All Level Yoga

LYW: How/why did you come to Yoga? And how, when why did you choose to join the LiveYoga Wellness community?

Diane: I discovered yoga three times. The first time was as an end of school year event in Switzerland, I must have been 14. This yoga teacher and her assistant came to my school to give us a class or a lecture or both, I honestly don’t remember, but I do remember falling asleep in savasana and waking up giddy and happy as can be. Aren’t all 14 year old girls happy at the end of a school year? Probably… but I do remember thinking “This yoga thing is amazing!”.

The second time I was with my mom in Brussels, I must have been 18. My mom had been taking this class for a year and absolutely loved it. So when I moved in with her, I went to her class. This one seemed a lot harder than the first time and my mom kept goofing around. It was a fun way for me to see who I was and to see my mom and who she was. Growing up, I always felt like a grown up and my mom was always the one who would tease and be goofy. I realized already that yoga allows people to discover who they are without demanding to be different, or better. We had a good time. I smiled as my mom lost her balance and messed up sides and I worked on my own experience.

Finally the third time (third time is a charm) one year after I landed in LA not speaking a word of English, I was 21, my best friend said she had found a studio that had yoga classes all day and took donations. I was in school and broke! I went there by myself and have never stopped since. I never considered teaching until when I was 24 a teacher offered me a scholarship to her training because she thought I would be a good teacher. ME?? Ok… I guess she knew something I didn’t because I have been teaching for 12 years now. I’m too shy to say I am a good teacher but I will say that I am the most happy when I teach and I give 1000 of myself every time I do it.

I discovered Live Yoga Wellness when I moved to Westchester last year. I looked up the schedule and saw that Don Henry was teaching here. Don had been taking my classes for years and I knew he had become a teacher himself. When I came to the studio I loved the intimate and welcoming culture and I immediately saw that it was more than just another LA yoga studio. It was a community. Teri was so kind, so smart and cared so much about what she had built that I was happy to join the team.

LYW: How has Yoga changed your life?

Diane: Just this question brings a knot in my heart and a wave of emotions. See if it wasn’t for yoga I would have had a good life doing everything that was expected of me. I think it is very hard for young women to not be completely absorbed by our parents expectations and society all together. Instead, because one woman saw in me something different which is how I always felt, I broke free from those expectations and followed my heart. If that doesn’t scream yoga I don’t know what does. Since I was 5 years old my grandmother always said to me “You are different, you get life. Your gift is your emotional intelligence.” I never really understood this until I began to teach yoga. A few years after I began to teach, my whole self and my life aligned perfectly. My heart was harmonizing with my words and action and the people who took my classes. No matter where someone came from, their history, their age or gender… I could feel them. I felt I could help them. And that’s how I found myself. My Yoga practice helps me navigate life so I can teach it to others. Yoga helped me find my purpose.

LYW: Why do you love teaching Yoga?

Diane: I am what they call “HSP” a highly sensitive person. It’s nothing special as 1 in 4 people are (women and men equally, no gender difference there). I feel things, I get people on a very deep level. It feels like getting an epiphany all the time. Empathy is my greatest tool now that I know how to use it. I can put feelings into words and that’s why I love teaching yoga. I can help people understand what they are experiencing (physically and emotionally) and guide them with yoga as yoga is the perfect tool to process experiences, feelings and thoughts into wisdom.

How do you take your Yoga into the world?

Diane: What a great question. I do it the way it was meant to. I give myself permission in class to experience it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t cling on the good, I don’t judge the bad and I don’t run away from the ugly.

For example:
In my yoga practice – Standing split makes me feel inadequate. I don’t like it. I feel I’m doing wrong, I’m not flexible enough. So, I let myself feel all that, I breathe and slowly change my perspective. At least I am feeling something, I have a body, I am here and in good shape!

In the world – Social events make me feel inadequate. I don’t enjoy them a lot. I feel that I stand out because I’m tall, my accent is too strong and what I am saying to people is not interesting. Well, I let myself feel all that, I notice I feel warm so I breathe. Slowly my perspective changes. At least I’m out and about, I am meeting new people, I’m making friends and I am building my confidence.

That’s how.

LYW: What is your current practice or a recommendation and why?

Diane: Right now, I’m preparing for hip surgery. So my yoga is gentle and I do a lot of meditation. It’s really important to let the yoga adjust to your needs and accept that those needs change everyday. You just can’t practice yoga the same way everyday. It’s not what yoga is. Yoga is not a workout, yoga is a workin. Because when you feel good, you look good. Doesn’t always work the other way around.