What has the pandemic brought to light for you personally?
- Nil Akin: The pandemic reminded me of how vulnerable we are as human beings. How much we need each other and nature and fresh air and yoga to survive and function well physically and emotionally.
- Kevin Allen: “Family, friends and time are precious. Love, appreciate and be thankful for them all.”
- Mimi Visser: I have been in so much personal upheaval this year, that the pandemic was ‘just the backdrop’ for me…But I loved this idea that we were all ’sent to our rooms to think’. And that we had a lot of time to practice yoga!
- Adam Vitolo: As myself and my family navigated this time in our lives, I have tried to keep a running tally of the pros and cons as a result of this on-going pandemic. I know that many people have dealt with loss, death, and pain, and I am NOT discounting their experience, however I firmly believe that the positives far outweigh the negatives. I have heard my share of sad and awful pandemic stories, I’ve heard more stories of helpfulness and hope. I like to keep my sights set on the upward swing that will occur as we continue this life.
What pose/poses are you currently exploring?
- Nil Akin: Urdhva Kukkutasana and Uttana Padma Mayurasana
- Kevin Allen: Padmasana, which has definitely improved over the past year and a half, but is still a work in progress.
- Mimi Visser: As opposed to one pose, I tend to focus on one part of my body for a few weeks at a time. Right now, this is the lower abdomen; to make the right and left side evenly spacious. I do all poses with this awareness and it helps me to be more evenly connected to my whole inner body, thus making my whole body more even.
- Adam Vitolo: I have developed a bursitis in my right shoulder, so Gomukasana has been amazing. I have had to change my practice and relearn this pose from beginning to end. It has been humbling and wonderful.
What is your favorite quote from the Iyengars?
- Nil Akin: “Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
- Kevin Allen: “The hardness of a diamond is part of its usefulness, but its true value is in the light that shines through it. It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity. Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
- Mimi Visser: “We are seeking the balance of polarity, not the antagonism of duality.” – B.K.S. Iyengar in Light on Life
- Adam Vitolo: “Yoga is the journey from the known to the unknown.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
What words of encouragement do you have for new students?
- Nil Akin: Believe in yourself and be optimistic about your own abilities. Commit to your practice, progress will follow.
- Kevin Allen: Start practicing. Keep practicing. Any length of practice will take you further than no practice at all.
- Mimi Visser: Go slow, go from where you are, but go and keep going! I always like the story of the woman who couldn’t sit on the floor in Virasana and started sitting on two phone books. Every day, she would rip out a few pages of the phone book. Where do you think she ended up? I think it’s a good idea to keep going to your edge, and then go at least two pages of a phone book further.
- Adam Vitolo: Yoga is a privilege. Work hard to practice from a place of gratitude. It will help you let go of your expectations and it will dilate your gaze.
What is your favorite: ice cream, work of art, place in the world, book or movie?
- Nil Akin: Favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate.
- Kevin Allen: Favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
- Mimi Visser: Favorite work of art/music is Bach.
- Adam Vitolo: White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Ice Cream from Haagen-Dazz.