Many thanks to John Papadimitriou from the Divine Hotels for giving me the chance to share my thoughts on the practice of hatha-yoga and on the way I regard and transmit this ancient discipline with my students today.
1.Why yoga and not pilates?
Both are excellent disciplines. Focusing on different objectives. We are exercising the body to reach into the beauty of it. I could briefly say that the way we make use of the breath during the practice is the major difference between the two.
2. Is it more effective to do yoga outside or it just improves the overall experience?
While reshaping our senses during the practice, we can connect to nature in a nourishing way. It is awesome to practice yoga outdoors. This is also the reason why I have chosen to lead my yoga retreats in Grikos Bay. The early morning sessions at the terrace of the Aktis Hotel,which is located right by the sea, feel like a dream. So much beauty to relate to. So much tranquility. We open the inner eyes to take all in and feel. This makes us truly happy and deeply content. Retreating here is a transformative experience.
3. How many times we have to do yoga per week in order to be in a good shape?
It all depends on the style of yoga that we practice. If the style is focusing only on the physical aspect of yoga, then we might need to practice often in order to see results. The hatha yoga bien tempéré that I teach for the past 32 years has a different concept. The less you do, the more you feel. Conscious exercising can be effective even if we practice only once a week. The quantity doesn’t matter but the level of consciousness that we apply on it.
4. What are the characteristics of a good yoga teacher?
I will rather ask, what are the characteristics of a profound yoga teacher training. Today, the practice of yoga has become an excellent fast food fashion. An industry where teacher trainings are “preparing” yoga teachers within the period of a month or in 200 hours. This is so superficial and not honest really. To become a competent yoga teacher, you need years of personal practice in order to inspire your students.
For example, the hatha yoga method of Eva Ruchpaul which I represent for the past 32 years, it offers a teacher training program that lasts 3 years. Within this period of time you have the chance to transform your understanding. To step consciously from the personal practice to teaching it.
Teaching yoga means to share a life attitude and not a trendy lifestyle. It is not only about postures, but more about a way to progress in life. To help the student reveal the best in him/her.
5. What are the first things that we should be careful about while we are doing yoga?
This is really an interesting question and I could have many answers to it. But what feels to me really important to emphasize is that yoga is a mental thing. It is not only about handstands in shiny bikinis and super bodies, it is not about the perfection of the ego, it is not a show-off of any kind.
Hatha- Yoga is a silent work of becoming the best version of ourselves. A physical method which progress with time and with the quality of attention that we place in every action: On and off the yoga mat!
6. Share with us a yoga learning or phrase that has inspired you.
I had so many phrases that inspired me in all those years.
But at the moment a phrase which fascinates the most and I would like to share with you is the saying of my teacher Eva Ruchpaul. A 91 years old today, yoga master, creator of the method hatha-yoga bien tempéré and a pioneer in the transmission of yoga in the West.
“Yoga is not healing anything; yoga is not fixing anything; Yoga is more than that. It helps you cope with your life “