‘Curiosity and questioning are key — I will always practice in this fashion.’

Shakti Bird is a yoga teacher that is international.

Shakti Bird is a yoga teacher that is international.

1. What style of yoga do you teach?

My teaching style has evolved tremendously over the last few years.  Currently, my classes are unlike any particular format that I’ve experienced.  My passion is functional movement/moving for longevity, so I have had to incorporate aspects from a variety of different avenues.  If I had to classify my teaching style, I would say that it is a happy marriage between traditional Hatha Yoga and modern functional movement.

2. What is your intention behind teaching?
My intention is to help others move with intention.  There are so many choices to make in a yoga class, but very few practitioners understand how to work with their intention. My goal is to help students clarify their intention and work towards their goal in the most intelligent and efficient way.  For example, many people in the yoga community would consider “knees, chest, chin” (or prostration pose) a modification for chaturanga; however, if someone has the intention of working on backbending, prostration pose is a far more intelligent (and therefore, advanced) selection for their vinyasas.

3. Who are your mentors in yoga?

My yoga teacher from Naropa University, Nataraja Kallio, will forever impact my teaching and the way that I continuously strive to improve my state of being — he is a real-life example of the goal of yoga.

My partner, Daniel Rama.  Anyone who has had the pleasure of learning from him, has, without a doubt, been elevated in some way from that experience.  Very few words could actually do him justice.  

4. What have they taught you? 

Nataraja — humility and compassion — he leads by the utmost example.

Rama — contentment and unconditional love — again, leading by example.

5. Please mention a book that you have read about yoga that has had a positive impact on you?

The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz gave me freedom I hadn’t known before reading it. 

6. What lesson are you currently learning in your Asana practice?

I refer to proper practice as “right effort” — knowing my intention and pursuing it in the most efficient way.  I have always found that if I am doing something wrong, then I simply don’t have the proper information regarding that subject.  I truly believe that if someone is doing something repeatedly for an extended period of time and not seeing improvement, then they are doing something (or things) incorrectly — it is likely that they do not have the proper information and therefore, are not practicing with the “right effort”.  My asana practice is currently showing me that all of the information I spent years gathering, questioning, and applying, has truly paid off. Curiosity and questioning are key — I will always practice in this fashion.

7. How often do you practice? 

I have gone through long phases during my non-stop travels where my physical practice has been somewhat nonexistent, however, the real yoga is practiced every single day, all day. Currently, my physical practice is daily.

8. How do you implement the other 7 limbs of yoga into your life other than Asana? 

A true Yogi must embody the first 7 limbs if they are to reach Samadhi, the eighth limb — the goal.  I draw a lot of inspiration from Lord Rama — the depiction of righteousness. By always doing the right thing (being a good human) and taking care of what needs to be done, I find that I am constantly (even if, unconsciously) working the first 7 limbs.  The practices of Meditation and Pranayama have a very profound impact on my existence.

9. Why is being present so important to you?

Joy is found only in the present moment.  If we could all be truly present, we would experience uninterrupted joy through the incredible phenomena of this endlessly beautiful life.

10. How can we keep up with you on social media? What is your IG handle and/ FB name?

Follow me on instagram!  @shaktibird_