E-RYT 500 and RPYT

LYW: How/why did you come to Yoga? And when did you join the LiveYoga Wellness community.
Aina: I started to practice yoga in 2006 when I just graduated from high school, before I went to college. Yes, I’m new to yoga.

I was, and I am introverted, and I loved to stay at home, reading, watching movies, doing my own stuff. There was one day when my mom couldn’t stand me being at home anymore. And she said, “Na, please go out and do something.” I was reading a newspaper and saw a yoga studio close to our house was having a big promotion. I didn’t even know what yoga was. “Is it a type of exercise? Shall I go to a dance class instead? Okay, okay, I will give it a try.” And I got out of my house. This is how I “met” yoga and began my journey.

I joined LiveYoga Wellness community in the summer of 2016.

LYW: How has yoga changed your life?
Aina: Even though I came to yoga for physical fitness, and to get out of the house, I have a change of heart regarding why I keep doing my practice. Yoga practice is one of the good methods for learning to steady the mind on what is happening in the moment. It’s not the only way, but it has been working very well for me.I have to admit that I am still introverted, but now I enjoy being in the nature, out with my friends and traveling a lot. It has opened my heart. This is a lifelong relationship; with yoga, I don’t feel lonely. I know it is always there, and I’m always here.

LYW: Why do you love teaching yoga?
Aina: I love yoga, and I love sharing what I’ve learned, my experience, and stories with my students. I don’t really think I’m teaching them what to do, it’s more like I guide my students to find their own way to do THEIR own practice. (I love to see my students being smart and kind to themselves and choose to do their modifications in class. There is not only one way.) Teaching yoga is not teaching poses, but teaching individuals; so I pay much attention to each one of my students in class, and do my best to keep the environment safe and full of love. I fully honor their differences. Everyone is so different; and every body, their personalities, their energy, their way of thinking is so unique. I love to see their differences, and they are all amazing human beings. Some of them need some more fire, need to push a little bit; others, most of us, need to back out and create ease and kindness in their practice (and maybe their life too). I enjoy helping them to find their balance. I really love to teach alignments. Focusing on alignment is not just being safe, but provides gateways to focus and inner stillness.
LYW: How do you take your yoga into the world?
Aina: The time we spend on the mat is there to teach us patience, acceptance, letting go, surrender, dedication, persistence, kindness, self-belief, etc. And these are some of the qualities that I try really hard to bring into my daily life and into this world. Yoga practice is not that I do my asanas for 2 hours every day, and I’m done. It penetrates to every single moment.Yamas in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the first limb of the Ashtanga Yoga (8 limbs). It is ways in which we stay alive in the world without being enslaved to our likes and dislikes. Bringing all five Yamas into daily life is not easy. And 8 limbs in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are not an easy path, but they are really clear infinitive guide to self-inquiry. To sharpening this blade to discern what path am I taking and what effort do I need to make to get along this path. I don’t know where I can get on this path, but I will keep practicing. It’s a lifelong practice, on and off the mat.
LYW: What is your current practice or a recommendation and why?
Aina: I have been practicing Ashtanga for years, and I love this practice. I don’t know how long I will be practicing Ashtanga, maybe a lifetime, maybe not, but I have been enjoying it. I get on my mat every single day, and do my practice. Some days I do my full practice, some days just half primary, and some days maybe just Surya Namaskars. Some of the days I feel great and some days I don’t. Even though I pretty much do the same sequence every time (of course I get more poses as I practice), they are all different. It’s one of the good methods to keep me in this moment, right here right now. Drishti, Ujjayi and Bandhas turn the body into a temple. And again, it’s not the only way. Moreover, I practice alignment based vinyasa flow, this is what I teach.All types of yoga are amazing and they are all Yoga.

In yoga, the separation of mind and body comes to an end when you allow the breath to replace the thinking monkey mind as the guiding impulse behind the practice. This moment, is important. If someone can breathe, he or she can do yoga (I think). Don’t compare with others, just do YOUR yoga, and be kind to yourself. I have been asked several times lately that what advanced yoga is. One of the things that I keep answering is that advanced yogis are the ones who can choose to do less and don’t have always to push. Keep asking yourself, how do I feel? What do I need? What serves me the most in my practice, today, in this moment.