yoga to the people

‘You can have the most amazing standing bow and eat all the kale, but if you're not kind to others, you're missing something.’

Ksenia Voropaeva is a yoga teacher based in New York City. She is also the Founder of Anaday-   available in our retail section

Ksenia Voropaeva is a yoga teacher based in New York City. She is also the Founder of Anaday- available in our retail section

1. What style of yoga do you teach? 


I teach a mix of lineages that have been taught to me, and that resonate in my personal practice. I believe in teaching what I know. So I combine Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Dharma, Kundalini, Mantra, plus incorporate new things that I'm learning and working on myself. I'm forever a student and that keeps me curious and growing. Being a teacher means being a student first.

2. What is your intention behind teaching?

To pass on the teachings and help people feel better.


3. Who are your mentors in yoga? 

So many amazing teachers through the years in NYC! Jared McCann has pushed (and still pushes) my practice to the next level. Erin Rose gives a depth that's like no other. I now notice my kidneys when I practice. Gauri has shifted my life in so many ways through mantra work. My partner, Mario,teaches my everyday how to take the yoga home (om shanti). And I’m always learning so, so much from my yoga community—the amazing humans who I feel like I've known through lifetimes at this point. There's is something so special about deep asana and mediation work with people. You get to know them on another level. It’s like osmosis. These are my mentors.


4. What have they taught you? 

Be present, do the practice every. single. day. (doesn't have to be asana, doesn't have to be on a mat, but it needs to be something), be kind, be of service, love.


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

The Science of Breath.


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

Big shifts happen in subtle ways.


7. How often do you practice? 

Everyday.


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

Through everyday actions. The more I practice and connect with my inner-self, the more I recognize how everything is an extension of my experience—home, health, relationships, career, finances, dreams. Everything is connected. So for me, it's a matter of recognizing my patterns and shifting them. The Yamas and Niyamas are foundation #1. You can have the most amazing standing bow and eat all the kale, but if you're not kind to others, you're missing something. And that something is reflection of our own fears (aka absence of love). Once we start to really confront ourselves and our patterns (of harming, dishonesty, excess, attachment, non-contentment, fill in your Yama/Niyama blank____), we begin to remove the blocks to energy/love/divinity, and the rest of the limbs fall into place. It’s a constant remembering that my home, family, career, everything else in life, has to come from this place of awareness.


9. Why is being present so important to you

They say time is an illusion and the present is all there is. That's tough to wrap my head around. What I do know, is that it's only when I'm fully present that I feel a deep sense of connection. When I'm not worried about the future or analyzing the past, and am just doing my asana, my meditation, or creating, my energy flows. Rather than trying or forcing, I become a channel. Stay receptive, as Dharma says. That's only possible in the present. 


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

Find me @heyananday!


Lulu Soni is full of inspiration

When you lay eyes on Lulu, you become intrigued by her. She has a sweetness and a sense of knowing about life and it definitely translates to her practice and the way that she teaches. 

 

She is truly full of inspiration... 

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1. How long have you been teaching?

Collectively, about a year and a half. I started teaching Vinyasa in the spring of 2016 and began teaching Traditional Hot Yoga in April of 2017.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I wanted to bridge my background in dance with another tool for body awareness and healing. I was inspired by the teachers I was taking class from at the time and started to think to myself, “I can do that”. I remember walking home from work, pretending to teach a class out loud and getting really excited about the prospect of sharing a bit of what I had learned from showing up on my mat with other people.

There are endless lessons I have learned and am still in the processing of learning from teaching, but one in particular is that you can’t create and analyze at the same time (words of wisdom from the great John Cage). I love teaching the anatomy of the poses, but what I love the most is speaking from the heart, and sometimes being real and open with students can seem daunting. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought maybe I could have phrased that differently and it pulls me out of the moment. I can walk in with an idea of the things I want to say but just like a student, I also have to remind myself to enter the room without setting expectations for myself. Teaching a class is like an exchange of energy, I’m actively reading the room and working with the bodies in front of me and if I’m trying to analyze my words I can’t be present with that exchange.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Not to get caught up in the feedback you receive, whether it’s criticism or praise. That while compliments are great, not to let it feed or fuel your teaching ego. That just because someone doesn’t run up to you at the end of class gushing joy and yoga bliss vibes, doesn’t mean you didn’t teach a solid class. Shout out to my buddy and fellow teacher, Quazzy, for always spreading the realness with me.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice yoga daily. Yoga isn’t separate from my day-to-day life. Even the tiniest action of tuning into my awareness and breath is checking in with my practice. For asana practice, I try to get to class everyday, some days multiple times or classes a day. Lately I have been  into incorporating different types of yoga into my practice so that I don’t become stagnant. Adding the Ashtanga series and Rocket Yoga to my Vinyasa and Hot practice has been transformational. If I really can’t make it to class, I find a wall and do a handstand.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

My fellow teachers and coworkers at the studios I teach at, as well as the teachers I take class from at Lighthouse Yoga School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Artists inspire me, whether it’s the music I’m listening to or a painting I’m looking at. I also draw inspiration from nature, the ocean, the desert, the soil, the sky, it’s endless.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I couldn’t imagine living a life separate from having a connection to my body. Yoga helps me to connect to my whole self, body, breath, mind and spirit. The parts of myself that feel good and the parts of myself that I shy away from. Having a consistent practice allows me to check in with myself no matter what state my life is in.

 

7. Has yoga helped you through some painful? If so, what and how?

Absolutely, over a over again. Heartbreak, loss, loneliness, uncertainty, dealing with an injury. A couple years ago, I was at a low point in my life, and I fell and hurt my wrist. I couldn’t hold a plank or a downward facing dog and was about to participate in a dance workshop followed by an audition for a company that used a lot of floor work and weight bearing choreography. The dancer in me powered through even though I was in pain. Internally panicking that I couldn’t put weight on my right hand or take a yoga class, I decided to give hot yoga a shot because I knew there would be no down dogs or planks. Stepping into the hot yoga room changed my life. I was standing in front of a mirror and I could no longer hide from myself. I had spent most of my life in front of a mirror as a dancer and never used it to look at myself with love and compassion. It was always there as a reminder that you could be better, your leg could be higher, so many elements of my dance training were incredible sources of self expression but also deeply detrimental in that the under lying message often was it’s not good enough. In the hot room, being there, being present with my breath was enough. I learned to love myself over and over again even when I felt overwhelmed by the heat or my thoughts. I started to shed the parts of myself that weren’t serving me and really began to take steps towards practicing self care. I began to heal from the inside out.

 

8. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

That home is where your breath is, your body, your vessel is all you have in this life, so treat it with care. It is so easy to get outside of ourselves and get caught up in all the external elements of our lives. Especially living in New York City, where we’re constantly running around with a million things to do and people to see. That you can come back to yourself no matter where you are, what the circumstances, and find the simplicity of your breath. Lately I have been reminding students to take pleasure in their work, to enjoy the gritty moment, rather than  fighting it. So much of how we experience poses physically stems from our mental approach to it, so if you’re thinking, “I hate this second set of triangle pose in this hotbox torture chamber,” you're just going to make things harder for yourself. That’s what your mind wants you to think when your rubbing up against a challenging moment, but part of the practice is realizing you are in control. So every time you come to your second set of Triangle in a Hot Yoga class, you go to that place until you realize you have the power to say, “You know what, I love that my thighs are quivering, I love that my arms are spread wide from the center of my heart, I take pleasure in the effort, I take pleasure in my moving, breathing body.” It’s your work, you might as well enjoy it. We don’t get to choose what shows up in our practice but we get to choose how we meet the moment, so if you meet yourself with an open mind, love, and a deep breath you might surprise yourself that over time that pose that you used to dread becomes the pose you look forward to, maybe even becomes your favorite.

 

9. Where are you currently teaching?

I am currently teaching at Yoga to The People and The Yoga Room.

 

10. What are the best ways that you have leant of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

Show up, take class, get a feel for the vibe and the space. I don’t think there’s one true formula,  what works for one person might not work for the other. Trust your gut, be kind, be open, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to put in a good word for you.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

My instagram is @lulusoni, no twitter and Facebook is just my name.

 

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

Sometimes it’s easy and feels right to share and other times I feel conflicted about putting energy into it. It’s a great medium to inspire and stay connected but it’s also really important to unplug and remember to be in the present moment. Get off your phone and go to yoga! ;)

Damian Joseph opens up to us about his yogic inspiration.

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I feel honoured to be able to feature Damian Joseph this week. His passion for yoga is very real and it translates into humility, kindness and durability. 

 

He opens up to us about his practice. Allow yourself to be inspired; 

 

  1. How long have you been teaching?

After spending a month in the mountains of Nasik in India, I completed my first yoga certification in January 2014. I did not start teaching until I completed my second certification in New York two years later and felt more confident with myself and my practice. Now teaching yoga is my way of life and I'm loving it.

 

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

My friend Kashiek dragged me to do this 'strange thing called yoga' and I immediately fell in love with the practice.

I felt a deep sense of peace and the urge to share the love I experienced became stronger. So then, I decided to get my certification. In as much as I am a teacher, I am also a student. I am always open to new experiences and approach every situation and person that I meet with love and compassion.

 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

Everytime I take a yoga class, I walk away with something.  Depending on where I am in my life, messages resonates differently. It's in the gap that we allow the connections to take place. A fellow teacher once said during class that, "The mirror was there for alignment - not for judgment." This has been one of the most profound lessons that I have learnt.

 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I incorporate yoga into my everyday living whether it's meditating, going for a jog, treating myself to a cup of cappuccino in a cozy cafe, calling an old friend or taking a yoga class. Yoga is my life and life is yoga.

 

5. Who inspires your practice?

New students always inspire me because they bring a certain level of openness that I find refreshing.

 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

Having a daily practice of yoga keeps me equanimous. I try to respond as opposed to reacting to life's situations and live in the moment - this moment. 

 

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

It is through our cracks that we let light in. I connect to my personal truth and teach from that place, sometimes it's painful but that is the place I find my voice. Whatever challenges I'm working on in my personal life, I allow myself to face it then it's easier to talk about it. Also if I get inspiration from someone or something I sometimes share those messages while teaching.

 

8. Where are you currently teaching?

I am currently teaching Hot Yoga and Vinyasa Power Yoga at different studios in the New York City area.

 

 

9. What are the best ways that you have learnt of approaching studios that you would like to teach at?

If you want to work for a particular studio you must SHOW UP. Volunteer your time, help clean mats, check guest in or even stay back after the last class and offer to clean the studio. Be active, be honest, be passionate, the opportunities will follow.

 

10. Has yoga helped through some painful? If so, what and how?

A good friend of mine recently died tragically and I felt a lot of pain having heard this news. However through the practice of yoga, I was able to allow myself to feel the sadness and pain of this loss without becoming attached to these emotions. Through the awareness of my breath I am able to keep his memory alive.

 

11. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name?

Damian Joseph Yoga is both my Instagram and Facebook name.

 

12. Is Social Media easy or challenging for you?

After many years of being inactive on social media, I am finally back on and excited to recreate my presence. I find that social media is easier now as I have removed my mental block and I am willing to be vulnerable and transparent.  We live in the age of technology, therefore it is imperative to go with the flow in order to keep current with our times.

Lara Saget describes her motivational yogic journey

I have had the pleasure of knowing Lara for almost 7 years. In all of this time, she has always been kind, gracious and loving. It is apparent in her yoga classes too.

She shares her yoga experience with us...

1. How long have you been teaching? 

I have been teaching for seven years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

I have been practicing yoga since I was four years old (or perhaps since I could recognize conscious movement). I was my mom's "yoga baby" so to speak. She started doing yoga when she was pregnant with me, and she would have instructors and practitioners come to the house. I always loved yoga, and it has always been an integral part of my life. When I was 17, I worked at an orphanage in Brazil and decided to attempt to teach yoga. I found it incredible how yoga could be such a universal point of connection. In that moment, I knew that spreading yoga was something that I wanted to do. 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

I have learned patience from my teachers for sure (well I'm still learning it) and how important the practice of slowing down is. 

4. How many times a week do you practice?

I practice most days.

5. Who inspires your practice?

I am inspired to practice because I think there is always more to play with, more to notice, more to sense, things to learn. Yoga helps me move deeper in a way that resonates with me. 

6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I learn a lot through practicing. But I also learn a lot when the meaning of practice changes for me- from a group class, to meditation, to hiking, to running, to swimming- what is that space within stillness and movement that feels grounded and yet fluid?

7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I like to spread awareness through teaching. I like to invite inquiry- what happens when it's not about the shape? What comes up when it's hard? When it feels too easy? What are the things that pop up in a yoga practice that must exist somewhere else too? I also like to spread the message that it can feel really really good to be kind to ourselves, to listen to ourselves like we are helpless children and perhaps be able to hone in on what it means to give ourselves what we need. 

8. Where are you currently teaching? 

I am currently teaching private lessons and at Yoga to the People 

9. How has yoga helped your character develop? 

Yoga has made me a more thoughtful person, greatened my threshold for tolerance or discomfort, and I think enlarged my ability to be compassionate to myself and to others. 

9. What has kept you practicing all these years?

Honestly, I just love it. I am grateful for the practice and for my teachers. I truly don't know what my life would look like without the practice of yoga. 

10. What is your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook name? @larasaget 

Larasagetyoga.com