- Name: Priya Vassen.
- DOB: 29th July 1979.
- What style of yoga do you teach?
Vinyasa Yoga and recently trained in Synergy Yoga.
- Where do you teach?
The last place I taught was at The Shala. I’ve pretty much taken most of this year out to integrate and take some space for myself.
- How long have you been practicing yoga?
I started developing a consistent practice in 1998.
- How long have you been teaching yoga?
- Who have you trained with and where?
My first Teacher Training was with Ananda Kutir in Cape Town 2007, I completed a second in 2013 with The Shala and this year did the Synergy Teacher Training in Goa with Simon Borg Olivier and Bianca Machliss :-).
I think its super important to keep digging deeper, never to adopt a lethally static attitude of ‘I know’. It keeps me alive, inspired, grateful, humble and in awe.
- What lead you to teaching yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?
I did my training at Ananda Kutir just after leaving a corporate job. I had plenty of time and was really looking for some direction, something that nourished my soul and connected me back to who I really was…it just seemed the perfect time to delve deep. I did the course purely for personal reasons and really had no intention of teaching. Jennifer Stephens, who taught me on the course, let’s say she ‘convinced’ me to teach at her studio straight after that. Except for this year, I pretty much just kept going after that.
- What do you love most about teaching?
I think teaching should be an extension of your training and practice. That said, teaching is also such a privilege. The connection to people who are in the class – who are really my teachers, the depths within myself teaching makes me plumb, the expression, the playfulness, the love and being able to witness the transformation in people when they begin to connect back to themselves in an essentially disconnected, neurotic world – to see them happy I guess.
- Is there a focus in your teaching style?
I’d like to think that the focus is internal, getting the energy, chi or prana to flow again and getting people to become aware of this flow. Getting people to tense less, stretch less, even breathe less and hopefully think less. There’s really no point to be in the most beautiful and physically challenging pose if these things are not happening. It misses the point entirely and actually causes many imbalances in the body, mind and emotions.
- What do you love most about yoga?
What’s not to love! It definitely keeps me a perpetual student, it is never ending and there is a wealth of wisdom within us that yoga, (asana and other forms), helps us access and refine. It also makes life more joyful, sane and beautiful.
- What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga?
I’m definitely still a work in progress.
- What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga?
The mythic perfect time in the hazy future might never come. Dump all those heavy ideas about what you think yoga is, what you can do, what you can’t, what you like, what you don’t, and just try it!
- Do you have a regular practice?
- Favourite Asana
Child’s pose, lol. Strange question! Today it was Hanumanasana.
- Strongest Asana?
Another strange question. Definitely varies from day to day. I’m really not sure how to answer that. Depends on what you mean by strong.
- Any religious affiliations?
- What are your other interests?
Primarily healing I’d say, especially Tai Chi, Qigong, and Chinese Medicine. I’m basically a geek at heart. Also beautifully written novels, travel, quirky people, live music, food – mostly eating and more recently, cooking it.
- Any Thank yous?
A very looooong list so I’ll try to keep it short…my parents for not putting me in the crazy house, always being supportive of me and giving me so much room to be myself. The amazing teachers who graced my life – so many from the Art of Living, Dr Michael Lan of Jing-An, Swami Parvati, Mother Yogesh and Vidyananda of Ananda Kutir, Tamsin Sheehy and Mariah Betts of The Shala, Michael Winer one of the most ingenious healers I’ve met, Shirfu Jeff Lan of Kim Loong Wushu… and my amazing husband, Conrad who lights up my world with so many kinds of magic.
The rest of you, I’ll have to thank in person ;-).