us spiritual stories and her favorite thing was to refer to God as the Great Cosmic Joker. My grandfather has been meditating for 40 years and my mother is a tantrika which has influenced me as well. I stumbled into my first yoga class when I was 18 in Downtown Portland Oregon at a studio called BodyMoves.
What made you decide to move from student to teacher?
It was less of a decision as it was evolution. After 9 years as a sincere student my teachers recognized a teacher in me. They encouraged me to get out there and teach as they clearly saw it was my dharma. I am and will always be a student of the Great Teacher, Life.
What teaching tip has had the biggest influence on the way you practice? And the way you teach?
It’s simple, as a student I was reminded to be with my breath, again and again. That is the practice. As a teacher I remind myself to teach what I know and what I have authentically integrated into my own life, embodiment and understanding.
What does your own self-practice involve?
My self practice involves deep inner reflection, keeping my ego in check, moving past my own fears and blockages and standing powerfully and unwaveringly in my purpose. In terms of daily sadhana I enjoy a full spectrum practice of pranayama, mudra, bhanda, kriya, surya namaskars, advanced asana, yin yoga and meditation. The intensity and duration vary from day to day.
If you only had 10 minutes to practice, what would you do?
Kapalabhati, Uddiyana bhanda, Agnisarkriya, mula bhanda, jalandara bhanda, pranayama such as kumbhaka and nadi shodhana. Then supta virasana and a hip opener. Sorry all sanskrit words! What to do?!
Who/what is the biggest inspiration on your yoga journey at the moment?
Yoga itself is my inspiration and the roots of yoga which is tantra. The reality that such a practice and understanding of life exists and permeates all of existence and all my relationships has a profound influence on my daily life. It truly keeps me motivated, engaged and intimate with life.
What role does yoga play in the way you live?
Yoga and tantra have everything to do with the way I live. Not in a commercial way like wearing yoga pants all day and buying the new neon malas but in a more subtle and intimate way. My breath for example is the living embodiment of the goddess. I cannot deny that. Life lives me. That is yoga.
What do you hope your students will experience when they practice with you?
Intimacy with their own life force through movement and breath embodied and Shakti as something inherent and real within them; a force for life yearning to live. I hope that my students ignite a wild spark in their hearts that reminds them of how to live their truth in alignment with their souls longing.
Tell us about your upcoming workshop at The Life Centre?
I am really excited about this Power Pleasure and Purpose women’s workshop. I have been offering it in countries around the globe like Holland, France, New Zealand, India and the US. It is amazing to share intimate space, get real and witness women connect on a level that goes beyond cultural conditioning to awaken our female sensual power and rise up together. Liberating female sexuality is dear to my heart as I have seen the kind of transformation it brings in a very primal core essence way in my own life and in the life of women I teach.
View Nianna’s .