Welcome to my traveling yoga teacher interview series!
Each month, I interview traveling yoga teachers I meet along my travels.
This Month Features:
Yogacharini Deepika & Yogachariya Jnandev
What styles of yoga do you teach?
Classical Hatha Yoga, Rishiculture Ashtanga, Jnana, Raja and Gitananda Yoga
What do you think is the one difference between running a yoga ashram versus a yoga studio?
It’s hard to answer as we don’t have much experience of Yoga studios but from what our students tell us the Ashram life is more authentic and true to Yoga ideals. We are not in this for the money and we are working towards creating more conscious and aware humans which will hopefully lead to a better and more conscientious society.
You’re currently in the beginning stages of opening a second ashram in Portugal. What are the steps or process of opening an ashram in Portugal? Is it any different than the UK?
Honestly we don’t overthink things, we go and do where the Universe takes us or the Divine leads us! The Ashram in UK was our family farm which we simply converted whereas the Portugal Ashram is a totally new venture. We purchased the property and are month by month developing it. For us everything seemed to manifest and fall into place after we made the decision to expand into Portugal. I believe if you want to do something to benefit the greater good the universe will conspire to help and assist you and send you everything and everyone you need to help in your mission.
Tell me about Yoga Satsanga Ashram Wales.
If I had never practiced at your ashram, what should I know?
We are essentially teaching and practicing authentic classical yoga in its most original form possible in this day and age. That is to say we teach in a Guru-kula setting which means as in times of ancient India the chela or student will come to live with the teacher and learn all the different aspects of Yoga, such as chanting, karma yoga, pranayama, contemplation, concentration, bhajans singing, study of scriptures and not to mention of course asana. This (asana) will not be the most important part however! The most important part of yoga is the foundation of our moral and ethical codes for living the yama and niyama. For us without these one cannot really practice yoga. To attain yoga we must have the spiritual, moral and ethical basis to our practice which is nothing mystic, it’s simply grounded balanced living within our yamas and niyamas.
What is a lesson you learned in yoga or running a yoga business that you think is key for other yoga business owners to know?
Although we are on paper running a business I just never think of it like that, we just cover our bills to allow us to live the life we want to lead. Otherwise we are very happy and humbled to be the catalyst that allows people to make such huge positive changes in their lives that we have seen again and again over the years. I think if you come from the heart with a real desire to help people the universe will support you.
What do you love about teaching yoga and why do you teach yoga?
I can’t say its ‘love’, it’s what we have to do, I do love what we do but its not in an overly emotional way, we just ‘do’ and ‘be’ we don’t love or hate! It’s very much our Dharma or duty, we have been given and received this pure timeless wisdom and invaluable teachings of yoga and we have to pass them on to those that come to us. We are always humbled at the tears of gratitude that inevitably come at the end of almost every course we run, when we hear all the life changes students made and how different there life is after practical studies of yogic living!
What is your goal for your students when teaching yoga?
If I’m teaching a regular public class I simply want people to relax! Everyone is dashing around, with an over stimulated nervous system, dehydrated, stressed without realising it. They need to wind down, let go and find some inner peace for a few moments at least for the body to regenerate and heal. I also work a lot of deep proper full breathing to enhance our pranic energy levels.
For our YTT programs we mostly want students to re-examine their lives, increase their awareness beyond their own self and create a good solid understanding of yamas and niyamas which will hold them in good stead to lead a truly yogic life for themselves, if they have this becoming a good teacher will naturally follow, as yoga should be taught from within.
What do you think is a key aspect of holding space for a room of students?
It just needs to be a safe non-judgemental space for students to be able to tune into their body, mind and emotions. We communicate in so many non-verbal ways and energetically we are broadcasting our thoughts which others will unconsciously pick up on, therefore as a teacher we must have the right mindset to allow people to be comfortable in their own skin.
Do you have any advice for yoga teachers who plan to open their own ashram someday or words of advice for a yoga teacher in the beginning stages of opening a yoga business?
If you want to open an ashram which is essentially a spiritual community you must be ready for a very public life. You won’t get much space time or privacy for yourself, and you may be constantly in demand for help and advice, and it’s a lot of community work. I can’t promise you huge wealth either! It certainly feels like we are doing good work for humanity however and this is far more valuable!
Do you have a mantra or meditation you’re currently living by?
In the words of my own Guru we ‘do our best and leave the rest’ so make our 100% effort in reaching our goals, then we must let go and leave the rest to the Divine will and the winds of our own Karma.
Connect with Deepika & Jnandev
Yoga Satsanga Ashram
Deepika & Jnandev originally from the UK and India have ashrams located in Wales and Castelo Branco, Portugal. To connect with or practice at their Ashrams you can check out their Facebook Page. To learn more about the yoga practice, you can check out their self published books HERE and their courses HERE.